Posts Tagged NIDILRR

[BLOG POST] Substance Use and Disability – A Look at NIDILRR – Funded Research


Last week, NIDILRR released a Funding Opportunity Announcement for a Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program: Research on Opioid Use Disorder Among People with Disabilities. The announcement followed several months of careful research to write an opportunity that answered the needs of the community in regard to opioid use and disability. Earlier in the year, NIDILRR released a Request for Information on the topic to generate comments, concerns, and ideas from the community on this issue. The result, summarized in a report released May 4th (PDF), provided information about “what is known and what are the most pressing research questions for the disability and rehabilitation research fields.” Among the responses, NIDILRR found that:

  • New evidence suggests that people with disabilities are more likely than the general population to misuse opioids and develop related disorders, but they may be less likely to receive treatment than their peers without disabilities.
  • Barriers to treatment included physical accessibility of treatment centers, limited insurance coverage, and policies that withheld opioid prescriptions without first offering pain management alternatives.
  • People with disabilities involving serious traumatic injury such as spinal cord or brain injuries may be at greater risk of opioid misuse and unintentional death due to opioid poisoning.

Many people with disabilities experience pain on a daily basis and may use opioids as part of their physician-directed pain management. Research is needed in this area to understand how these individuals and their care teams can balance the need to manage pain and the risk of substance abuse. This opportunity is not NIDILRR’s first foray into exploring the connection between disability and substance use disorders. NIDILRR-funded research in this area has included:


(Click the project title to view an abstract and links to any related publications in NARIC’s REHABDATA database)

Integrated Program to Improve Competitive Employment in Dually Diagnosed Clients(Field Initiated 2014-2017)

Treatment Development for Alcohol Craving and Rehabilitation Among Individuals with Co-Occurring Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Alcohol Use Disorder. (Fellowship 2013-2014

Deaf Off Drugs and Alcohol: Evaluating a Technology-Assisted E-Therapy Program for Substance Use Disorder Treatment (Field Initiated 2011-2013)

A National Assessment of the Rates and Correlates of Alcohol and Other Drug Use by College Students with Disabilities (Field Initiated 2008-2011)


The Impact of Alcohol Use on Outcome and Recovery after Traumatic Brain Injury.(Fellowship 2006-2007)

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Substance Abuse, Disability, and Employment. (Rehabilitation Research and Training Center 2004-2010)


Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Drugs and Disability (RRTC 1997-2001) and the RRTC on Substance Abuse and Disability (1993-1997)

Substance Abuse Treatment for Adults with Chronic Mental Illness (Fellowship 1994-1995)

Substance Abuse as a Barrier to Employment for Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury.(Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project 1991-1995)

Pre 1990

Innovation Grant to Develop a Unique Rehabilitation Curriculum to Train Rehabilitation Counseling Masters Students in Alcoholism Counseling to Work with Multidisabled Alcoholics. (Innovative Research Projects, 1987-1988)

Medication Effects on Attention and Behavior in Head Injured Patients. (Field Initiated 1986-1987)

Relation of Substance Use to Rehabilitation Outcome in Persons with Spinal Cord Injury.(Field Initiated 1986-1987)


Explore publications from these projects and other members of the NIDILRR community in the area of substance use disorders:

If you are a person with a disability who is concerned about substance use disorder, please visit the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator at or call your local 211 to speak with a community-level information specialist who can help you find treatment in your area.


via Substance Use and Disability – A Look at NIDILRR-Funded Research | Collection Spotlight from the National Rehabilitation Information Center

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[WEB SITE] Ain’t It Cool?

Ain’t It Cool?

It may be 90 degrees outside but in here we’re thinking cool: Cool technology from the NIDILRR community? We’re fortunate to be a pert of a community that works on some of the latest technology supporting the independence and participation of people with disabilities. NIDILRR projects conduct research and development in rehabilitation engineering, assistive technology, application development, and integrating technology into home, school, and work. Here are just a few examples of cool tech from the NIDILRR community:


Robots! What’s not cool about robots! Several projects work on robotic technology, from exoskeletons to prosthetics to therapy tools:

Machines Assisting Recovery from Stroke and Spinal Cord Injury for Reintegration into Society (MARS3) has an objective to broaden the use of robotic devices for therapy and assistance. Specifically, the center explores new approaches that improve functional outcomes during reach-and-grasp and full body locomotion activities such as: robotic activity mobility center in a fitness center, multi-user training environments for in-home therapy, exoskeletons for walking after spinal cord injury (click to see a video of an exoskeleton in action), wheelchair-based robotic upper extremity exercise and power assisted propulsion, and wearable robots for fall prevention. Learn more about the MARS3 project and the work completed under two previous cycles.

