RehabWire - Volume 6, Number 4, May 2004

RehabWire for May examines research activities in law and public policy, expanding the rights of every citizen.

NIDRR Projects: Research in the New Millennium

Ideas for the New Millennium, World Institute on Disability (H133A990006) led by Kathy Martinez. Eva M. Gavillán, EdD, Project Officer.
Abstract: The ideas for the new millennium project creates a productive international exchange of information and expertise on disability and rehabilitation, connecting disability research and advocacy leadership in ten target countries with their peers in the United States. The issues critical to the information exchanges are: (1) disability rights and independent living, (2) employment and entrepreneurial activity, (3) access and technology, (4) mass media images, and (5) influence through governance. Using a civil rights perspective, the project addresses disability policy, law, advocacy, research, and related developments in the ten countries.
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Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center (ITTATC), Georgia Institute of Technology (H133A000405) led by Mimi Kessler. William Peterson, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project provides information, training, and technical assistance to support the implementation of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act to industry, state officials, trainers and consumers. The Center works closely with federal regulatory agencies including the Federal Communications Commission, the Access Board, the Department of Justice, and the General Services Administration to advance understanding and knowledge utilization of approaches to the requirements of Sections 255 and 508 through training and technical assistance activities.
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woman outlining a graph with her finger. Posted to Stock Exchange IV by wagg66

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workforce Investment and Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities, University of Iowa College of Law (H133B010102) led by Michael Morris, JD, Peter D. Blanck, PhD, JD, Michael Collins, and Robert Silverstein. Delores Watkins, Project Officer.
Abstract: This Center helps expand, improve, and modify disability policy and other more general policies in order to improve the employment status of Americans with disabilities and increase their independence and self-sufficiency. Based on research from this project and other NIDRR-funded projects, this project establishes an information and technical assistance resource to government leaders and decision makers at state and federal levels, individuals with disabilities, parents and family members, and other interested parties, offering new and revised approaches to workforce development and employment policy. Studies conducted by this project include: (1) an analysis of the relationship between select federal and state policies upon the employment of people with disabilities, (2) an analysis of the policy-based implications of outcome-based reimbursement on the delivery of employment and rehabilitation services to people with disabilities, and (3) an analysis of the effect of civil rights protections and multiple environmental factors on promoting or depressing the employment status of people with disabilities.
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Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Policies Affecting Families of Children with Disabilities, University of Kansas (H133B031133) led by H.R. Turnbull, LLM and Ann Turnbull, EdD. Cate Miller, PhD, Project Officer.
Abstract: This center conducts eight research projects on the effects of the policies of governments, systems, networks, and agencies on the family quality of life and community integration (FQOL/FCI) of families who have children with developmental disabilities and emotional-behavioral disabilities or both. Researchers identify four target populations: families, providers, policy-leaders, and networks (all at the federal, state, and local levels). The center’s analytical framework holds that the core concepts shape policies; policies shape services; policies and services should be coordinated and delivered through partnerships; enhanced FQOL/FCI occurs when there is coherence among core concepts, coordinated policies delivered through partnerships, and coordinated services delivered through partnerships; and influencing factors must invariably be taken into account.
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Other law and policy projects:

Disability Law Knowledge Management System:
Resolving ADA Employment Discrimination Charges:
The Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers
New England:
Great Lakes:
Disability Law Resource Project (Southwest):
Great Plains:
Rocky Mountain:
Pacific :
National Center on Accessible IT in Education:

New Research: Selections from REHABDATA

Folkemer, D. (2003) Olmstead and health policy: The state context. In Changing Concepts of Health and Disability Conference Proceedings, March 17-18, 2003; Washington, DC, 82-83. NARIC Accession Number: O15048.
Abstract: Paper summarizes survey findings regarding activities conducted in individual states in response 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision the case of Olmstead v. L.C. and E.W. The ruling requires states to provide community-based services for people with disabilities whenever possible. Survey results provide an overview of Olmstead activities, consumer involvement, implementation deadlines, major recommendations and strategies for implementing the recommendation, costs, and funding. Implications for future research, training, and policy strategies are discussed.

