Exploring ADA Research

The NIDILRR community  has conducted research and development activities on the ADA and its impact almost since the law was signed 26 years ago. As NIDILRR’s library, we’ve collected nearly 600 articles, books, reports, guides, curricula, factsheets, and more, produced by NIDILRR grantees. Take a look!

All 559 abstracts (whew!)

Slightly smaller bites:

ADA and Employment (359)

ADA and Architecture (88)

ADA and Education (79)

ADA and Housing (31)

ADA and the Internet (81)

ADA Checklists (15)

ADA and Transportation (64)

ADA and the Arts (7)

ADA and Hospitality/Customer Service (15)

ADA and Recreation/Sports (33)

Learn more about the ADA National Network and the research from the individual regional centers at http://adata.org/research!

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ADA: Celebrate 26 Years on the 26th! (Part 2)

July 26th marks the 26th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the historic civil rights law that prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.  In our previous blog post we highlighted research from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) related to Title I under the ADA—Employment.  In Part 2 of celebrating 26 years of the ADA we focus on research related to Title III—Public Accommodations.

Title III of the ADA covers on access to public and private facilities, including transportation and, most recently, the virtual world. Research and development in this area can focus on universal design in architecture, public and private transportation systems, and visitability in the physical and most recently the virtual world.  Universal design (UD), also referred to as inclusive design, was first coined by Ronald L. Mace and describes the concept of designing all products and built environments to be aesthetic, as well as usable and accessible to all individuals regardless of their age and/or ability.  A brief history of UD and its foundations in early civil and disability rights legislation is available through the RL Mace Universal Design Institute.

For over 30 years, NIDILRR has funded over 300 projects related to UD and accessibility.  There are currently 38 NIDILRR-funded projects related to UD and accessibility. Here’s a small sample of these projects and the wealth of resources they produce:

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Universal Design and the Built Environment through the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA) at The State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo has been working to make safer, accessible environments for people with disabilities since its creation in 2005.  In its current incarnation, the RERC on Universal Design and the Built Environment uses a knowledge-to-action model to advance accessibility and UD in the four domains of the built environment:  Housing, commercial and public buildings, community infrastructure, and transportation.  There are currently 24 documents available in our collection, 11 are available in full-text.  The RERC on Universal Design and the Built Environment in partnership with IDeA maintains UniversalDesign.com, serving as a central portal for all things UD and including information and resources on training, organizations, and events related to UD.  The IDeA Center provides resources and technical expertise from ADA consulting to continuing education with online courses in UD.

The RERC on Physical Access and Transportation (RERC-APT) at the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute provides information and resources that empower consumers, manufacturers, and service providers in the area of design and evaluation of accessible transportation, equipment, information services, and physical environments.  Under its previous incarnation, RERC-APT produced a wealth of articles, factsheets, and papers, 27 of which are available in full-text through NARIC.  Under its current grant cycle, there are six documents available of which four are available in full-text.  Additionally, RERC-APT developed and produced a crowd-powered smartphone application, Tiramisu that allows transit riders’ access to crowd-sharing information in real-time on local bus schedules, availability of seating/accessibility, and reported transit issues.  The RERC-APT is a partnership between the Robotics Institute and the IDeA Center SUNY at Buffalo.

There are currently three NIDILRR-funded projects taking universal design and accessibility to the next level within the areas of cloud and web systems, universal interfaces and technology access, and wireless technologies.  The Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project on Inclusive Cloud and Web Computing researches and develops methods to enable software providers to easily and rapidly implement inclusive user experiences so that consumers are empowered and may participate fully in cloud and web systems.  There are currently 10 documents related to this project available for document delivery in our collection.  The RERC on Universal Interface and Information Technology (IT) Access through the Trace Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in collaboration with Raising the Floor consortium, is developing a Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) to ensure individuals who face accessibility barriers due to disability, literacy, digital literacy, or age—regardless of economic resources—can access the Internet and all its information, communities, and services for education, employment, daily living, civic participation, health, and safety.  There are currently 13 documents available in our collection related to this project and available for document delivery.  Finally, funded since 2001, the RERC for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC) has been a leading source for information on and solutions for accessibility and usability of mobile wireless products and services for people with disabilities. There are currently 61 documents available in our collection, 40 are available in full-text.  The Wireless RERC produces two newsletters one for industry and consumer stakeholders, and the other that highlights technology and disability policy.  The Wireless RERC website houses their papers, policy filings, presentations, and reports; and provides the latest news on their legislative and project activities.