The Timing Investigation Dosage Implementation (TIDI) Rehab Engineering Research Center (RERC) is trying two answer two questions to help clinicians integrate robotics into therapy: How do we distribute the therapy episodes provided by robotic systems over time? How do therapists interact with robotics devices when these devices are delivering the therapy often with minimal hands-on treatment coming from the clinician? Therapists and clinicians who are integrating robotics into their stroke rehabilitation practice need to know how to utilize this technology to support the best recovery for stroke survivors. Learn more about the TIDI project and its activities.

Technologies to Evaluate and Advance Manipulation and Mobility RERC focuses on technology for holding, grasping, and mobility. This includes exoskeletons for stroke recovery and body-powered prosthetics. See the range of technology from the TEAMM RERC.

The Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training in Pediatric Mobility for Physicians and Engineers project is training up the next generation of therapists and engineers. Learn more about the fellowships.

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wearable Robots for Independent Living is so new, it doesn’t even have a website yet! Researchers from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Kessler Foundation will work with commercially-available lower extremity exoskeletons to support rehabilitation of people with spinal cord injury and stroke, as well as home-based robotic rehabilitation for people with upper-extremity limitations after stroke. We’re really excited to see what these folks are doing!

Cloud computing

Everything’s moving to the cloud, but what if you can’t access it? Several projects are working on cloud computing and ubiquitous web technology, and making sure these technologies are accessible to all:

The project on Inclusive Cloud and Web Computing conducts research and develops methods to enable software providers to easily and rapidly implement inclusive user experiences so consumers are empowered to fully participate in cloud and web systems. Learn more about what the inclusive cloud project is researching and read abstracts of their research.

The RERC on Universal Interface and Information Technology Access is working on a global public inclusive infrastructure (GPII) designed to make assistive technologies  and other access solutions available for many more users, more efficiently, and more cost-effectively. See demos of this technology in action!

CaptiNarrator, developed under several NIDILRR Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants, is an any-where, any-time browser that will read aloud just about any electronic document. Newspaper, book, magazine, report, you name it. You can use it across multiple devices (phone, tablet, computer) and platforms. It’s great for people with print disabilities (blindness, low vision, dyslexia) but also great for people on the go! Capti recently partnered with Project Gutenberg to bring tens of thousands of classic books to readers everywhere. Sign up for Capti!


What if you could have a physical or occupational therapy session without leaving home? What if your local, small town clinic could “loop in” a world-class neurorehab specialist from the big city? This is promise of telerehabilitation: Bringing rehabilitation and recovery to more people in more places.

The RERC on Telerehabilitation focused on methods, systems, and technologies to support consultative, preventative, diagnostic, and therapeutic interventions to improve and promote telerehabilitation for individuals who have limited access to comprehensive medical and rehabilitation outpatient services. The project held a State of the Science conference and publishes an International Journal of Telerehabilitation. See the resources from this recently-completed RERC.

The Mayo Clinic’s Traumatic Brain Injury Model System Center is addressing the need for specialist TBI care using communication technology in the CONNECT trial. Learn about CONNECT and the promise of telemedicine for TBI.

These are just a few examples of the cool research and development activities taking place at NIDILRR-funded centers and projects across the country. To learn more about current and previously funded projects, please visit the NIDILRR Program Database (hint: browse through the Technology for Access and Function priority).

Source: Ain’t It Cool?

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[WEB SITE] This is all new to me! – Collection Spotlight from the National Rehabilitation Information Center.

This is all new to me!

You’ve just finished meeting with the doctor. He or she shared information about a new diagnosis or condition. Maybe you’re the one now facing life with a disability (either permanent or temporary) or maybe you will be supporting a family member with a new condition. Either way, you probably have a lot of questions about managing health, returning to work or finding a new job, or changing your living situation. How will this disability affect my marriage? My finances? My ability to work? The good news is there are many resources available to help you answer these questions. In this post and the next, we’ll share items from the NIDILRR community and elsewhere to help you get started on this new path. First up, resources from the NIDILRR community:

Finding Treatment:

You or your family member are ready to move out of the hospital and into a rehabilitation setting. What does that mean? What is the difference between acute rehab and subacute rehab? How do I know if I’ve picked a good rehab center? Download the Consumers Guide to Choosing a High Quality Medical Rehabilitation Program, originally developed under a NIDILRR grant by Boston University and National Rehabilitation Hospital (Now MedStar). It has checklists, questions to ask at a facility, and a great glossary of terms.

Finding Technology

Whether you need to add a ramp to your home, find a modified van, get a screen enlarger, or find a new carry-all bag for a walker, you’ll find these kinds of assistive technology and much, much, MUCH more at our sister project AbleData. Browse by category or search for specific products or activities (like cooking or reading). Take the time to browse through the factsheets and articles while you’re there!

