RehabWire Volume 2 Number 1, January 2000

Welcome to the New Year! As we head to the new century, we will be spending more time than ever at work and at school. This issue of RehabWire is all about accommodating people with disabilities in the places we spend most of our days.

NIDRR Projects: Research in the New Millennium

Multimedia Job Accommodations Curriculum Project for Persons Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, University of Arkansas (H133G70104) led by Douglas Watson, PhD. Ellen Blasiotti, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project meets the needs expressed by consumers, employers, and vocational rehabilitation professionals for increased knowledge about requesting and getting on-the-job accommodations. The project makes accessible and disseminates research-based findings and information already developed in a prototype model that empowers workers who are deaf or hard of hearing to identify and request an appropriate on-the-job accommodation.
Find out more at:

Woman in a wheelchair sitting at a computer.Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Ergonomic Solutions for Employment, University of Michigan (H133E980007) led by Thomas J. Armstrong, PhD. William Peterson, Project Officer.
Abstract: This Center combines ergonomic interventions, work and worksite modifications, assistive technologies, and medical interventions to facilitate placement of workers with disabilities, and helps prevent development of subsequent musculoskeletal illnesses and injuries. The Model System establishes a database to include information on a broad range of interventions and case examples as well as procedures for assessing workers, analyzing jobs, identifying accommodation needs, and selecting interventions, including ergonomic technologies. The comprehensive approach involving rehabilitation medicine and ergonomics culminates in a Web-based Model System that can be used by rehabilitation professionals, employers, consumers, and organizations.
Find out more at:


Finding Help: Community Connections

Many organizations can assist with accommodations and other accessibility issues, both in schools and in the workplace. Here are just a few:

New Resource: Small Business/Self-Employment Services (SBSES) of the Job Accommodation Network
The SBSES, a service of the President's Commmittee on Employment of People with Disabilities,provides comprehensive information, counseling, and referrals about self-employment and small business ownership opportunities for people with disabilities.

Defining Disability: Updating the REHABDATA Thesaurus

The REHABDATA Thesaurus is a key instrument in indexing the materials in the NARIC collection. The Thesaurus is a constantly evolving document which is modified and updated on a regular basis. Each month we look at a term, how it’s defined, and how it’s used in indexing rehabilitation and disability literature.

Blind woman reading a braille book.ACCOMMODATION
Scope notes: Modification of the environment or the workplace to accommodate needs of persons with disabilities; includes providing or modifying equipment or devices, and building or modifying a work station.
Related terms: accessibility, ADA, architecture, employment, environmental control systems, facilities standards, job modification, home modification, work station
Use for: Work adaptation

Don’t forget the DBTACs! The Regional Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers can also assist with accommodations. Call them toll-free at 800/949-4232.

New Research: Selections from REHABDATA

Crudden, A., McBroom, L. W. (1999) Barriers to employment: A survey of employed persons who are visually impaired. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 93(6), 341-350. Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision, Mississippi State University. Accession Number: J36770.
Abstract: Article presents data from a national survey of 176 employed persons who are blind or have low vision. The survey asked: What were the major barriers you overcame to become employed? How did you overcome these barriers? Who helped you? And, why did you succeed when many others failed? Responses included attitudes of employers and the general public, transportation problem, lack of access to print, adaptive equipment, and accommodations. Strategies taken to overcome such barriers are addressed and appear to be individually based, rather than from a macro or policy perspective.

Liebig, P. S., Sheets, D. J. (1999) State assistive technology policies and programs for older adults with disabilities: Trends and innovations. Technology and Disability, 10(3), 151-159. Andrus Gerontology Center Research and Training Center on Aging, Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center. Accession Number: J37873.
Abstract: Article reviewing studies of state-level assistive technology (AT) and home modification (HM) policies. Studies completed from 1989-1996 are summarized, and results of 2 studies completed in 1997 are presented in more detail. These 2 studies examined policies of state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, agencies for the blind and visually impaired, and housing finance and community development agencies.

Fesko, S. L. (1999) Working it out: Workplace experiences of individuals with HIV and individuals with cancer. Research to Practice, 5(2), 1-4. Rehabilitation Research and Training Center Promoting Placement, Children's Hospital, Training and Research Institute for People with Disabilities. Institute for Community Inclusion. Accession Number: O13225.
Abstract: Study comparing the employment-related experiences of persons with HIV infection and cancer. Findings are presented in the areas of disclosure, reactions of supervisors and co-workers, and adjustments required at work. Also includes suggestions made by study participants for others in similar circumstances, with regard to disclosure, requesting accommodations, and rights and resources.

Schriner, K., Batavia, A. I., Shields, T. G. (1999) The Americans with Disabilities Act: Does it secure the fundamental right to vote? Accession Number: O13248.
Abstract: Article on the role of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in ensuring voting rights for people with disabilities. Topics include: requirements of Title II of the ADA; regulatory and administrative guidelines for applying the ADA to voting rights, including regulations of the Federal Elections Commission (FEC); voting rights cases that have reached the courts or been settled out of court; and accommodations for specific disabilities, including secret ballots for blind voters, and accommodations for people with learning disabilities (LD) or mental retardation.

(1999) Implementation of the employment provisions of the Americans with disabilities act: Survey results summary. Cornell University. Accession Number: O133022.
Abstract: Telephone survey of 1,402 randomly selected Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) members focuses on the many issues employers face when implementing ADA requirements. Results are presented relating to employers' responses to accommodation and access, persons responsible for final decisions, changes to health or other benefits, barriers for promotion and training, dispute resolution processes, collective bargaining issues, employment legislation interaction, ADA personnel training, resources used by employers to resolve ADA issues, and the presence of disability management programs.

Chair and drafting table.