While the public has made accommodations for 54.4 million people with disabilities, many researchers regularly exclude people who cannot read, hear, or write from participating in their research projects, says Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland.

That’s about to change. The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing (FPB) at the university will develop research tools and strategies to include individuals with hearing and vision impairments in future research.

Shirley Moore, Edward J. and Louise Mellen Professor of Nursing and director of the National Institutes of Health-funded Center for Self-Management Research (SMART Center) at FPB, is the lead investigator for the 2-year, nearly $400,000 National Institute for Nursing Research-funded project, Full Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (FIND) in Self-Management Research.

She will work with co-investigator Ann Williams, National Institute of Health-supported postdoctoral fellow, who has been working on a health-related research project with blind diabetics.

The study is built on the Principles of Universal Design, developed for school teachers to tailor school work for children with special needs.

FIND will bring together a collaboration of experts from the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center and the Cleveland Sight Center along with researchers in engineering, teaching, and rehabilitation specialists of people with disabilities and communication scientists. The center will also draw from available technologies at the university’s Prevention Research Center and Behavior Measurement Core Facilities, and from other universities and self-management centers around the country.

Staff from the hearing and sight centers will conduct a series of workshops for researchers. During these sessions, researchers will learn about communication technologies for hard-of-hearing and blind individuals that can be used to gather data for their research projects.

FIND will also establish a demonstration center, the FIND Lab, where tactile, hearing, and other tools to assist participants can be tried and used for practice by researchers or their assistants gathering the data.

[Source: Case Western Reserve University]