RehabWire Volume 4, Number 1, April 2002

It’s Spring and time to welcome in the New and Improved everywhere, starting right here at NARIC. This edition of RehabWire reintroduces NARIC, its new look, and its new location. It also presents some new and some old resources that deserve some attention.

NIDRR Projects: Research in the New Millenium

New Year, New Contractor

2002 brings NARIC and its staff a new home! HeiTech Services, Inc., was awarded the NARIC contract and inherited many of the previous contract's staff members. Mark X. Odum continues as Director of the Center, with Dan Wendling, Natalie Collier, and Jessica Chaiken also moving to the new location. They are joined by Information Specialist Tamie Pyle and Abstractor Sheila Turner.

HeiTech Services, Inc., incorporated in 1999, with the strong senior management team of Heidi Gerding, President/CEO and Jim Clement, Executive Vice President. Their reputation, experience, dedication, and integrity are some factors that make HeiTech Services unique and distinguishing it from other firms. HeiTech Services provides a wide ranges of services utilizing Internet and web-based technologies, database, and software design an development solutions.

NARIC is now located in Lanham, MD, just off Rt. 50 and a short ride from the New Carrollton Metro Station. Please come by and see the new library!

Not just NARIC

Yes, there are other sources out there! Here are a few we've come to know and love recently:

National center on Physical Activity and Disability ( This content-rich site features fact sheets, research reports and monographs, and a resource directory. The site is run by the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. It is funded in part by the CDC. As of April 1, this comprehensive goverment search engine is run by Use this site as your first stop for government information. Check out their Search Tips page ( to learn how to use this tool to its fullest advantage.

The New

Did you notice? has a whole new look and feel. The blue and green scheme served us well for several years but it was time to introduce some new ideas. The new design was developed with user input and tested with real-world usability testing. It incorporates cascading style sheets (CSS), a pared-down navigation tool, and improved interactivity. The best features of our previous pages are still there: NARIC's database, the topic pages and Librarian's Picks, and the literature awareness service REHABDATA-Connection are readily available. We have added information and document request forms to assist patrons in completing their searches. We have also added NARIC's award-winning RehabWire in both HTML and PDF formats.

If you have any questions or comments about NARIC's new site, please let us know. Email us at or

Did You Know...?

NARIC is one of 17 NIDRR funded dissemmination centers. A complete list is available from NCDDR at or you can order one of their wonderful posters!

New Research: Selections from REHABDATA

The RESNA 2002 Conference preparations are in high gear, with conference details available at Last year, NARIC indexed 138 articles from the 2001 Conference Proceedings. The Proceedings are references as The AT Odyssey Continues (Proceedings of the Annual COnference, June 22-26, 2001, John Ascuaga's Nugget Hotel, Reno, Nevada), R. Simpson (ed.), Arlington, VA: RESNA Press.

Here are a few hightlights from the NIDRR projects:

Kim, K-E., Higginbotham, D.J. (2001) Effect of speech rate on comprehension and accessibility of synthesized narrative discourse. Accession Number: O14144.
Abstract: Study investigating the effect of speech rate on listener comprehension and subjective judgements about the competence of the speaker when listening to synthesized narrative stories using MacinTalk Pro. Analyses revealed significant differences relates to speech rates for both comprehension and subjective judgementes about the communication competence of the speaker. Seventy words per minute appeared to be the optimal rate for comprehension, with higher speech rates resulting in more favorable ratings of communication competence.

Panchang, S., Fitzgerald, S., Cooper, R., Cohn, E., Boninger, M.L. (2001) Accessibility of rehabilitation web pages using JAWS and Bobby. Accession Number: O14160.
Abstract: Study examining the accessibility of 30 rehabilitation-related websites to blind persons who use JAWS for Windows, a popular screen-reading program. for Internet access. Sites in the .com, .edu, .gov, .net, and .us domains were evaluated using accesibility checklists for frames, links, text representation, and forms. The sites were also assessed using Bobby, an online website evaluation program. Results indicate that 73% of the sample sites were accessible for individuals who rely on JAWS and Bobby tests. Sites in the .edu and .com domains were more likely to be accesible than those in the .org domain.

Story, M.F., Mueller, J.L., Montoya-Weiss, M. (2001). Completion of universal design performance measures. Accession Number: O14164.
Abstract: Paper on the design, development, and evaluation of two sets of universal design performance measures. One version is useful for product designers developing new products, and the other version for individuals assessing products before purchase.

Mills, T., Holm, M.B., Christenson, M.A. (2001). Public Opinion of universal design in housing. Accession Number: O14165.
Abstract: Study examining the views of the public about universal design (UD) in housing, based on a survey of visitors to the 2000 Parade of Homes Fall Showcase presented by the Builders Association of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. A total of 1656 visitors toured a residential house built with UD features and then completed a survey. Results indicate that most participants believed it was important to include UD features in a home, and would consider including UD features in their current homes and retirement homes.

Axelson, P.W., Mispagel, K.M., Longmuir, P.E. (2001) TrailWare: Technology for the universal design of outdoor environments. Accession Number: O14167.
Abstract: Paper on the design and development of TrailWare, computer software to help in the creation of outdoor environments consisten with univesal design (UD) principles. TrailWare can be used to analyze and summarize objective measurements of outdoor environmental conditions, and the resulting information can be used to design or modify the environment to maximize accessibility.

Caves, K., Beukelman, D., DeRuyter, F. (2001). Virtual collaboration using Internet-based tools. Accesion Number: O14180.
Abstract: Paper describing the experiences of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Communication Enhancement in using virtual collaboration technologies to facilitate communication between partner sites. THe paper discusses virtual conferencing, remote computer controls, virtual coordination, and virtual presentations.

Shapcott, N., Boninger, M., Cooper, R., Cohen, L., Cooper, R., Fitzgerald, S. (2001) Determining the efficacy of POTS based telerehabilitation for wheelchair prescription. Accession Number: O14184.
Abstract: Paper on remote delivery of rehabilitation services, including wheelchair prescription, using video conferencing via "plain old telephone system" (POTS) lines. The paper summarizes a protocol for mobility assessment using TeleRehab, and describes a project to asses the efficacy of the video conferencing method.

Coombs, F.K., Kniskem, J.E. (2001) Report in a statewide AT service delivery program in a VR setting. Accession Number: O14186.
Abstract: Paper describing the Assistive Work Tecnology Services (AWTS) program, which provides statewide assistive technology (AT) services in support of the vocational efforts of the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program.

Cooper, R., Boninger, M., Cooper, R.A., Shapcott, N., COhen, L., Thorman, T. (2001) Development of a tool to be used during telerehabilitation evaluation and recommendation process. Access Number: O14194.
Abstract: Paper on the development of a form suitable for telerehabilitataion assessment of seating and mobility in rural and remote areas.

van Roosmalen, L., Bertocci, G.E., Leary, A. (2001) Computer simulation validation of a wheelchair mounted occupant restrain system under frontal impact. Accession Number: O14212.
Abstract: Study using sled impact test data to develop a computer model to simulate the effects of a wheelchair integrated occupant restraint system (WIRS) on wheelchair and occupant kinematics and occupant injury risk when used in a motor vehicle during frontal crash impact.
Find out more at

RehabWire is now available online at