Disability Research News

States use ARPA Funds to Boost Employment for People with Disabilities

Post date: 09/30/2022

The National Conference of State Legislators, in collaboration with the State Exchange on Employment & Disability, published a new resource, “States Uses of ARPA Funds to Boost Employment for People with Disabilities,” that explores state actions to increase opportunities for people with disabilities and grow the post-pandemic labor force. Strategies highlighted range from supporting private employers seeking to diversify their workforce to expanding state hiring initiatives.

Assistant Secretary Williams Announces the Launch of Mental Health and Employment Working Group

Post date: 09/30/2022

At the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s (USCM) Executive Leadership Meeting in Miami last week, ODEP Assistant Secretary Williams delivered remarks to help launch the Mental Health and Employment Working Group, which seeks to identify policies, plans and practices to address and support workers’ mental health needs in the nation’s cities.

Researchers engineer novel material capable of 'thinking'

Post date: 09/30/2022

Someone taps your shoulder. The touch receptors in your skin send a message to your brain, which processes the information and directs you to look left, in the direction of the tap. This processing of mechanical information has now been harnessed by Penn State and U.S. Air Force researchers and integrated into engineered materials that "think."

Bionic pancreas improves type 1 diabetes management compared to standard insulin delivery methods

Post date: 09/30/2022

A device known as a bionic pancreas, which uses next-generation technology to automatically deliver insulin, was more effective at maintaining blood glucose (sugar) levels within normal range than standard-of-care management among people with type 1 diabetes, a new multicenter clinical trial has found.

Exploring how future tech can benefit people in the workplace — NSF greenlights 14 new 'Future of Work' research projects

Post date: 09/30/2022

The U.S. National Science Foundation will invest more than $29 million in research projects designed to increase opportunities for U.S. workers and generate positive societal and economic impacts at the local and national level.

Silicon image sensor that computes

Post date: 09/30/2022

New device speeds up, simplifies image processing for autonomous vehicles and other applications

NIH Awards $100 Million for Autism Centers of Excellence Program

Post date: 09/16/2022

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a total of $100 million over the next five years to support nine Autism Centers of Excellence. This endeavor funds large research projects to understand and develop interventions for autism spectrum disorder.

Researchers develop an integrated method to measure stability during walking

Post date: 09/16/2022

Researchers at Georgia Tech funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation have developed an integrated approach to studying the biomechanics of falls and how the legs, joints and muscles act as a system to respond. … The scientists intended to broaden the understanding of how devices like exoskeletons affect human muscle mechanics and walking stability. The team came up with a new, more comprehensive way of measuring stability that helps answer the question of how muscle mechanics, exoskeletons, and stability work together to react to falls.

NIH launches Bridge2AI program to expand the use of artificial intelligence in biomedical and behavioral research

Post date: 09/16/2022

The National Institutes of Health will invest $130 million over four years, pending the availability of funds, to accelerate the widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI) by the biomedical and behavioral research communities. The NIH Common Fund’s Bridge to Artificial Intelligence (Bridge2AI) program is assembling team members from diverse disciplines and backgrounds to generate tools, resources, and richly detailed data that are responsive to AI approaches.

VA announces implementation of VSignals Survey for Specially Adapted Housing program

Post date: 09/16/2022

VA will begin implementing the VSignals survey for the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) program, administered by VA Loan Guaranty Service (LGY). The SAH program administers housing adaptation grants to seriously disabled service members and Veterans with certain, very severe service-connected disabilities. SAH grants assist eligible service members and Veterans with building, remodeling or purchasing an adapted home that is suited to the individual Veteran’s specific, unique physical needs. These adaptations, funded by SAH grants, help these American heroes live more independent lives.

The State as a Model Employer of People with Disabilities

Post date: 09/16/2022

The Council of State Governments, in collaboration with ODEP’s State Exchange on Employment & Disability, published a report designed to inform policymakers on “state as a model employer” policies and practices to recruit, hire and retain workers with disabilities. The report, “The State as a Model Employer of People with Disabilities,” explores strategies states can use to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility principles within the public-sector workforce.

Engineers build a self-aware, self-training robot that can avoid obstacles and assess damage

Post date: 09/16/2022

Engineers at Columbia University working on a project enabled by the National Artificial Intelligence Institute in Dynamic Systems and three separate grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation have built a robot that learns from itself instead of its environment. The self-aware robot learned a model of its body – something humans do as infants – without intervention or assistance. The results demonstrated how the robot modeled its movements to prepare for motion, avoid impediments and assess damage to its body.

Disability rights groups battle Lyft for wheelchair accessible vehicles - again

Post date: 09/16/2022

Lyft officials said the company is exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act and doesn’t have to cater to people with nonfolding wheelchairs.

