Independent Living Matters: February 2015

Greetings from the Research & Training Center on Independent Living (RTC/IL) at the University of Kansas. We are committed to supporting centers for independent living and other community-based organizations that serve people with disabilities. This update informs you about resources and news you may find useful.

CHEC It Out: Know Before You Go

The Community Health Environment Checklist (YouTube) is a free tool that enables people with disabilities and their advocates to rate the usability of stores, restaurants, health care practices and other community sites. Users can then place the ratings on an online map to share the information with others. Our new motion graphic CHEC It Out: Map Your Community's Usability (YouTube) explains this tool and how to get training to map your own community.

New Resources

Visitable Homes: Tell Your Doctors!

Dot Nary published a guide to “Making Homes More ‘Visitable’ for Wheelchair Users and Potential Hosts” in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Oct. 2014, Volume 95, Issue 10, pages 1995–1996). Health care providers can easily remove this educational page from the journal to share with patients and their caregivers.

Video: Medical Exams CAN Be Accessible

One of our center’s advisors, Catherine Graham, is featured in a YouTube video about Medical Examinations and People with Disabilities produced by Able South Carolina. There are two versions for full accessibility, with descriptive narration in the link above and ASL provided (YouTube) in a second version.  

Brain Injury and Health Care: First-Person Experiences

Martha Hodgesmith and Val Renault produced an Issue Brief on “Improving Access to Health Care for Kansans with Brain Injuries” (PDF available upon request) based on a collaboration with the Disability Rights Center of Kansas. This report summarizes information gathered from Kansans who have brain injuries (BI) at town hall meetings held in three Kansas locations. The brief presents recommendations for changes in policy and practice to improve the health care experience of Kansans with BI.

A similar report (posted in our health care access products) focuses on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  

Housing for People with Disabilities: How’s It Working?

The Center has produced two infographics on housing for people with mobility disabilities. These one-page graphics illustrate the barriers to community participation that begin in the home. They also suggest ways to improve accessible housing options.

One infographic tells the story for the entire U.S., while the other spotlights conditions in rural housing. Our research partners Craig Ravesloot and Lillie Greiman from the University of Montana used data from the American Housing Survey to bring these issues to light.

Grant to Help College Students with Disabilities

Glen White and Jean Ann Summers received a grant titled "Access to Success" to help community college students with disabilities request the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations they need to succeed in their post-secondary experiences. Research indicates that for people with disabilities, completing post-secondary education increases the likelihood that they will be employed. However, while 31 percent of students with disabilities enroll in some post-secondary education (two years or less), only 12.5 percent complete a degree.

Access to Success will build on the recently completed Accommodations Training Technology (ATT) projectthat White and Summers conducted at three universities. That initial version of the training is available at Access to Success is available now.

RTC/IL Staff

Glen W. White, PhD, director

Martha Hodgesmith, JD, associate director

Jean Ann Summers, PhD, research director

Dot Nary, PhD, assistant research professor

Val Renault, MA, communications coordinator

Pam Willits, grants specialist

Shelby Akers, office assistant

Jeff Gordon, graduate research assistant

Kelsey Shinnick, graduate research assistant

Alice Zhang, graduate research assistant