RehabWire Volume 2 Number 2, February 2000

The February issue of RehabWire is devoted to diversity. The United States has one of the more diverse populations on the planet, even among its people with disabilities.

New Research: Selections from REHABDATA.

Obiakor, F. E., Schwenn, J. O., Rotatori, A. F. (1999) Advances in special education: Multicultural education for learners with exceptionalities. JAI Press, Inc. Accession Number: R07930.
Abstract: Volume on ethnic and cultural diversity in relation to special education and education of gifted children. Chapters discuss various aspects of special and gifted education for children, parents, and teachers. Ethnic groups discussed include African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans.

Black and white faces. Kemp, B., Krause, J. S., Adkins, R. (1999) Depression among African Americans, Latinos, and Caucasians with spinal cord injury: An exploratory study. Rehabilitation Psychology, 44(3), 235-247. RTC on Aging with Spinal Cord Injury, Los Amigos Research and Education Institute, Inc. (LAREI), Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center. Accession Number: J37151.
Abstract: Study explores the relationship between depression and racial-ethnic group membership among people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Latino participants reported higher overall depression scores than either the African American participants, or the Caucasian participants. No differences were noted between African Americans and Caucasians.

Pichette, E. F., Garrett, M. T., Kosciulek, J. F., Rosenthal, D. A. (1999) Cultural identification of American Indians and its impact on rehabilitation services. Journal of Rehabilitation, 65(3), 3-10. Accession Number: J37333.
Abstract: Article about the differences in cultural worldview between the Native American people and the dominant cultural worldview, and how these differences affect the type and quality of rehabilitation services provided to Native Americans with disabilities. Discusses various models of cultural identification, including the cultural continuum model, the alternation model, and the Orthogonal Cultural Identification Model.

Krause, J. S., Coker, J., Charlifue, S., Whiteneck, G. G. (1999) Depression and subjective well-being among 97 American Indians with spinal cord injury: A descriptive study. Rehabilitation Psychology, 44(4), 354-372. Accession Number: J37994.
Abstract: Study measuring clinical and non-clinical aspects of depression and subjective well-being (SWB) among a sample of Native Americans with spinal cord injury, and seeking to identify factors associated with depression and SWB. It was found that participants had elevated levels of depression and diminished SWB compared to non-Native Americans with SCI in previous studies.

Thomason, T. C. (1999) Psychological and vocational assessment of Native Americans. AIRRTC, Northern Arizona University, Institute for Human Development, University Affiliated Program. ISBN 1-888557-83-4. Accession Number: O13185.
Abstract: Paper provides an introduction to issues regarding the psychological and vocational assessment of Native American clients in schools, mental health clinics, counseling centers and rehabilitation programs.

Thomason, T. C. (1999) Improving the recruitment and retention of American Indian students in psychology. Northern Arizona University, AIRRTC. Accession Number: O13258.
Abstract: Paper on ways to improve the recruitment and retention of students from Native American backgrounds in professional psychology programs. Discusses the need for more psychologists who are Native Americans, identifies barriers to the entry of Native Americans into psychology, then offers recommendations for improving recruitment and retention.

Armengol, C. G. (1999) A multimodal support group with Hispanic traumatic brain injury survivors. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 14(3), p233-246. Accession Number: J36730.
Abstract: Study examines a preliminary effort to address the needs of Hispanic survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI) by developing a prototype TBI support group that: (1) addresses cultural and linguistic needs of Hispanics, (2) increases survivor and family understanding of TBI consequences and daily living impact, (3) teaches adaptive self-change and coping skills, and (4) involves the family. Results underscore the importance of considering linguistic and ethnic factors in developing support groups.

Bailey Jr., D. B., Skinner, D., Rodriguez, P., Gut, D., Correa, V. (1999) Awareness, use, and satisfaction with services for Latino parents of young children with disabilities. Exceptional Children, 65(3), 367-381. Accession Number: J36440.
Abstract: Study of Hispanic parents' awareness of, use of, and satisfaction with services for their young children with disabilities. A high degree of awareness was found, but only a moderate degree of satisfaction.

Three children's faces. Oswald, D. P., Coutinho, M. J., Best, A. M., Singh, N. N. (1999) Ethnic representation in special education: The influence of school-related economic and demographic variables. Journal of Special Education, 32(4), 194-206. Accession Number: J36243.
Abstract: Study describing the extent of disproportionate representation of African American students as mildly mentally retarded (MMR) or seriously emotionally disturbed (SED), exploring the association of economic, demographic, and educational variables at the district level with disproportionate representation of African American and non-African American students.

Loveland, C A. (1999) The experiences of African Americans and Euro-Americans with multiple sclerosis. Sexuality and Disability, 17(1), 19-35. Accession Number: J36628.
Abstract: This article summarizes the experiences of 76 Euro-Americans and 24 African Americans who have multiple sclerosis (MS). The study explores the impact of race and gender on people's initial interpretation of symptoms (including misconceptions of causative factors), access to appropriate medical care, diagnosis, and adjustment to disability.

