Tag Archives: accessibility

RTC:Rural Housing Research Brief explores how housing impacts participation

Screen shot of the cover of the research brief "Life starts at home: exploring how housing impacts participation for people with disabilities."

RTC:Rural recently published a new Research Brief that shares current housing research.

To view and download the Research Brief, click here: Life starts at home: Exploring how housing impacts participation for people with disabilities


 

Housing and Community Participation

How a space is organized shapes how you use that space. There have been many studies on how the built environment, which includes everything from roads and sidewalks to buildings and parking lots, impacts how people move through and engage with their community. We know that physical barriers in the community, such as stairs, curbs, narrow building entrances, broken sidewalks, and long travel routes can prevent people with mobility impairments from accessing community spaces and limits their ability to move around their community independently.

By removing these barriers, people with disabilities have more opportunities to do things like buy groceries, attend school, be employed, go to the doctor, and socialize or recreate as they wish. Fewer barriers in the environment can mean more opportunities for community participation. Continue reading

Knowledge Translation in Action: Making Research More Accessible

Closeup hands typing on a laptopTo translate: to take something written in one language and express it in another. Or, to change something into a new form. This is precisely what RTC:Rural’s Knowledge Translation team does.

Knowledge Translation is an important part of making sure RTC:Rural’s research is accessible. Accessibility doesn’t refer to only alternative formats, such as Braille or screen-reader friendly—it’s also about making sure the content is easily understood, relevant, and useful to the people who are reading, viewing, or listening to that information. RTC:Rural’s Knowledge Translation team works to make sure that all RTC:Rural research is in the best format for its intended audience, be they people with disabilities and their families, service providers, other researchers, or policy makers.

RTC:Rural uses Knowledge Translation throughout the entire research process, from the research design phase to disseminating the final results. One recent example of this is in the collaboration between Knowledge Translation and the Effort Capacity and Choice project team. The Effort Capacity and Choice project examines the relationship between personal effort and community participation. To do so, the project studies the impacts of two interventions. In the Home Project Intervention, researchers install adaptive bathing equipment in the participant’s bathroom, reducing the amount of effort it takes to bathe and use their bathroom. In the Exercise Project Intervention, participants receive physical therapy in order to increase their physical capacity. Continue reading

Rural Disability and Solution-Focused Research

Would you like to know more about RTC:Rural’s recent research results and solutions? We’ve produced two research summaries that provide an overview of our community-based research. Our projects integrate disability stakeholder collaboration to develop evidence-based solutions that are relevant, appropriate, and respond to the unique needs of people with disabilities living in rural communities.

The Executive Summary provides an abbreviated overview of some of RTC:Rural’s current research findings, as well as some of the products, tools, and solutions that have been developed in response to those findings and the needs of people with disabilities in rural communities. View an accessible PDF of the two-page RTC:Rural Executive Summary below:

Two-page Executive Summary: RTC:Rural- Research that Leads to Solutions for Rural Americans with Disabilities (PDF)

The Research Summary provides a detailed overview of RTC:Rural’s current research findings in the following domains:

  • Geography and Rural Disability, including: the geography of disability in rural America and access to Centers for Independent Living
  • Health and Rural Disability, including: the rural disability penalty, transitory and enduring disability, rural healthcare access, and Healthy Community Living
  • Rural Community Living, including: home usability and community participation, accessibility and participation, participation in rural events, self-advocacy, and rural transportation
  • Employment, including: self-employment, premature exit from the VR system, rural contracted services, and increasing employment outcomes through telecommunications and online strategies

10-page Research Summary: RTC:Rural Research Summary_2017 (PDF)

Through our research, RTC:Rural uncovers relationships among personal and environmental factors that influence quality of life. We incorporate these relationships into our research agenda and utilize stakeholders to help us understand them. Our projects integrate disability stakeholder collaboration to develop solution-focused results that are both relevant and appropriate for intended rural audiences. Through a shared understanding of rural contexts, we work to engage regional and national disability leaders in sharing understanding of how emerging policies impact rural communities and to help understand and prepare for challenges coming in the future.

Webinar: Strengthening Public Health Workforce Competencies in a Rural State

Professional headshot of Dr. Adriane Griffen

Dr. Adriane Griffen, Senior Director, Public Health & Leadership, Association of University Centers on Disabilities.

This webinar for public health and disability service providers about including people with disabilities in public health plans and efforts was held October 17, 2017.

The webinar, entitled Including People with Disabilities—Public Health Workforce Competencies, was presented by Dr. Adriane Griffen, Senior Director, Public Health & Leadership, at the Association of University Centers on Disability. This webinar washosted by The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities and Dr. Meg Ann Traci, RTC:Rural colleague and Director of the Montana Disability and Health Program (MTDH).

This webinar was recorded and you can view the archived video and slides here.

Dr. Griffen provided an overview of the competencies and linkages to public health accreditation and information on local and national resources to help public health organizations strengthen their workforce and better include people with disabilities. The webinar also provided a forum for participants to discuss current resources and strategies being used by others in the field.

