Disability Research

According to Disability Statistics from the 2013 American Community Survey, in 2013 an estimated 12.6 percent of 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.

Success Story

"I really enjoy working at Panera Bread. It is a much better environment, and everyone is friendly, always treating me with respect." — Glenn, Employee, Panera Bread
“Glenn is a great example of a person who, when committed, can achieve almost anything."  — Mike, General Manager, Panera Bread

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

Significant Work

Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research: The Center on KTDRR 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 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, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research is funding the 5-year initiative. Learn more

Disability Subgroup of the Campbell Collaboration Education Coordinating Group: SEDL staff worked with the Campbell Collaboration to form 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.

Past Work

Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (2008–2013): In partnership with the University of Central Florida Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, SEDL conducted 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 consisted of a diverse set of research and dissemination activities.

Show More Work


Image of publication cover Strategies for Reemployment of Dislocated Workers with Disabilities: KTER Center Technical Brief #1
This brief describes a June 2011 study to identify strategies for reemploying people with disabilities who lost their jobs due to the economic downturn in 2007–2009, known as "the Great Recession."
Image of publication cover Behavioral, Psychological, Educational and Vocational Interventions to Facilitate Employment Outcomes for Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review

The objective of this systematic review is to examine experimental and quasi-experimental studies about interventions that (i) include one or more behavioral, psychological, educational, or vocational components, (ii) involve cancer survivors aged 18 years or older, and (iii) assess intervention outcomes on employment outcomes. The aims are both to describe the variety of interventions that have been studied using rigorous methods and to estimate intervention effects.

Image of publication cover Benefits of Supported Employment for Workers with Intellectual Disabilities: KTER Center Technical Brief #2
This brief presents an overview of The National Cost-Efficiency of Supported Employees with Intellectual Disabilities: The Worker's Perspective (Cimera, 2010).
Image of publication cover Knowledge and Application of Evidence-Based Practice by State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Staff: KTER Center Technical Brief #3
This brief presents some preliminary research findings as part of the KTER Center's research agenda focusing on evidence related to employment services for individuals with disabilities.
Image of publication cover Effectiveness of Adult Employment Assistance Services for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders (A Campbell Collaboration Systematic Review)
This systematic review aims to determine the effectiveness of adult employment interventions in securing and maintaining employment for adults with autism spectrum disorder.
Image of publication cover Directory of Journals and Author Guidelines in the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Field
SEDL’s National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR) developed this online directory, which includes more than 200 journal descriptions and author guidelines.
Image of publication cover Registry of Systematic Reviews
This registry, produced in part by SEDL’s National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR), provides access to quality systematic reviews of disability and rehabilitation research studies. The studies address topics relevant to researchers, service providers, and people with disabilities and their families.
Image of publication cover Library of Knowledge Translation Resources
The Library of Knowledge Translation Resources is designed to provide information to researchers and interested members of the public about a wide spectrum of knowledge translation and evidence-based resources.
Image of publication cover FOCUS Technical Briefs
Published by the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR), each FOCUS Technical Brief explores a specific topic related to disability and rehabilitation research.

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