law books on a bookshelf. Photo: Peter Skadberg

Schwochau, S., Blanck, P. (2003) Does the ADA disable the disabled? More comments. Industrial Relations, 42(1), 67-77. NARIC Accession Number: J46213. NIDRR Project Number: H133A011803.
Abstract: Article explores the best way to identify individuals with disabilities for an analysis of the impact of the ADA their employment outcomes. Authors consider whether amending the ADA to broaden its definition of disability can improve the employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Frank, J. J. (2003) The impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on the employment of individuals who are blind or have severe visual impairments: Part 1: Elements of the ADA accommodation request process. NARIC Accession Number: O14680. NIDRR Project Number: H133B010101.
Abstract: Reports findings from study that evaluated the request for accommodation process provided under the ADA by people who are blind or have severe visual impairments. Interviews were conducted with people with disabilities, rehabilitation professionals, and recruiters for large national employers. Results indicated that major areas of concern with the ADA accommodation process are: resistance by employers, refusals to discuss or provide accommodation, the failure of the enforcement process, technical difficulties with assistive technology, and the lack of knowledge about the process.

Silverstein, R. (2003) The applicability of the ADA to personal assistance services in the workplace. Policy Brief #10. NARIC Accession Number: O15205. NIDRR Project Number: H133B30067 and H133B98004.
Abstract: Paper examines whether and under what circumstance the provision of personal assistance services (PAS) in the workplace is a reasonable accommodation as defined in the ADA. PAS include assistance in performing tasks that a person would perform for himself or herself if he or she did not have a disability. A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment or modification to a job or work environment that enable a person with a disability to lead a productive work life. In general, PAS that specifically assist the individual in performing the duties of a particular job are considered reasonable accommodation under the ADA. However, if an adjustment or modification assists the individual throughout his or her daily activities, on and off the job, generally it is considered a personal item that the employer is not required to provide.

Cohen, A., Timmons, J. C., Fesko, S. (2003) Case studies on the implementation of the Workforce Investment Act: Focus on merging cultures. NARIC Accession Number: O15213. NIDRR Project Number: H133B980037.
Abstract: Presents strategies to help employment, training, and disability agencies negotiate a shared new culture in their One-Stop Career Centers. In the process of collaboration as mandated by the Workforce Investment Act, agencies need to adjust to their partners’ cultures and adapt their own. Although merging cultures can benefit the customer, it can present challenges for the agencies, including issues related to privacy and confidentiality, fear of job loss, and professional and service concerns. Strategies are presented for addressing these challenges.

Odem, N., Blanck, P. (2003) Americans with Disabilities Act: Recent and pending U. S. Supreme Court decisions and implications for spine professionals. Spine: An International Journal for the Study of the Spine, 27(4), 439-443. NARIC Accession Number: J46215. NIDRR Project Number: H133B980042.
Abstract: Article discusses Supreme Court cases that interpret the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and discuss their implications for spine professionals. These cases illustrate how spine professionals are involved in the assessment of an individual’s work-related disability and related workplace accommodations under the ADA.

Bellordre, C. A. (2003) Disability/access policy highlights 3.05. NARIC Accession Number: O14637. NIDRR Project Number: H133E010804.
Abstract: Report summarizes national and local public policy activities, highlights recent technological and political advances, and tracks emerging issues related to the lives of individuals with disabilities. In this issue: (1) impact of 2004 budget on disability policies, (2) Federal Communications Commission amends rules to ensure equitable access, (3) enhanced-911 coordination initiative meeting held, (4) House passes Nanotech Research and Development Act, and (5) Muscular Dystrophy Association sued for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Head, L. (Ed.) (2003) Workplace accommodations policy highlights 1.4. NARIC Accession Number: O15232. NIDRR Project Number: H133E020720.
Abstract: Bimonthly newsletter reports policy, regulatory, and market activities relevant to integrating people with disabilities into the national workforce. This issue focuses on programs established in support of the employment goals set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) including: controversy over hand-weeding by farm workers in California; California budget crisis threatens access to assistive technology; disability sensitivity training offered to Georgia residents; Chicago sponsors free, local ADA workshop for small business; and Department of Labor announces more funding opportunities. Court cases, research studies, and development of new technologies are also discussed.
This and all Workplace Accommodations Policy Highlights are available at