These projects, among others, offer a wide array of resources for both consumers, researchers, web developers, designers (physical and virtual), and policy makers. Explore the NIDILRR Program Database to learn more about the grantee community.

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ADA: Celebrate 26 Years on the 26th! (Part 1)

July 26th marks the 26th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the historic civil rights law that prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.  Based upon other civil rights legislation, the ADA provides protections to individuals with disabilities regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion to ensure that they have the same opportunities to participate fully in public life.  In previous blog posts, we have discussed what the ADA is and the various titles under the ADA and taken a look of the ADA over the past 25 years and into the futureThe National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) has been at the forefront of research related to two important areas of the ADA—Employment and Public Accommodations (i.e., universal design).

Over 30 years, NIDILRR has funded nearly 500 projects related to employment.  There are currently 73 NIDILRR-funded projects related to employment. Here’s a small sample of these projects and the wealth of resources they produce:

These projects, among others, offer a wealth of resources for both job seekers, hiring managers, vocational rehabilitation counselors, and policy makers. Explore the NIDILRR Program Database to learn more about the grantee community.

Up next…Part 2: accessibility and universal design!

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Right Resources, Right Now (tomorrow)!

On Wednesday, July 20th, we’ll join the National Association of States United for Aging and Disability (NASUAD) for their free National Information & Referral Support Center webinar! We’ll be presenting Right Resources, Right Now, showcasing some of the great tools, guides, videos, and other resources developed by the NIDILRR grantee community. If you’re free at 3pm ET, grab a cool beverage and join us online! Registration is free but required.

The session will be archived and we’ll post the slides here once we’re done. Meanwhile, check out our Right Resources, Right Now blog posts to get a preview of some of the cool stuff on tap!

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Disability News Weekly Roundup – Monday, June 20 to Friday, June 24

Briana Scurry embraces new role as women’s brain health advocate (The Washington Post)
In April 2010, Washington Freedom goalkeeper Briana Scurry sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during a Women’s Professional Soccer match. Three and a half years later, she had bilateral occipital nerve surgery to alleviate persistent symptoms from the injury. Recently, Scurry went to Congress. She spoke before the congressional brain injury task force, sharing her story from pre-concussion to present day. Almost three years after her surgery and two years after she finished therapy, Scurry sees herself as an advocate for women’s health, especially in relation to concussions and TBI.

To manage the stress of trauma, schools are teaching students how to relax (The Washington Post)
One morning before math, the fourth-graders at Houston Elementary in Northeast Washington took a little vacation. To soft music, they walked through woods, climbed a mountain, and lifted off with imaginary wings, flying over an ocean, a gentle breeze on their faces. Then, with the sound of a chime, they were back in a classroom overlooking a blighted neighborhood that has been beset by violence this spring, including two separate slayings of teenage boys at a nearby Metro station. Like a growing number of schools nationwide, Houston Elementary is using mindfulness and other therapies to help children manage the stress they encounter in their daily lives.

Cerebral palsy no barrier for ESPN sportscaster (Disability Scoop)
Jason Benetti, who was born with cerebral palsy, called a nationally televised Major League Baseball game pitting the Washington Nationals against the Los Angeles Dodgers this week. Benetti was hired earlier this year by the Chicago White Sox as a television play-by-play commentator for Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN Sports. Since 2011, the sportscaster has also done play-by-play for ESPN calling basketball, football, baseball, and lacrosse.

