News and Notes 245 December 21

NARIC remembers NIDILRR-community member John Westbrook, PhD, a leader in knowledge translation (KT) whose work continues through NIDILRR-funded KTDRR and KTER; Research in Focus explores whether a chronic disease diagnosis can motivate changes in health behaviors; AbleData project publishes two factsheets: Is Your AT Considered Durable Medical Equipment and Socially Assistive Robots; William Kiernan, PhD, investigator for multiple NIDILRR-funded projects, receives Robert M. Gettings Compass Reward from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS); Real-time text (RTT), developed under RERC-TA, is modernizing wireless phone text compatibility for people with communication disabilities; Southeast ADA Regional Center hosts webcast, Top 5 Americans with Diabilities Act (ADA) Topics; LiveWell RERC conducts survey of User Needs for Information Communication Technology (SUN-ICT); cellist Yo-Yo Ma discusses music and and the brain at the annual J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture at NIH.

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NARIC news: 

Last week, we learned that our dear friend and colleague John Westbrook, PhD, passed away. Dr. Westbrook was a member of the NIDILRR community for more than 30 years. As a leader in knowledge translation (KT), he was committed to strengthening the quality, relevance, and usefulness of disability and rehabilitation research to expand opportunities, choices, and service quality for persons with disabilities and their families. His work continues through the current NIDILRR-funded Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (KTDRR) and the Center on KT for Employment Research (KTER) (90DP0077). Learn more about Dr. Westbrook's distinguished career, including items available from the NARIC collection.

Research In Focus:
Can a Chronic Disease Diagnosis Motivate Healthy Lifestyle Changes?
This week's Research In Focus asks whether a chronic disease diagnosis offers a "teachable moment" to change health behaviors.

Resource Highlight: 

New AbleData Publications
The NIDILRR-funded AbleData project (ED-OSE-13-C-0064) has published two new factsheets. Is Your AT Considered Durable Medical Equipment compares the definitions of durable medical equipment (DME) and assistive technology (AT), with common examples of DME. The factsheet also discusses how to determine whether an insurance carrier might consider an AT to be DME and implications for coverage. Socially Assistive Robots introduces the concept of socially assistive robots, robotic companions that may help alleviate many types of mental health conditions and discourage health-damaging behaviors. The factsheet covers both robotic animal and humanoid companions that are available on the market or will be available in the near future.

News items: 

NIDILRR Researcher Receives Compass Award
William Kiernan, PhD, principal investigator for multiple NIDILRR-funded projects on employment, vocational rehabilitation, and state systems, received the Robert M. Gettings Compass Award from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS). The Compass Award is given to individuals working in the private sector who have helped to improve publicly-funded state service systems for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dr. Kiernan received the award in recognition of his tireless efforts to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities through research.

Real-Time Text Technology Moves Communication Forward
Real-time text (RTT), technology developed under the NIDILRR-funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Telecommunication Access (RERC-TA) (90RE5003), is modernizing wireless phone text compatibility for people who have communication disabilities. The Federal Communication Commission recently amended its rules to allow phone companies to replace outdated TTY technology with RTT. This technology allows characters to be sent as they are created, without hitting "send," making text communication as simultaneous and conversation-friendly as voice communication. The new technology offers better reliability, efficiency, features, and speed than standard TTY. RTT technology was a major effort of the RERC-TA from 1999 to 2015, and continues with support from the RERC on Universal Interface and Information Technology Access (90RE5015) and the RERC on the Accessibility, Usability, and Performance of Technology for Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (90RE5020).

Grantee event: 

ADA Live! Top 5 ADA Topics
The NIDILRR-funded Southeast ADA Regional Center (90DP0090) will host a webcast, Top 5 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Topics: Notes from an ADA Specialist, January 4th, 1-1:30pm ET. This session of ADA Live will explore the most frequent workplace accommodation requests and possible solutions. Topics will include requests for leave, reassignment to another position, accessible or reserved parking, service animals, and reasonable accommodations for job-related testing or training. No registration is required and questions may be submitted in advance.


Survey of User Needs for Information Communication Technology (SUN-ICT)
The NIDILRR-funded Information and Communication Technology Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Community Living, Health, and Function (LiveWell RERC) (90RE5023) is conducting a Survey of User Needs for Information Communication Technology (SUN-ICT) to learn how people of all abilities use or would like to use ICT. ICT refers to electronic devices and services for communicating, getting information, and controlling other electronic devices, including wearables such as Apple Watch or activity monitors such as FitBit. The information collected will be used to help researchers, designers, and engineers create new solutions to meet the needs of people with disabilities. The survey is open to all users and all disability types. Participants who fully complete the survey will be eligible for a $25 gift card.

Elsewhere in the Community: 

Yo-Yo Ma Discusses Music and the Brain at NIH
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma recently joined National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, for the annual J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture at NIH. The lecture took the form of a conversation on the intersection of music and science, including the neuroscience of music, parts of the brain devoted to processing music, and the brain's dopamine response to both hearing music and playing musical instruments. The NIH Director's Blog article includes a video of Yo-Yo Ma and Dr. Collins playing "How Can I Keep from Singing."