Ready Reference: NARIC Information Specialists Share Key Resources for Those New to Disability

When individuals experience emergencies, whether large scale disasters like floods or hurricanes or personal emergencies like car accidents, they may be left with injuries that can lead to short- or long-term disabilities. As the dust settles, they and their families may find they have questions about new diagnoses or may need to know what to expect during rehabilitation and as they return to the community. Our information specialists often work with patrons to help answer these questions and connect them to resources for support going forward. These include some excellent resources from the NIDILRR grantee community, as well as other federally-funded resource centers. We want to share three key resources which may help in understanding a new reality and moving toward a return to the community.

The NIDILRR-funded Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center collaborates with researchers from the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Model System Centers, the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Model System Centers, and the Burn Model System Centers to develop information resources designed for individuals with these injuries and their families. Factsheets, hot topic modules, videos, and infocomics can help those with new diagnoses and those who have lived with their injuries to understand the rehabilitation process, issues that arise at different stages of recovery, staying healthy physically and mentally, accessing assistive technology, and maintaining personal and community connections.

The Paralysis Resource Center, funded by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) helps those with paralysis resulting from SCI, TBI, stroke, and other conditions to learn about causes, interventions, and technology to support recovery, and to connect with community members to share information and support.

The ACL-funded National Limb Loss Resource Center provides comprehensive information and resources on limb loss, including technology like prosthetics and orthotics, pain management, community connections, and much more.

Medline Plus, published by the National Library of Medicine, offers comprehensive, trusted wellness information that is easy to understand. It covers a huge range of information including health topics, drugs and supplements, genetics, and medical tests. It also includes a medical encyclopedia and health recipes.

In addition, we often refer patrons to several organizations which can connect them to local resources:

The Centers for Independent Living (CIL) support community living and independence for people with disabilities and their families with a variety of services and programs. CILs generally serve one or more counties and may connect with state-funded services like vocational rehabilitation, mental and behavioral health, and more. Find the CIL nearest you.

Community level information and referral may be available by phone through 211 or online at 211.org. Trained information specialists conduct comprehensive information and referral to local providers for many services and supports including housing, financial assistance programs, mental health and substance use disorder treatment, nutrition programs, and so much more.

Aging and Disability Resource Centers and Area Agencies on Aging can also assist in connecting to local services and supports, including resources for caregivers. Use the Eldercare locator to find the nearest office serving your area.

Every person’s experience with disability is unique, and every patron we work with has different needs for information and resources to help them on the path toward recovery. You can explore our Disability Resources pages to find more of the organizations, agencies, and reputable online resources we turn to for our patrons. You can also search the Knowledgebase for many more local, national, and international resources.

As always, our information specialists are available Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 5:30 pm ET to help! 

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