Public Health:
Food banks take on a contributor to diabetes: themselves (The New York Times)
Not long ago, the mission of food banks was to relieve hunger with whatever was at hand, including salty canned goods or even potato chips. Many who depend on food pantries are, however, obese and diabetic rather than underfed. In 2014, one third of the 15.5 million households served by Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, reported that a household member had diabetes. Now researchers have begun pursuing innovative methods to address Type 2 diabetes among people who rely on food banks.

New study helps determine which older adults might need help taking medications (Science Daily)
As age increases, older adults can develop problems taking their medications. In a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers investigated this issue using data from the 10-year Duke University Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly (EPESE) study. They examined data from 4,106 African American and Caucasian older adults living in five counties in North Carolina. The study found that people aged 80 and older were 1.5 to 3 times as likely to need help with their medications as were people aged 65 to 69. Men were 1.5 to 2 times as likely as women to need help. The odds of needing help were 3 to 5 times greater among people with memory challenges.

Novel controller allows video gamer who lacks hands to compete with his feet (Science Daily)
Engineering graduate students at Johns Hopkins University, one of whom lost his hands to meningitis, have designed and built a foot-activated video game controller. The sandal-like controller allows a player to control on-screen action with his or her feet. Beneath each shoe’s padding are three sensors that can pick up various foot movements, such as tilting or raising the front or heel of each foot. In its most basic setup, two of the high-tech shoes can control eight different game buttons. However, the inventors say that with practice, this number could increase to as many as 20 buttons.

Hug machine puts the squeeze on autism (Gizmag)
Professor Mary Temple Grandin, who has autism and is an outspoken advocate for people with autism spectrum disorders, invented what is known as a “hug machine” designed to calm hypersensitive people by gently exerting even pressure along their bodies. Denmark’s Gloria Mundi Care is now offering a commercial version, called the OrbisBox. The idea behind the device is simple: Users start by lying down on their back or on either side. Fabric-covered polyurethane foam side panels then slowly move in and press against them from the sides. The amount of pressure can be adjusted in 5-kilogram increments from levels of 20 to 30 kilograms (22 to 66 lbs), with users able to get out at any point they want. Users can also activate colored LED lighting and soothing music played through Bose speakers. The article includes a video demonstrating the technology.

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Remembering Olmstead: 17 Years of Community Participation and Independence for People with Disabilities

Seventeen years ago, on June 22nd, 1999, the US Supreme Court ruled in Olmstead v. L.C. that the unjustified institutional isolation of people with disabilities is a form of unlawful discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  What is now known as the Olmstead decision began with two women, Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, with psychiatric and development disabilities living in a state-run hospital in the state of Georgia.

Ms. Curtis and Ms. Wilson’s medical team believed that both women were capable of and would benefit from living in the community with the appropriate supports; unfortunately, the services and supports that the women needed were unavailable in the community and it would take years for such community-based supports to be set up.  Both women remained institutionalized for several years after initial psychiatric treatment concluded and ultimately filed a suit under the ADA to be released from the hospital.

While the Olmstead decision was based on persons with psychiatric and intellectual disabilities and involved only one type of institution, a psychiatric hospital, the ruling expanded to state- and Medicaid-funded institutions, as well as nursing facilities.  The ruling offered persons with other disabilities, such as brain injury and spinal cord injury, an opportunity for full participation with services provided in a community setting. Previously, persons who had suffered a traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury were often placed in nursing homes and general hospital facilities because there were no specialty and/or community options available to them.

Additionally, the Olmstead decision was influential for the community/consumer-based services movement.  Community-based services enforce the idea of consumer choice. The consumer must want community-based services, and the treatment team must deem what services are appropriate based on the person’s disability and personal preferences.  Personal choice and equal opportunity are extremely important parts of community-based services.  Independent living centers and personal assistance services to assist persons with disabilities were created with the goal to provide persons with all types of disabilities the opportunity for community integration.