The webinar was a Montana-specific version of a previous workforce competencies webinar Dr. Griffen participated in on January 24, 2017. RTC:Rural is pleased to support this webinar as a way to share knowledge between national, state, and local public health professionals and disability service providers about including people with disabilities in public health plans in a rural state like Montana. Continue reading

Figuring out how young adults with disabilities participate in rural community events

RTC:Rural’s research on accessible community events has a new focus. Dr. Rayna Sage, RTC:Rural Research Associate, is leading our Participation in Rural Events among Young Adults with Disabilities research project. The study aims to understand how young adults with disabilities in rural communities participate in community events, and how their community participation can enrich their lives and contribute to their communities in meaningful ways.

Rayna Sage at a rodeo with mountains in the background

RTC:Rural Research Associate Rayna Sage, Ph.D., at the Pioneer Days Rodeo in Ronan, MT where she was conducting in-the-moment interviews for this project

The accessibility of rural community events is directly tied to participation, and community participation can be tied to the accumulation of social capital. “Social capital is a tradeable resource that exists in a relationship. If you have social capital you can use it to gain other kinds of capital,” said Sage. “It provides opportunities to interact with other people who may have access to resources that you don’t have access to.”

These other kinds of capital could include things like favors, experiences, or a job. Another way to think of it could be as “cashing in” on a friendship or social connection in order to secure some sort of benefit, such as a job at a family friend’s store, or access to a behind-the-scenes space at a public event for someone who needs a place to sit in the shade and rest.

Having social capital could be especially important in rural communities, and could help overcome some of the limitations faced by young adults with disabilities as they transition into adulthood. “It’s a vulnerable period for most people, the transition after high school into whatever they’re going into, but for young adults with disabilities it’s even more critical for them to engage in meaningful activities that are going to enhance their lives,” said Sage.

Sage’s previous work has pointed to how the inequality gap between poor/working class and middle/upper class young adults grows during the period of transition into adulthood, even if they go to college. Now, in this new study, she hopes to see if the social capital in rural communities can help young adults with disabilities compensate for some of the other inequalities and challenges they may be facing. Continue reading

National Housing Workshop: Housing a priority issue for people with disabilities and older adults

RTC:Rural collaborator Bryce Ward, Ph.D, presenting at the NAS 2016 housing conference

RTC:Rural collaborator Bryce Ward, Ph.D., presenting at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine December 12, 2016 housing workshop.

RTC staff brought back some important takeaways from the recent national accessible housing workshop in Washington, DC.

RTC:Rural Director Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D. and project collaborator Bryce Ward, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, recently returned from participating in this event that continued the dialog about the importance of housing for the health and quality of life of people who are aging and people with disabilities.

On December 12th, 2016 Drs. Ravesloot and Ward attended the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) workshop, “Affordable and Accessible Housing for Vulnerable Older Adults and People with Disabilities Living in the Community: A Workshop.”  Dr. Ward presented on a panel entitled “Design Features of Accessible Housing for Older Adults and People with Disabilities” while Dr. Ravesloot was on the planning committee for the event and moderated one of the panels.

RTC:Rural Director Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D., shared the following important takeaways upon his return:

1. Housing is a platform for the health of people with disabilities and older adults.

Continue reading

RTC:Rural participating in national accessible housing workshop

On December 12, 2016, RTC:Rural Director Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D. and project collaborator Bryce Ward, Ph.D. Associate Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, will participate in a workshop on accessible housing hosted by National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS). The day-long workshop is entitled “Housing for Vulnerable Older Adults and People with Disabilities.”

Housing influences community participation, independent living, and overall health and wellbeing, especially for vulnerable populations. In the United States, the demand for accessible and affordable housing for people with disabilities and older adults greatly exceeds the supply. This imbalance will continue to grow over the coming years as the population shifts to include a greater number of older adults and people living with disabilities.

Dr. Ravesloot was approached by the NAS to be on the planning committee to represent the perspective of research in rural communities. “I am pleased that the organizers want to highlight rural, and especially that accessibility, not just affordability, is a main focus,” he said. In addition to providing planning assistance and nominating Dr. Ward to present, Dr. Ravesloot is also moderating one of the panels. Continue reading

The State of the Science on Housing Accessibility and Community Engagement

Thank you to all who attended our State of the Science webinar symposium on housing and community engagement. Craig Ravesloot, Lillie Greiman, and Andrew Myers from the RTC:Rural and Bryce Ward from the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research shared the latest findings from three different datasets. An analysis of the American Housing Survey reveals that many people with mobility impairments live in homes that lack basic access features. photo of bathroom with grab bar in shower and next to toiletFor example, 57% of households in which someone uses mobility equipment (e.g., cane, crutch, wheelchair, scooter) have steps at their entrance and 62% lack grab bars in their bathrooms. Results from the American Time Use Survey indicate that people with mobility impairments are less likely to bathe and less likely to leave home than people without mobility impairment. As such, people with mobility impairments spend more time resting and less time engaged in activities which typically require more exertion. Data from our Health and Home Survey, which was developed with input from a team of Center for Independent Living
(CIL) advisors, suggests that bathing exertion is related to community bathroom2engagement. For example, bathing was rated as one of the most exertion-demanding activities throughout the home, and people who reported more exertion while bathing were less likely to engage in social and recreational activities. Looking to the future, we hope to explore how reducing exertion in the home may increase opportunities and choices for community engagement.

View the video archive of the symposium

View the Slide Presentation

Explore more of the community participation research

Read more about our other State of the Science Colloquia