Life is looking very different right now, thanks to the coronavirus outbreak. Many people are staying close to home, teleworking or telelearning, and restricting their social interactions significantly. During this unprecedented time, people may want to explore opportunities to learn and interact online, and they may be looking for activities they can participate in while keeping up the recommended social distancing. We’ve gathered some resources from the NIDILRR community and elsewhere which we hope will help you stay engaged, active, and connected to your community.
Online courses, webinars, and programs can help you stay mentally engaged. Many of these learning tools also offer continuing education credits which can be applied toward certifications, memberships, and professional licensing.
- The ADA National Network and its Regional Centers offer a wide variety of courses, webinars, and training videos, from the Basic Building Blocks of the ADA to architectural laws. There’s also a course geared toward customer service professionals.
- The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Employment for People with Blindness and Other Visual Impairment has an Online Employment Preparation Program called Career Advantage. Fill out the brief form to access this free course.
- Are you a community mental health provider? The RRTC on Community Living and Participation for People with Serious Mental Illness (TU Collaborative) offers Jump-Starting Community Inclusion: A Toolkit for Promoting Participation in Community Life for ways to support your clients’ participation in everyday life.
- Are you a Vocational Rehabilitation professional? Try these course options:
- Learn about evidence-based practice in VR from the RRTC on Evidence-Based Practice in VR
- Explore the VR Self Employment Guide and the Telecom Toolbox from the RRTC on Place-Based Solutions for Rural Community Participation, Health, and Employment
- Sign up for online short courses for VR professionals working with clients who are blind or have visual impairments and their employers from the RRTC on Employment for People with Blindness and Other Visual Impairment
Stay Active and Engaged Close to Home
We may not be able to go to our favorite gym or exercise class, but we can still be active and stay within the recommended guidelines.
- Create a virtual wellness group with this Wellness Activity Manual from the RRTC on Integrated Health Care and Self-Directed Recovery.
- Explore resources for exercise and physical activity after spinal cord injury or burn injury from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC).
- Check out assistive technology guides for sewing, drawing and painting, gardening, video gaming and exergaming, and working out, from AbleData.
Connect to the Community Virtually
Many of us are turning to our social media feeds and our email inboxes to stay connected to friends, family, and coworkers. It can also be useful for researchers who want to get their research results into the community without traveling to conferences and meetings.
- The TU Collaborative guides you through Using Social Media to Enhance Community Participation.
- The Center on Knowledge Translation for Employment Research hosted a webcast How Can Social Media be Useful to You, covering how social media and learning networks can be used to increase researchers’ connections.
- MSKTC also shares resources for researchers on planning, using, and measuring social media for knowledge translation.
Consider Online Participation in Research
From surveys to phone or web interviews, there are many ways to participate in ongoing research that can benefit you and your community without leaving home. We regularly feature these opportunities in our News and Notes from the NIDILRR Community and Beyond weekly newsletter. Here are just a few currently recruiting participants:
- The Survey of User Needs at the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies is an ongoing survey that asks participants about the mobile and communication technology they use, how they use it, and whether or not it meets their access needs.
- MSKTC is recruiting occupational therapists to help test a knowledge translation course.
- OSU Nisonger Rehabilitation Research and Training Center: Can You Hear Me Now? Listening to People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Health Research is conducting a survey of the practices and accommodations used by mental health professionals who provide treatment to adults with intellectual disabilities.
- The Southwest ADA Regional Center is conducting a survey to investigate the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to understand how far we’ve come and where we have room to improve.
In addition to these resources from the NIDILRR grantee community, you might want to explore these websites from other agencies, organizations, and national sites:
- National Park Service – find and virtually explore national parks nearby and far away, learn about discount programs for seniors and people with disabilities.
- Smithsonian Institutions – virtually explore the Smithsonian’s collections and exhibits, plan a future trip, visit the Science Education Center for fun games to play online.
- National Gallery of Art – virtually explore the exhibits, find lessons and online courses for adults and kids.
- National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability – find articles, videos, and more to keep you healthy, active, and engaged.
- 211.org – the Information and Referral community is fully engaged in helping people connect to help in their community. Call 211 or visit 211.org to find your local help line, speak with a community resource specialist, and find the support you need.
- National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled – NLS is a free braille and talking book library service for people with temporary or permanent low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that prevents them from reading or holding the printed page.
We hope you and your community remain healthy, active, and connected during this stressful time. Please contact our information specialists if we can be of any assistance!