News and Notes 63 April 24

This issue features: Cynthia Waddell in memoriam; FAAST toolkit for VR and game developers; survey for farmers with amputations; disability statistics in the news; new technologies for rehabilitation and health promotion; NARRTC awards; knowledge translation webinar; NSCIA webcasts. Sent April 24, 2013

Date sent: 
NARIC news: 

This month, we learned of the passing of Cynthia Waddell, JD, a truly tireless advocate for universal access to information. Dr. Waddell was a lifelong advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and a world-renowned expert in disability rights law, public policy, and electronic and information technology. She drafted some of the earliest accessible web design standards which would eventually become part of the Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards and, in 1998, authored Applying the ADA to the Internet: A Web Accessibility Standard. Thank you, Dr. Waddell, for everything. You will be missed.

Resource Highlight: 

Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST)

The NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Technologies for Successful Aging with Disability (H133E080024) supported the development of the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST), which allows video game and virtual reality (VR) developers to integrate full-body control with games and VR applications using Microsoft Kinect tracking cameras. The toolkit can emulate keyboard input triggered by body posture and specific gestures, encouraging the development of VR-based games for exercise and rehabilitation for those with limited mobility. A video gallery demonstrates FAAST's capabilities in various applications. FAAST is available to download (ZIP, drivers required) free of charge.

News items: 

NARRTC Awards Recognize Grantee Achievements

The National Association of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (NARRTC), a membership organization of NIDRR grantees, presented its 2013 recognition awards during the annual meeting on April 19th. The award for Best Paper was given to Joseph T. Giacino, PhD and colleagues for their paper Placebo Controlled Trial of Amantadine for Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (abstract) in the New England Journal of Medicine. The paper is based on the completed NIDRR-funded project, A Multicenter Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effectiveness of Amantadine Hydrochloride in Promoting Recovery of Function Following Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (H133A031713). The study investigated the effectiveness of amantadine hydrochloride in promoting functional recovery for patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness after traumatic brain injury. NARRTC also presented the 2013 Distinguished Service Award to Dennis Moore, EdD, director of the completed NIDRR-funded project, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Substance Abuse, Disability, and Employment (1997-2003). The award recognized Dr. Moore's substantial contribution to research in employment, substance abuse, and disability. Dr. Moore previously received NARRTC's 2003 Special Contribution Award.

Special Issue of Physical Therapy to Focus on Technologies for Rehabilitation and Health Promotion

Philip S. Requejo, PhD, and Carolee J. Winstein, PhD, PT, co-directors of the NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Technologies for Successful Aging with Disability (H133E080024), will edit a special issue on “Innovative Technologies for Rehabilitation and Health Promotion: What is the Evidence?” for the journal Physical Therapy from the American Physical Therapy Association. The special issue will feature original contributions on new technologies, applications, interventions, and developments, and their effectiveness for rehabilitation and health promotion across the life span. Proposals are now being accepted through May 15th. The special issue is due in the first half of 2014.

CNN Money Investigates Rise in Disability Claims

John O'Neill, PhD, and Andrew Houtenville, PhD, principal investigators of the NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Disability Statistics and Demographics (H133B120012) and the RRTC on Individual-Level Characteristics Related to Employment Among Individuals with Disabilities (H133B080010), were quoted in Disability Claims Skyrocket: Here's Why, a recent article discussing the current surge in disability claims. The article cites the recession, the aging population, welfare reform, and medical advances as key causes for the rise in claims.

Grantee event: 

Knowledge Translation - From Research to Vocational Rehabilitation Service Delivery

The NIDRR-funded Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (KTDRR) (H133A120012), presents Knowledge Translation—From Research to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Service Delivery, April 30th at 2pm CST. This webcast will examine issues in evidence-based practice and VR and provide guidelines on how to implement these strategies and achieve successful outcomes. Registration is free but required.


Survey of Farmers and Ranchers with Arm or Leg Amputation

The NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Prosthetics and Orthotics (H133E080009) project Assessing and Responding to the Prosthetic Needs of Farmers and Ranchers has posted quick, easy-to-complete surveys to gather data about types of prosthetic components farmers and ranchers use and how well these components perform during farm or ranch work. Separate surveys are available for farmers with upper limb or lower limb amputations. Farmers or ranchers with both upper and lower limb amputations are asked to complete both surveys.

Elsewhere in the Community: 

NSCIA Webinars

The National Spinal Cord Injury Association offers regular webinars on a wide range of issues of importance to the disability and rehabilitation community. Topics have included the Affordable Care Act, mobility equipment, intimacy and disability, staying active, and much more. All webinars are archived with transcripts. The next topic is Addressing Uninsured Health Expenses After Spinal Cord Injury, TOMORROW at 3pm EST. Registration is free but required. Sign up for alerts for future webinars.