Newly Injured or Diagnosed:

  • New to spinal cord injury (SCI)
  • New to traumatic brain injury (TBI)
    • InfoComics use a graphic-novel format to tackle some of the challenges families face when a loved one has a TBI, originally developed by the University of Washington TBI Model System Center
    • Family Support After TBI, developed under a NIDILRR grant, is a training program to help families manage the cognitive, behavioral, and social changes that can happen after TBI
  • Hot Topic Modules from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center present factsheets and videos on issues you and your family may be facing:

New to a Secondary Condition/Aging with Disability

You may not be new to your disability, but you may be experiencing age-related disabilities or secondary/co-occurring disabilities:

  • People with psychiatric disabilities often face issus with obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. The RRTC on Psychiatric Disabilities and Co-Occurring Medical Conditions has a diabetes toolkit to meet their needs:
  • People with physical disabilities are living longer and experiencing age-related disabilities on top of their existing conditions. The Aging RRTC offers factsheets and plain language articles to help

New to Caregiving or Working with a Caregiver

People new to disability may also be new to relying on and working with a caregiver. On the other side of the coin, family members may be new to providing care for a loved one.

New to Work with a Disability

You’re ready to return to work or find a new job. What can  you expect in the workplace? How can technology help me? How do I talk to my employer about my disability?

New to Self-Advocacy

You may find yourself in the position of being your own best advocate, whether it’s for healthcare, legal rights, access to your community, or even bigger policy issues.

New to Parenthood/Grandparenthood with a Disability

Life changes and new family members arrive! Learn about your rights as a parent, and tools to help you take care of someone new.

New to Meeting/Working with/Serving People with Disabilities

Maybe you have a new co-worker with a disability. Perhaps you have customers with disabilities. Or it could be your son’s playmate’s mom is a person with a disability. You may not have a lot of experience in talking with, working with, or serving people with disabilities. These resources may help:

This is all new to me (part II)!

Yesterday we introduced you to a library full of excellent resources from the NIDILRR community aimed at helping people new to disability or entering new phases in life with a disability. Today, we continue with organizations, agencies, and resources from the greater disability and rehabilitation community.

First, let us point you to our Librarian’s Picks, brochures that list agencies, organizations, and websites targeting specific topics: Advocacy, Aging, Assistive Technology, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Caregiving and Caregivers, Children with Special Needs, Education, Employment, Finding Rehabilitation Services, General Spanish Language Resources, Independent Living, Mental Health, Sensory Disability, Spinal Cord Injury, Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Universal Design. Some of the resources we’ll cover here appear in these brochures as well. These are also available in Spanish.

Finding basic information about a disability, treatment, or drug

Many people will turn to their favorite search engine and enter a few key words. What comes back may be a mountain of information, not all of it helpful. Probably the best and most reputable resource we can recommend to find out about a specific condition, treatment, or drug is Medline Plus, maintained by the National Library of Medicine. Every article is reviewed by a health professional. You’ll find basic definitions, causes and treatments, and recommendations for related resources. Many articles also link to videos, clinical trials, and even peer-reviewed journal articles. If you want to dive deeper, search PubMed at NLM for abstracts of journal articles, books, and reports (more than 10 million volumes!).

If you do turn to your favorite search engine, please take a few minutes and read through these resources from NLM on evaluating health information:

Find a resource center

The Administration for Community Living has several resource centers that connect people to information and support resources

Find a disability-specific organization

Often, the best source of information and support is someone who’s “been there, done that.” Disability-specific organizations are run by people with personal and professional experience in a disability, such as stroke (National Stroke Association), mental health (National Alliance for Mental Illness), or vision loss (National Federation of the Blind). Visit our Disability Resources pages or search our Knowledgebase to find an organization that meets your needs.

Find a professional organization

Many professions have national organizations that provide certifications, educational programs, and other supports for their members. They may also have “Find a Professional” or other resources to connect the general public to their members or professionals in their field. You’ll find several in our Finding Rehabilitation Servicesbrochure.

Find local help

Have you called 211? 211 is community-level information and referral. Just dial those three numbers (2-1-1) and a real, live person will answer, ask you some questions, and point you to resources in your community to help with support, treatment, benefits, financial assistance, and much more. You can also look up your 211’s website and search their resource databases. Many of these centers offer information services in languages other than English.

Find your nearest public library

When was the last time you visited your public library? We routinely recommend that our patrons visit or call their local library for assistance. Ask to speak with a reference librarian, tell them the topic you’re interested in, and we guarantee you’ll walk out with a stack of books and a ream of printouts from good-quality online sources. Find your library at or call 211.

Please note that these resources primarily support people with disabilities and their families in the US. If you are outside the US, please contact us and we’ll do our best to identify an appropriate resource in your home country.

Source: This is all new to me! | Collection Spotlight from the National Rehabilitation Information Center

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