The Olmstead decision is at the core of the Administration for Community Living (ACL) mission to maximize the independence, well-being, and health of older adults and people with disabilities across the lifespan.  To celebrate 17 years of Olmstead in action, ACL is asking individuals and stakeholders to share stories of transition into the community, and/or how organizations promote independent and community living for older adults and people with disabilities through social media by using #OlmsteadAction.

Read more about the Olmstead decision at ADA.gov and at OlmsteadRights.org.

Check our previous issue of reSearch on Olmstead and Community-Based Services for Persons with Psychiatric and Intellectual Disabilities!  See what we have in our collection on Olmstead, independent living, and community integration; and search for NIDILRR-funded research related to Olmstead, independent living, community integration, psychiatric disabilities, and much more!

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What is aquatic therapy?

According to the Aquatic Physical Therapy Section of the American Physical Therapy Association, aquatic therapy or aquatic physical therapy (APT) is “the evidence-based and skilled practice of physical therapy in an aquatic environment by a physical therapist.” APT includes “treatment, rehabilitation, prevention, health, wellness, and fitness of the patient/client population in an aquatic environment with or without the use of assistive, adaptive, orthotic, protective, or supportive devices and equipment.” Interventions for people of all ages with various disabilities, disorders, or conditions are enhanced when performed within an aquatic environment. APT interventions are designed to maintain or improve function; balance, coordination, and agility; flexibility; aerobic capacity/endurance conditioning; gait; locomotion; and body mechanics and postural stabilization. Also, APT interventions used for muscle strength, power, and endurance may include manual therapy, breathing strategies, electrotherapeutic modalities, therapeutic exercises, and functional training.

There are multiple benefits of APT. These benefits include:

  • APT improves muscle relaxation and increases peripheral circulation through the use of warm water.
  • Water provides resistance for strength training.
  • Body awareness, balance, and trunk stability are stimulated by warm water.
  • Through the reduction of gravitational forces in the pool, the person is able to stand and begin gait training and strengthening exercises without causing further damage.
  • Decreased pain sensitivity is a result of the warm water and buoyancy.

We ran a search in REHABDATA to find documents from the NIDILRR community related to APT. Here is a sample of what we found:

  • The optimal frequency of aquatic physiotherapy for individuals with chronic musculoskeletal pain: A randomized controlled trial. (J71110).
  • Group aquatic training improves gait efficiency in adolescents with cerebral palsy. (J62045).
  • Healing Waters. (J60301).

Before beginning any exercise regimen or therapy, speak with your doctor.

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¿Qué es la terapia acuática?

De acuerdo con la Sección de la Terapia Física Acuática de la Asociación Estadounidense de la Terapia Física, la terapia acuática o terapia física acuática (TFA) es “la práctica basada en la evidencia y experta de la terapia física en un ambiente acuático por un fisioterapeuta.” TFA incluye el “tratamiento, rehabilitación, prevención, salud, bienestar, y aptitud física de la población de paciente/cliente en un ambiente acuático con y sin el uso de dispositivos y equipos de asistencia, adaptados, ortopédicos, de protección, o de apoyo.” Las intervenciones para las personas de todas edades con varias discapacidades, trastornos, o condiciones se mejoran cuando se realizan dentro de un ambiente acuático. Las intervenciones de TFA están diseñadas para mantener o mejorar la función; equilibrio, coordinación, y agilidad; capacidad aeróbica/condicionamiento de resistencia; paso; locomoción; y la mecánica del cuerpo y la estabilización postural. Además, las intervenciones de TFA utilizadas para la fuerza, potencia, y resistencia muscular pueden incluir la terapia manual, estrategias de respiración, modalidades electroterapia, ejercicios terapéuticos, y el entrenamiento funcional.

Existen múltiples beneficios de TFA. Estos beneficios incluyen:

  • TFA mejora la relajación muscular y aumenta la circulación periférica mediante el uso de agua caliente.
  • El agua proporciona resistencia para el entrenamiento de fuerza.
  • El conocimiento del cuerpo, el equilibrio, y la estabilidad del tronco son estimulados por el agua caliente.
  • A través de la reducción de las fuerzas gravitacionales en la piscina, la persona es capaz de ponerse de pie y comenzar el entrenamiento de la marcha y ejercicios de fortalecimiento sin causar mayores daños.
  • Disminución de la sensibilidad al dolor es un resultado del agua caliente y la flotabilidad.

