research in focus

“Even people who cannot speak should be able to make their voices heard”: Soliciting user feedback from people with severe speech and physical impairments

People with severe speech and physical impairments (SSPI) often have trouble communicating due to disabilities that affect their muscle control, such as cerebral palsy (CP), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or stroke. These individuals can benefit greatly from augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices and programs that can translate typed text to speech, like the computer system used by astrophysicist Stephen Hawking who has ALS.

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Independent Transportation Can Lead to More Opportunity for People with Disabilities

For people with disabilities, transportation can be a major challenge. People may be unable to drive a car, ride a bike, or travel on foot due to a disability. If transportation is not available, accessible, and affordable, people with disabilities may not be able to fully participate in daily activities. For example, people may have trouble getting to work, running errands, going to the doctor, or socializing without adequate transportation.

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A New Assistive Glove Can Help People Regain Hand Function After a Stroke

About 800,000 Americans have a stroke each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked or bursts, causing brain damage. Sometimes, stroke can lead to long-lasting difficulties with moving one hand or arm due to both muscle weakness and spasms. Therapies are available to help people regain hand mobility after a stroke, but these therapies may not work for people with severely limited hand movement.

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Which Symptoms are Most Challenging for People with Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic condition affecting the central nervous system. MS is related to a variety of symptoms that are often variable and unpredictable. Symptoms of MS can either come and go (relapsing-remitting MS) or get worse over time (progressive MS). Common MS symptoms include trouble walking, fatigue, weakness, pain, and problems with thinking and memory. These symptoms can increase the risk of mental health problems. They can also make it difficult to participate in life activities, such as working, socializing, and managing household tasks.

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Survey Shows the Majority of People with Mobility Disabilities May Not Be Living in Accessible Homes

People with mobility disabilities have difficulty standing, walking, or climbing stairs. Mobility aids, such as wheelchairs and scooters, allow people with mobility disabilities to get around and be more active in their communities. However, some people may be living in homes that do not meet their needs. Home features like stairs and narrow doorways make homes less accessible for mobility aid users. Living in an inaccessible home can make it harder for people with mobility disabilities to live, work, and participate in their communities.

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How is Spirituality Linked to Quality of Life in People with Spinal Cord Injury?

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage anywhere along the spinal cord, often due to an accident or other trauma. SCI typically causes a loss of movement and feeling below the damaged part of the spinal cord, often leading to paralysis and other changes in functioning. People with SCI may be more likely to develop depressed mood than members of the general population: Current research shows that up to 25 percent of people with SCI experience depression, and up to 12 percent report major clinical depression.

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For Youth with Disabilities, Finding Help and Support After High School Can Be a Challenge

Youth with disabilities have access to a variety of services throughout their school years and as they transition to adulthood. These services include special education, transition supports, vocational rehabilitation (VR) services, and social and health services. After high school, however, these services can become fragmented and harder to access. Compared to youth without disabilities, research has shown that youth with disabilities may be less likely to continue with their education or pursue employment after high school.

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Anxiety May Be an Issue for People with Moderate TBI

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5.3 million Americans are living with the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI refers to damage to the brain caused by an external force, such as a fall or a car accident. TBI can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe based on the degree or extent of brain tissue damage and severity of symptoms such as loss of consciousness and amnesia.
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For People with Cancer Who Want to Return to Work, Turn to Your Health Care Team for Key Information and Support

With advances in cancer treatment, more and more people with cancer diagnoses are returning to work after treatment or continuing to work while being treated for their cancer. The effects of cancer such as fatigue, pain, depression, and cognitive difficulties can have an impact on work life. Cancer survivors may find they need information and resources regarding legal protections to prevent job loss, managing their employers’ expectations when they return to work, and benefits and services available to support them in the workplace.

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Changes in Policy May Mean Better Access to Interventions for Children with ASD

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person's life. Children with ASD may receive a variety of services in school and through their health care providers to meet their developmental needs, including speech therapy, occupational therapy, social skills training, and behavioral and mental health services such as applied behavior analysis (ABA). However, many children with ASD may not have had access to these services due to insurance coverage, requiring families to pay for services themselves.

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