Each year, during Hispanic Heritage Month, we share with you the stories of famous Latinxs/Hispanics with disabilities. This year, we will share with you some of the NIDILRR-funded projects being led by Latinx/Hispanic researchers. The projects topics range from different types of technology to family support and barriers to community living and participation, topics as varied as the Latinx/Hispanic community itself.
Below, you will find a few examples of current and completed NIDILRR-funded, Latins/Hispanic-led research:
- The project GoCC4All: Using Pervasive Technology to Provide Access to TV to the Deaf-Blind Community, led by Maria Victoria Díaz and Angel Garcia Crespo, enhances community living and participation for people who are deaf-blind by bringing them access to TV information that is widely available to most other users. The project is developing and testing GoCC4All, which uses pervasive technologies to bring television programming to users who are deaf-blind through their mobile devices and braille displays. The objective of this project is to develop a functional product that can be adopted by the deaf-blind community and to add knowledge about technologies that serve the deaf-blind community.
- Sandra M. Magaña, PhD is one of the principal investigators for the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Family Support, which bridges aging and disability research, practice, and policies to generate new knowledge in family supports that contribute improvements in community living, participation, health and function, and other outcomes for people with disabilities from different racial and ethnic backgrounds who are supported by their families. Dr. Magaña leads two of the Center’s research projects: Development of a Strategic Plan for Family Support Research and Parents Taking Action: A parent training program for Latino Families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Take a look at this Research In Focus article to learn more about the work that Dr. Magaña is doing for Latinx families of children with ASD.
- The project Digital Aided Descriptions (DAD): Encouraging Learning Among Children with Visual Disabilities Through Creativity and Dialogue, also led by Maria Victoria Díaz, looked to provide an accessible technology to children with visual disabilities that would enhance their community living and participation in educational setting. To do this, the project developed a prototype of a web platform, Digital Aided Descriptions (DAD), and evaluated its feasibility and usability in English and Spanish. As part of the feasibility and usability evaluation, the project looked at the progress in vocabulary and reading comprehension for children with and without visual disabilities, the enhanced socialization and engagement of children in a cooperative learning environment, and an increased access to images used in education. This project completed its funded activities in 2017.
- Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar, PhD, is the principal investigator for the Advanced Training in Translational and Engaged-Scholarship to Improve Community Living and Participation of People with Disabilities, which provides an interdisciplinary postdoctoral training program that actively engages scholars in research designed to improve the community living and participation outcomes for people with disabilities. This training program focuses on sub-populations of people with disabilities who are most likely to encounter the greatest number of barriers to community life: minorities, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, older adults with disabilities, and people with severe physical disabilities and prepares scholars to prepare research that has a real world impact.
This is just a small sample of Latinx/Hispanic researchers and their work within the NIDILRR grantee community. Project teams throughout the NIDILRR community include researchers, fellows, self-advocates and support staff from across the cultural spectrum. If you would like to learn more about what these and other grantees are working on, search through the NIDILRR Program Database or contact NARIC’s information specialists for further information.
We wish them and you a Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!