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.

More than 65 million people in the US serve as caregivers to family members who have a disability or are seniors in need of assistance, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance, and the number of caregivers is expected to grow in the coming years. These caregivers include families of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), many of whom are also experiencing age-related disabilities. For adults with IDD, families are the single largest provider of care with more than... Read this article

Date published:
2016-04-13

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person's life. ASD can affect how a person acts and interacts with others, communicates, and learns. For example: A person with ASD may express ideas and emotions differently, may exhibit repetitive behaviors, or may have difficulty adapting to new or changing situations. These challenges can make it difficult for young adults with ASD to find competitive... Read this article

Date published:
2016-04-06

Obesity is a major public health concern and studies have shown that people with serious mental illness (SMI) may be at higher risk of being overweight or obese than people without SMI. Being overweight or obese can put people at risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other conditions. Wellness programs that promote healthy eating and exercise can help reduce these risks for people with SMI. A recent NIDILRR-funded study evaluated a program designed to teach people with SMI about... Read this article

Date published:
2016-03-30

The unemployment rate for young African American men was as high as 33 percent in 2013 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The problem of unemployment is even more profound for young African American men with substance use disorders who face additional stressors that may worsen symptoms of substance abuse and interfere with opportunities for employment. Disadvantages in education, employment, and healthcare can also have a negative impact on work participation and health-related... Read this article

Date published:
2016-03-16

People with disabilities in the United States face daunting prospects when it comes to employment. Unemployment rates are significantly higher for people with disabilities than those of the general public and, when employed, people with disabilities are likely to earn less than people without disabilities. To help lessen this disparity, vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs are designed to assist job seekers with disabilities by offering training and support as they enter in or return to... Read this article

Date published:
2016-03-02

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system. According to the National MS Society, some of the most common and debilitating symptoms people with MS may experience are fatigue, chronic pain, and depression. Living well with these symptoms can be a daily challenge. One NIDILRR-funded study shows that people with MS who receive self-management training can develop the skills and knowledge they need to manage the day-to-day physical, emotional, and... Read this article

Date published:
2016-02-24

Many people with disabilities use service dogs or assistance dogs to maintain independence at home, at work, and in the community. Service dogs are trained to perform specific functions such as guiding a person with visual impairments safely from place to place, alerting a person who is Deaf or hard of hearing to sounds in the environment, or providing other assistance such as pulling a wheelchair or retrieving dropped items. Some dogs can also be trained to alert a person of an oncoming... Read this article

Date published:
2016-02-10

“Serious games” are computer or video games that use entertainment to train or educate the players. The games are developed and used to encourage skill development, improve health or cognitive function, or communicate messages of public safety or policy. These types of games could also help older adults to improve memory and cognition, or provide specific therapy following stroke or other health conditions. However, age-related changes like vision or hearing loss can make these games harder... Read this article

Date published:
2016-02-02

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an injury to the brain from an external force. When a child experiences a TBI, it impacts the whole family, especially the parents. Dealing with new medical needs, changes in mood and behavior, and all the associated costs can ratchet up parental distress. For lower-income families, adding financial issues and poor access to care and services can be a recipe for crisis. One program is showing promise to help parents learn the positive parenting skills they... Read this article

Date published:
2016-01-19

Vocational rehabilitation (VR) is a series of programs and services designed to help a person with a disability find and keep a job or return to work after injury. These services are most often provided by counselors at a VR agency. VR counselors spend a lot of time getting to know the individuals with disabilities they work with, understanding their needs and abilities, and supporting them as find their place in the workforce. According to a new study, VR counselors and VR agency personnel... Read this article

Date published:
2016-01-13

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