According to the U.S. Census, in 2010 an estimated 56.7 million Americans had a disability. For these millions of people and their families, rigorous research has the potential to improve their lives by shaping new technology, improving services, and expanding their decision-making options. SEDL works to improve the quality, relevance, and use of disability and rehabilitation research and services.
Wildwood Employment Services for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum
Meet Glenn. He has a diagnosis on the autism spectrum and is a consumer of the Wildwood Programs' Employment Services. Nearing graduation from high school, Glenn began participating in vocational trials with different businesses. He was especially successful as a dishwasher in a family-owned restaurant and was offered a part-time position. Glenn really liked the staff, as they did him. But after a few years, a change in management led to a more chaotic workplace and anxiety for Glenn. With intensive on-the-job training from Wildwood, along with support from his residential manager, aunt, and a family friend, Glenn was able to secure a job at Panera Bread. The support he received enabled him to make the transition with few difficulties. Mike, the general manager at Panera, provides Glenn with clear directions, compliments when due, and corrective instruction as warranted. The sense of achievement and pride is clear in the way Glenn does his job.
Wildwood is one of several exemplary employment programs for individuals on the autism spectrum that SEDL has identified. Read more
Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research Center: The KTDRR Center builds on the work of the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research to assist disability and rehabilitation researchers in getting their research results into the hands of the people who can use the information—employers, policymakers, service providers, and people with disabilities and their families. Staff accomplish this mission through information dissemination, technical assistance, training, and other services. Learn more
Knowledge Translation for Employment Research (KTER) Center: SEDL is partnering with Virginia Commonwealth University to operate the KTER Center. The national center's work includes synthesizing and disseminating high-quality research on improving employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, and identifying and testing strategies that encourage the use of research. The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research is funding the 5-year initiative. Learn more
Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (2008–present): In partnership with the University of Central Florida Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, SEDL is conducting research and knowledge translation to improve the quality and responsiveness of vocational rehabilitation services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders project consists of a diverse set of research and dissemination activities. Learn more
Disability Subgroup of the Campbell Collaboration Education Coordinating Group: SEDL, in partnership with the Campbell Collaboration, has formed a Disability Subgroup within the Education Coordinating Group. The subgroup’s mission is to provide support and resources for disability researchers conducting systematic reviews and to increase the involvement of people with disabilities and their families in the review process.
National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (1995–2011): SEDL’s National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research worked to improve the quality and accessibility of disability and rehabilitation research and to increase its use in influencing policy, shaping new technologies, improving service delivery, and expanding decision-making options for people with disabilities and their families.
Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTAC): Southwest and Southeast ADA Centers: SEDL is conducting research to help the Southwest ADA Center and the Southeast ADA Center better tailor their training and resources to the needs of the individuals they serve. The regional DBTACs provide information and resources on the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
Research Utilization Support and Help (2003–2009): SEDL’s Research Utilization Support and Help project identified, described, and encouraged the use of effective strategies for making research results more accessible and useful. The project focused on disability research findings in the areas of health, technology access, independent living, and community integration.
National Model for Supported Employment and Independent Living and the Independent Living Services Network (ILS-Net) (1987–1989): Funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, ILS-Net operated in a five-state region to develop model electronic networking and communication systems for community-based independent living centers. ILS-Net served as the conceptual model for the current Disabled Individuals Movement for Equality Network.
Regional Rehabilitation Exchange: Under a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, SEDL established the Regional Rehabilitation Exchange (RRX). The RRX identified and promoted exemplary rehabilitation and independent living programs and practices in the Southwest, and served as a model for four additional RRX projects nationwide.