Celebrating 50 Years of the Architectural Barriers Act

As chair of the U.S. Access Board, I had the privilege of participating in an event today celebrating the anniversary of the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) of 1968 and the fifty years of progress it helped spark.

Before the ABA was passed, accessibility standards were often inconsistent — and just as often ignored. The American National Standards Institute developed the first accessibility standards in 1961 with the help of Easter Seals and the research of the University of Illinois. Many states used these early standards to develop accessibility requirements in their building codes. However, other states adopted access requirements that ranged from lax to nearly nonexistent. This resulted in great discrepancies in accessible design requirements from state to state, and in some cases, from city to city.

This had real life impacts. It meant that a wheelchair user could easily go to the post office in one town but not in a nearby state or community. The same problem existed with respect to sidewalks, entrances, bathroom stalls, paths of travel, signage, and everything else that makes a building accessible.

Full story at acl.gov

Announcing New Guideline on Managing Disorders of Consciousness

A new guideline for managing disorders of consciousness (people in a minimally conscious state) has been published in the journals Neurology (PDF) and Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PDF). The development of the new guideline was partially funded by ACL’s National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), and two of its co-authors are grantees in NIDILRR’s TBI Model Systems program.

The guideline provides recommendations to improve diagnosis, health outcomes, and care of people with these disorders. About four in 10 people who are thought to be unconscious are actually aware.

Consciousness is a state of being awake and aware of one’s self and surroundings. A person with a disorder of consciousness has trouble being awake, or being aware or both. People in minimally conscious state have behaviors that show they are conscious, such as tracking people with their eyes or following an instruction to open their mouths, but the behaviors are often subtle and inconsistent. A disorder of consciousness can be caused by a severe brain injury resulting from trauma, such as a fall, a car accident or sports injury. It can also be caused by a disease or illness, such as stroke, heart attack or brain bleed.

Full story at acl.gov

Mid-Atlantic ADA Center will join the Baltimore Orioles for the 28th ADA Anniversary Celebration at Camden Yards

The Baltimore Orioles will recognize the 28th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on Thursday, July 26, when the Orioles play the Tampa Bay Rays at 7:05 PM. The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center , funded by ACL’s National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), has partnered with the Orioles for this celebration.

The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center connected the Orioles with a local disability theater organization, Art Stream , and a few performers with disabilities will sing the National Anthem. In addition, during the game, 10-14 individuals with disabilities will be invited onto the field to share their “Because of the ADA…” personal message about how the ADA has positively impacted their lives.

The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center will host the Orioles’ Community Booth on the concourse during the game. They will offer print materials on the ADA, as well as stickers and temporary tattoos with the ADA 28th Anniversary theme. A timeline depicting the history of the ADA will be displayed on the concourse.

Full story at acl.gov

Summary of Responses from a Request for Information: People with Disabilities and Opioid Use Disorder

The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL issued a request for information about people with disabilities and opioid use disorder, which yielded comments from 50 respondents, including consumers, community and national organizations, research teams, and federal partners.

Key findings from this effort are helpful to NIDILRR as it considers developing new funding opportunities related to the opioid crisis. These responses provided information about what is known and what are the most pressing research questions for the disability and rehabilitation research fiends. A common thread among respondents was that there are many important unanswered research questions at the nexus of chronic pain, opioid misuse, and people with disabilities.

Full story at acl.gov

New Funding Opportunity for Center on Knowledge Translation for Technology Transfer

A new funding opportunity from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL has been announced for a Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program: Center on Knowledge Translation for Technology Transfer.

The purpose of the DRRP program is to plan and conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities (including international activities) to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities.

Full story at acl.gov

New Funding Opportunity for Research on Community Living and Participation of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

A new funding opportunity from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL has been announced for an Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on community living and participation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The purpose of the RRTC program, which are funded through the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, is to achieve the goals of, and improve the effectiveness of, services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act through well-designed research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities in important topic areas as specified by NIDILRR. These activities are designed to benefit rehabilitation service providers, individuals with disabilities, family members, and other stakeholders.

Full story at acl.gov

New Funding Opportunities To Conduct Research on Exercise Interventions for People with Disabilities, and Health & Function for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Two new grant opportunities from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research(NIDILRR) at ACL have been announced: the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) on exercise interventions for people with disabilities, and the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on health & function for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The purpose of the DRRP program is to plan and conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities (including international activities) to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities.

DRRP on Exercise Interventions for People with Disabilities — The purpose of this DRRP is to generate new knowledge about the effectiveness of exercise interventions for people with disabilities.

Full story at acl.gov

Funding Opportunity on Employment for People with Physical Disabilities

The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) announced a new funding opportunity under the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) Program on employment for people with physical disabilities.

The purpose of the RRTCs (which are funded through the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program) is to achieve the goals of, and improve the effectiveness of, services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act through well-designed research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities in important topic areas as specified by NIDILRR. These activities are designed to benefit rehabilitation service providers, individuals with disabilities, family members, and other stakeholders.

Full story at acl.gov

New Funding Opportunity for RERC on Technologies to Support Aging-in-Place for People with Long-Term Disabilities

A new grant opportunity from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL has been announced under the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERC) Program on Technologies to Support Aging-in-Place for People with Long-Term Disabilities.

The purpose of the RERC program is to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act by conducting advanced engineering research on and development of innovative technologies that are designed to solve particular rehabilitation problems or to remove environmental barriers. RERCs also demonstrate and evaluate such technologies, facilitate service delivery system changes, stimulate the production and distribution of new technologies and equipment in the private sector, and provide training opportunities.

Full story at acl.gov

Funding Opportunities Open for Rehabilitation Research and Training Center Program

The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL has announced several funding opportunities for the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) Program.

The purpose of the RRTCs (which are funded through the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program) is to achieve the goals of, and improve the effectiveness of, services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act through well-designed research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities in important topic areas as specified by NIDILRR. These activities are designed to benefit rehabilitation service providers, individuals with disabilities, family members, and other stakeholders.

Full story at ACL.com