Hicimos una búsqueda en REHABDATA para encontrar documentos de la comunidad de NIDILRR relacionados con TFA. Aquí está una muestra de lo que encontramos:

  • La frecuencia óptima de la fisioterapia acuática para personas con dolor musculoesquelético crónico: Un ensayo controlado aleatorio. (J71110).
  • El entrenamiento acuático en grupo mejora la eficiencia de la marcha en adolescentes con parálisis cerebral. (J62045).
  • Aguas curativas (J60301).

Antes de comenzar cualquier régimen de ejercicio o terapia, hable con su médico.

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Research and Social Media: How to connect with the NIDILRR community.

In the age of social media, there is a multitude of platforms that we can all utilize to find the latest news and information and to connect with others from around the world. These social media platforms include Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn. There are also blog sites like WordPress and YouTube for vlogs. The Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines social media as “forms of electronic communication (as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos).”

Social media has had a huge impact on how we communicate, learn, and share information. This is especially true for people with disabilities, and accessible social media platforms help people with disabilities to socialize, communicate, learn, become aware of disasters in their communities, and find support. The impact is so immense that the NIDILRR community has published nearly 140 articles on people with disabilities and social media!

Many of the NIDILRR-funded projects have joined social media platforms to share information, events, information sheets, and so on. And, many of those who have joined the social media revolution are on several platforms. If you would like to follow any of the NIDILRR-funded projects on your favorite social media platform, you can search for them on that particular platform. You can also find a summary of each project through the NIDILRR Program Database and look under the URL(s) section to find out what social media platforms they are using. These summaries include links to their social media pages. Or you can use the lists below:

Do not forget to check NARIC out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+!

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La investigación y los medios sociales de comunicación: Como realizar la conexión con la comunidad de NIDILRR

En la era de los medios sociales de comunicación, hay una multitud de plataformas que todos podemos utilizar para encontrar las ultimas noticias e información y para conectar con otras personas de todo el mundo. Estas plataformas de las redes sociales incluyen Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, y LinkedIn. También hay sitios de blogs como WordPress y YouTube para vlogs. El Diccionario Miriam-Webster define los medios sociales de comunicación como “formas de comunicación electrónica (como los sitios web de redes sociales y microblogging) a través de cuales los usuarios crean comunidades en línea para compartir información, ideas, mensajes personales, y otros contenidos (como vídeos).”

Las redes sociales han tenido un gran impacto en la forma en que se comunica, aprende, y comparte la información. Esto es especialmente verdadero para las personas con discapacidades, y las plataformas accesibles de las redes sociales ayudan a las personas con discapacidades a socializar, comunicar, aprender, tomar conciencia de los desastres en sus comunidades, y encontrar apoyo. ¡El impacto es tan grande que la comunidad de NIDILRR ha publicado cerca de 140 artículos y otros documentos sobre las personas con discapacidades y los medios sociales de comunicación!

Muchos de los proyectos financiados por NIDILRR se han unido a las plataformas de las redes sociales para compartir información, eventos, hojas informativas, y así sucesivamente, Y, muchos de los que se han unido a la revolución de los medios sociales de comunicación están en varias plataformas. Si desea seguir cualquiera de los proyectos financiados por NIDILRR en su plataforma de redes sociales favorita, usted puede buscar por ellos en esa plataforma en particular. También puede encontrar un resumen de cada proyecto a través de la Base de Datos del Programa de NIDILRR y busque en la sección de URL(s) para averiguar qué plataformas está utilizando su proyecto favorito. Estos resúmenes incluyen enlaces a sus páginas en las redes sociales. O puede utilizar las listas a continuación:

¡No se olvide de comprobar NARIC a cabo en Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, y  !

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