Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. This month’s question is I was recently diagnosed with a disability and I am finding barriers in my home and in my community. Is there information, research, and resources on barriers to community living and participation? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that discuss the integration of established wireless technologies that help people with disabilities achieve independence and enhanced community participation; accessibility and universal design (UD) in the four domains of the built environment; inclusive and accessible information and communication technologies (ICT); community participation and public transportation barriers; pedestrian access barriers; physical barriers faced by university students in Cali-Colombia; barriers to learning for university students with disabilities; overcoming barriers to employment; and more. More about Answered Questions.
The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) for Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC) (in English) works towards the integration of established wireless technologies with emerging wirelessly connected devices and services for a transformative future where people with disabilities achieve independence, improved quality of life, and enhanced community participation. Through the Wireless RERC’s research, development, training, and outreach activities, successful innovations will engage, connect, and accelerate access for people with disabilities to a dynamic wireless ecosystem without barriers and includes an increase in social connectedness for people with disabilities across varied environments.
The RERC on Universal Design and the Built Environment (UD RERC) (in English) advances accessibility and UD in housing, commercial and public buildings, community infrastructure, and transportation. Its research, development, training, and dissemination activities address key needs for knowledge and demonstrate the value of evidence-based practice through improved regulations and adoption of voluntary UD standards. The RERC helps improve the physical access, health, and social participation of people with disabilities. As part of its work, the UD RERC maintains a website that is the leading source for news and information on UD across all environments (in English).
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are an integral part of life, impacting education, employment, health, transportation, and social communication and, as they continue to evolve, access for people with disabilities may become prohibitive. The Inclusive Information and Communications Technology RERC (ICT RERC) (in English) addresses access to inclusive ICT for people with disabilities. This RERC addresses barriers to the accessibility of ICT by ensuring that existing solutions are known, effective, findable, more affordable, and available on every computer or digital technology platform and by exploring the emerging next-generation interface technologies for which there are no effective accessibility guidelines or standards, and problem-solving in advance of these technologies.
From the NARIC Collection:
The article, Community participation and public transportation barriers experienced by people with disabilities (in English), discusses a study by the NIDILRR-funded Americans with Disabilities Act Participation Action Research Consortium (ADA PARC): Advancing Participation Equity for People with Disabilities (in English) that conducted a national survey of people with disabilities to explore the impact of barriers accessing public transportation on community participation. Researchers found that people who are blind or have low vision, psychiatric disabilities, chronic health conditions, or multiple disabilities experienced more problems using public transportation for community participation, along with people who were female, Hispanic, Latinx, or of Spanish origin. Researchers also found that the study results indicate significant challenges faced by people with disabilities as they use public transportation, and certain disability groups are more severely impacted by these barriers than others.
Research In Focus:
Three Decades After the ADA, Many Local Governments May Still Not Have Strong Plans to Remove Pedestrian Access Barriers discusses a study from the NIDILRR-funded Great Lakes ADA Regional Center (in English) that looked at how many local governments in a study sample had Americans with Disabilities (ADA) transition plans completed and readily available to the public. The researchers also wanted to evaluate the quality of the plans as reflected by elements such as monitoring progress or providing opportunities for public participation. They found that many local governments in the US still do not have clear plans to remove barriers from the pedestrian infrastructure and they noted that mainstream renovation projects may be able to integrate ADA transition guidelines in order to improve access for people of all ages and abilities.
The article, Physical barriers faced by disabled people perceived by university students in Cali-Colombia (article in Spanish, abstract in English), discusses a study to identify the physical barriers faced by people with disabilities as perceived by university occupational therapy and nutrition students in a single institution in Cali-Colombia. The researchers found that around 58% of the students perceived that the snack bar and bathrooms inside the university had minimal accessibility because of inadequate signaling, ventilation, and lightning and that transportation to the university was also a physical barrier related to participation in university life. The researchers recommended universities carry out a survey to identify physical barriers on their campuses.
The article, Learning Barriers for Students with Disabilities in a Chilean University. Student Demands – Institutional Challenges (PDF), presents the results of a study on students with disabilities in a Chilean university to determine the learning and participation barriers that they face and to determine the educational assistance necessary for these students to pursue their studies properly. The results of the study indicate that learning and participation barriers fall within three categories: infrastructure, teaching-learning process, and institutional management. The study also found that students have different needs according to their type of disability and that these needs are a key aspect to consider when educational assistance is requested. The researchers proposed strategies in order to improve the accessibility policies for this university in Chile.
The article, Overcoming barriers to access to employment for people with disabilities from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), discusses the Joint Program on Employment and Disability, an initiative from the United Nations System in Peru that seeks to assist local municipalities in promoting the access to employment for people with disability. The initiative also assists local governments in removing barriers to employment for people with disabilities through the creation of programs that provide training and job placement for people with disabilities and that assist employers in removing barriers within their organizations.
Factsheets, Guides, and Webpages from the NIDILRR Community and Beyond:
- The factsheet, Accessibility at drive-thru in medical sites, from the NIDILRR-funded ADA National Network (in English) and Mid-Atlantic ADA Regional Center (in English), lists considerations and strategies to promote accessibility at drive-thru medical sites, including those sites where patients may be asked to exit their vehicles. Typically consisting of pop-up tents and traffic cones, these temporary sites may be in a state fairground or parking lot at a hospital or retail store and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that the services provided at these sites are accessible to people with disabilities. This factsheet is also available in English.
- The NARIC Collection has various NIDILRR-funded guides, articles, and reports on assistive technology (AT) (in English) to assist people with disabilities in breaking down barriers to employment, recreation and leisure activities, education, communication, parenting with disabilities, and more.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a webpage on barriers to participation, which discusses the various types of barriers to community participation that people with disabilities face, including attitudinal, communication, physical, political, transportation, and social barriers. The webpage defines each type of barrier and provides examples. This webpage is also available in English.
Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned above is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. Except for the NIDILRR Projects, From the NARIC Collection, and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked.