Highlights of recently concluded projects follow.
MICL focused on enhancing community participation by people with disabilities. Individual research projects address a range of topics, including healthcare access, the effectiveness of CIL services, personal assistant training and more.
This exploratory study considers the impact of non-visitable homes on wheelchair users. This research has been funded by a Switzer Fellowship from NIDRR.
This study explores the availability of wheelchair-accessible scales in Lawrence, Kansas, home of the University of Kansas.
This project was designed to improve post-secondary students’ self-advocacy skills and knowledge about their legal rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). College students who have disabilities don’t always know what they are entitled to under this law, nor how to request accommodations from their teachers or institutions.
This weight loss program was provided for people with physical disabilities in Wichita. This program is based on an earlier study that focused on adults with developmental disabilities.
Disaster and Emergency Preparedness
The RTC/IL has conducted numerous research projects to help people with disabilities prepare for and survive disasters.
In the Nobody Left Behind project, we worked with organizations throughout the United States to assess whether disaster plans and emergency response systems met the needs of people with mobility impairments. This was funded by the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research and also by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine.
We have also produced a wide variety of resources and trainings for disaster preparedness.
The Research and Training Center on Full Participation in Independent Living (RTC/FPIL) and the Research and Training Center for Underserved Populations were funded research with policy significance to persons with disabilities. These specialized centers studied independent living needs assessment for underserved populations, assistive technology skills training for consumers with psychiatric disabilities, service accommodation for consumers with cognitive and intellectual disabilities, and facilitation of effective board skills for underserved disability populations.
Setting the Research Agenda. In 2005 the RTC/IL pooled the expertise and ideas of colleagues in independent living, governmental, and research sectors to develop and document priorities in disability research, practices, policies, and funding initiatives. The Center sponsored a working group in 2005 to identify specific, actionable recommendations with a 5-10 year horizon, with measurable outcomes, to increase full participation for Americans with disabilities in community life. These recommendations were given to the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research to aid in its development of research that will maximize participation and enhance community living of people with disabilities. View this executive summary at Independent Living Working Group Recommendations.
Besides engaging consumers and others in Consumer-Empowered Teams (also known as Participatory Action Research) to help identify key areas of policy concern, another way the RTC/IL research has been part of the dialogue guiding disability policy is by providing expert counsel, testimony, and scientifically drawn evidence in support of policy issues.
Collaboration. Throughout our research and knowledge dissemination activities, we have collaborated with other individuals and organizations. For example, we teamed with the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) Program of TIRR to improve access and use of independent living research information through the Research Information for Independent Living (RIIL) project, which included several webcasts and the interactive Internet database (www.getriil.org) that contains research summaries on key independent living-related topics.