NIDRR Projects: Research in the New Millennium

American Indian Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, Northern Arizona University (H133B980049) led by Richard Carroll, PhD. Joyce Y. Caldwell, Project Officer.
Abstract: This Center develops, implements, and conducts research and training activities around four core areas: investigating and analyzing existing disability and employment data, and recommending methodology for planning and evaluating employment services for American Indians and Alaska Natives; recommending successful strategies to improve employment outcomes; developing and evaluating innovative and culturally appropriate vocational rehabilitation services for the employment of American Indians and Alaska Natives; and disseminating results of the data collection and evaluation of model employment services to a range of relevant audiences, using appropriate accessible formats.
Find out more at:

The Relationship Between Early Experiences and Development in Young Children with Severe Visual Impairments: A Cross-Cultural Perspective, California State University (H133G80119) led by Jamie Dote-Kwan. Constance Pledger, Project Officer.
Abstract: This longitudinal project examines the relationship between early experiences and the development of infants and toddlers who are blind. Subjects consist of 60 caregiver-child dyads divided equally into four different ethnic groups (i.e., African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian-American, and Euro-American). Major objectives include examining and describing the home environment and early experiences of young children with severe visual impairments, and identifying culturally-accepted practices and strategies that facilitate the developmental outcomes of young children with severe visual impairments.

Utilization of Medical and Rehabilitation Services by Hispanic Children with Disabilities, (H133F990027) led by Mary E. Gannotti, PhD, PT. Ellen Blasiotti, Project Officer.
Abstract: This research identifies whether or not differences exist in the expectations of medical and rehabilitation services, concerns, and unmet needs between Hispanic and non-Hispanic caregivers of children with disabilities. Are differences reflected in the utilization patterns of these services by children enrolled in the State of Connecticut Children with Special Health Care Needs and Husky Plus Programs? The aim of this research is to provide information to medical and rehabilitation professionals to improve service delivery and evaluation for Hispanic children with disabilities.

Developing the Capacity of Minority Communities to Promote the Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, University of Illinois/Chicago (H133G80074) led by Fabricio E. Balcazar, PhD. Delores Watkins, Project Officer.
Abstract: This project develops, implements, and evaluates the capacity of minority communities to further the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The project includes assisting grass-roots organizations that service the needs of Latinos and African Americans with disabilities in conducting participatory needs assessments; providing feedback and technical support to these organizations in meeting their goals; providing leadership training and technical support to strengthen the independence and self-reliance of these grass-roots organizations; and conducting research with local independent living centers in minority communities of Chicago, including assessments of ADA physical accessibility and surveys on barriers to employment.
Find out more at:

Measuring Functional Communication: Multicultural and International Applications, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (H133G70055) led by Diane Paul-Brown. Carol Cohen, Project Officer.
Abstract: The long-term objective of this project is to improve the quality of life for adults with communication disabilities by expanding and validating an assessment tool for multicultural and international populations. Assessments can then be made regarding communication functions and needs, and rehabilitation can be individualized to optimize the person's ability to communicate in their natural environments. Reliable communication skills are a requisite for individuals to achieve their social, educational, and vocational potentials, and for patients to understand and participate in their care and recovery.
Find out more at:

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Rural Rehabilitation Services, University of Montana (H133B70017) led by Tom Seekins, PhD. Joyce Y. Caldwell, Project Officer.
Abstract: This RRTC conducts and disseminates research and provides training that improves the capacity of rural environments to support people with disabilities in living and working independently. American Indian project components work with American Indian tribes to develop culturally sensitive ways to discuss disability issues, such as ensuring environmental, programmatic, and social access for tribal members with disabilities; and developing appropriate long-term care options for elders and people with disabilities or chronic conditions.
Find out more at:

For more projects on ethnicity and disability, see Topic 42 ( at NARIC's Instant Disability Information Center.

Many people standing in a row, some reading newspapers.

Defining Disability: Updating the REHABDATA Thesaurus

The REHABDATA Thesaurus is a key instrument in indexing the materials in the NARIC collection. The Thesaurus is a constantly evolving document which is modified and updated on a regular basis. Each month we look at a term, how it’s defined, and how it’s used in indexing rehabilitation and disability literature.

Diversity was added to the Thesaurus in 1998 to describe the social movement encompassing efforts to increase awareness and inclusion of ethnic, religious, and demographic minorities, including people with disabilities.

Narrower terms: Inclusion; affirmative action
Related terms: Attitudes; ethnic groups; females; males; people with disabilities
Use for: Cultural diversity; multicultural/multiculturalism; underserved populations

March is National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month. Contact the National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Association at 816/313-2000 for more information.