People with severe speech and physical impairments (SSPI) often have trouble communicating due to disabilities that affect their muscle control, such as cerebral palsy (CP), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or stroke. These individuals can benefit greatly from augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices and programs that can translate typed text to speech, like the computer system used by astrophysicist Stephen Hawking who has ALS. A brain-computer interface (BCI) is one new... Read this article
Research In Focus: A Weekly Digest of New Research from the NIDILRR Community
Research In Focus is a weekly publication featuring reader-friendly summaries of the latest research from NIDILRR-funded projects. Each installment presents you with an overview of a recently-published NIDILRR-funded study, highlighting important findings, and discussing implications or directions for future research. This could be a starting point to learn more about the intervention, technology, or program. We hand-select the articles from our diverse library collections, aiming to broadly cover interesting research in many areas of disability, various types of intervention, and a wide range of age spectrum from early childhood to aging with and into disability. To be alerted to new articles, sign up for our weekly email newsletter News and Notes from the NIDILRR Community and Beyond! These articles are also available in Spanish.
For people with disabilities, transportation can be a major challenge. People may be unable to drive a car, ride a bike, or travel on foot due to a disability. If transportation is not available, accessible, and affordable, people with disabilities may not be able to fully participate in daily activities. For example, people may have trouble getting to work, running errands, going to the doctor, or socializing without adequate transportation.
In a recent NIDILRR-funded study,... Read this article
About 800,000 Americans have a stroke each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked or bursts, causing brain damage. Sometimes, stroke can lead to long-lasting difficulties with moving one hand or arm due to both muscle weakness and spasms. Therapies are available to help people regain hand mobility after a stroke, but these therapies may not work for people with severely limited hand movement.... Read this article
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic condition affecting the central nervous system. MS is related to a variety of symptoms that are often variable and unpredictable. Symptoms of MS can either come and go (relapsing-remitting MS) or get worse over time (progressive MS). Common MS symptoms include trouble walking, fatigue, weakness, pain, and problems with thinking and memory. These symptoms can increase the risk of mental health problems. They can also make it difficult to participate in... Read this article
People with mobility disabilities have difficulty standing, walking, or climbing stairs. Mobility aids, such as wheelchairs and scooters, allow people with mobility disabilities to get around and be more active in their communities. However, some people may be living in homes that do not meet their needs. Home features like stairs and narrow doorways make homes less accessible for mobility aid users. Living in an inaccessible home can make it harder for people with mobility disabilities to... Read this article
An estimated 5.3 million Americans are living with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A TBI occurs when someone experiences brain damage after a head trauma, such as from a fall or a car accident. TBI can cause a variety of long-lasting challenges, including difficulties managing feelings, thinking clearly, or processing information. As a result, many people with TBI have frequent irritability. Irritability is a tendency to get upset... Read this article
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage anywhere along the spinal cord, often due to an accident or other trauma. SCI typically causes a loss of movement and feeling below the damaged part of the spinal cord, often leading to paralysis and other changes in functioning. People with SCI may be more likely to develop depressed mood than members of the general population: Current research shows that up to 25 percent of people with SCI experience depression, and up to 12 percent report major... Read this article
Young adults with disabilities are less likely to find employment than young adults without disabilities, and those youth with disabilities who are employed may earn less than their peers without disabilities. Unemployment and under-employment rates are especially high for young women with disabilities and some ethnic minority youth, such as African Americans.
School factors such as low budgets or large class sizes could contribute to high unemployment rates in youth with disabilities... Read this article
Youth with disabilities have access to a variety of services throughout their school years and as they transition to adulthood. These services include special education, transition supports, vocational rehabilitation (VR) services, and social and health services. After high school, however, these services can become fragmented and harder to access. Compared to youth without disabilities, research has shown that youth with disabilities may be less likely to continue with their education or... Read this article