Computational Methods Identify Psychosis Symptoms in Spoken Language

Post date: 08/19/2022

Changes in how a person speaks can indicate disturbances in thought and communication, which are core symptoms of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. These language changes can emerge before more observable psychosis symptoms but be difficult for clinicians to recognize, which can delay diagnosis and reduce the quality of care.

National Paralysis Resource Center Announces Quality of Life Grant Opportunities Opening September 1

Post date: 08/19/2022
funding announcement

The National Paralysis Resource Center (operated by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation) is announcing two grant funding opportunities through its 2022 second cycle Direct Effect and Priority Impact Quality of Life grants initiatives that will open for applications on September 1. Direct Effect (Tier 1) grants are offering up to $25,000 to nonprofit organizations for projects that clearly impact individuals living with paralysis, their families, and caregivers. Priority Impact (Tiers 2, 3, & 4) grants are offering three increasing levels of funding.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Funding for 166 Projects to Modernize Transportation Across the Country and Make it More Affordable, Increase Safety and Strengthen Supply Chains

Post date: 08/19/2022

Today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced that the Biden-Harris Administration has awarded more than $2.2 billion from the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program to help urban and rural communities move forward on projects that modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, and intermodal transportation and make our transportation systems safer, more accessible, more affordable, and more sustainable.

NSF and Amazon continue collaboration that strengthens and supports fairness in artificial intelligence and machine learning

Post date: 08/19/2022

NSF, in collaboration with Amazon, announced the 2022 recipients of the Program on Fairness in Artificial Intelligence in Collaboration with Amazon awards. The 2022 awardees will receive up to $9.5 million in financial support. The teams have planned projects that involve rooting out unfairness and bias in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, developing principles for human interaction with artificial intelligence systems, theoretical frameworks for algorithms, and improving speech recognition technology so that it is accessible to broader populations.

Innovation revolutionary: A solution to prosthetic socks management

Post date: 08/05/2022

Veterans with prostheses often experience fluctuations in residual limb volume. They adjust for the resulting changes in fit and comfort of their prosthetic sockets throughout the day using prosthetic socks of varying thickness. However, this can be difficult for a recent amputee to manage. Too few or too many socks can create increased pressure on the end of the limb. That makes it difficult to determine when to add or remove socks. Incorrect use of socks can lead to skin damage and serious complications, such as non-healing wounds.

AbilityOne Commission Final Rule on Subminimum Wages

Post date: 08/05/2022

Last week, the U.S. AbilityOne Commission issued a final rule prohibiting paying subminimum wages on AbilityOne Program contracts. Published on July 21, 2022, the rule requires nonprofit agencies seeking both initial and continuing qualifications to participate in the program to certify that, when paying employees on AbilityOne contracts, they will not use certificates authorized under section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Two New Actions to Address Youth Mental Health Crisis

Post date: 08/05/2022

Our nation's young people are facing an unprecedented mental health crisis. Even before the pandemic, rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts among youth were on the rise. The pandemic exacerbated those issues, disrupting learning, relationships, and routines and increasing isolation—especially among our nation's young people. More than 40 percent of teenagers state that they struggle with persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, and more than half of parents and caregivers express concern over their children's mental well-being.

On Anniversary of ADA, USDOT Announces Winners of its First-Ever Inclusive Design Challenge

Post date: 08/05/2022

Today, during an event held in recognition of the ADA’s 32nd anniversary, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) will announce the winners of its $5 million Inclusive Design Challenge, a competition focused on innovative designs to enhance mobility options for people with physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities and to provide equal access to automated vehicles.

Biden Administration Announces Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding to Make Public Transportation Rail Stations Accessible for All

Post date: 08/05/2022

Thirty-two years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. rail systems will get a significant boost in federal funds to improve accessibility for all riders. Thanks to President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced today it will provide $1.75 billion to make it easier for people to get on board at the nation’s oldest rail public transportation systems, including $343 million in a notice of funding availability now.

DOT Awards Funding to Community Colleges to Prepare Veterans for Jobs in Trucking

Post date: 08/05/2022

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has awarded $3.1 million to community colleges and training institutes through the Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training (CMVOST) Grant Program. These grants will assist current and former members of the Armed Forces who want to pursue careers in trucking to get commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) and the training they need to enter the profession.

New dissolving implantable device relieves pain without medication

Post date: 08/05/2022

A team of scientists and engineers at Northwestern University supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation has developed an implantable pain relieving device -- a promising alternative to opioids and other addictive analgesics. The device could transform post-surgical pain management.

Could a computer diagnose Alzheimer's disease and dementia?

Post date: 08/05/2022

It takes a lot of time — and money — to diagnose Alzheimer's disease. After running lengthy in-person neuropsychological exams, clinicians must transcribe, review and analyze every response in detail. Now, U.S. National Science Foundation-supported researchers at Boston University have developed a new tool that could automate the process and eventually allow it to move online. Their machine learning-powered computational model can detect cognitive impairment from audio recordings of neuropsychological tests — no in-person appointment needed.