Workplace Accommodations R&D Digest - May/June 2010

Volume 7, Number 3

An update from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Workplace Accommodations (Work RERC) on our research, project activities, and resources of interest. More information about the Work RERC can be found at http://www.workrerc.gatech.edu/


In this issue, we are highlighting some online resources both from the Work RERC and other groups that address workplace accommodations in terms of technology or policy.


Social Media, Policy Networks and Accessible Workplace Technologies

Researchers from the Work RERC’s project on policy initiatives are undertaking research into how collaborative networks and social media can inform policy research and development in the areas of disability and technology. Such networks can be enhanced by using online tools such as social networking, wikis, and other Web 2.0 technologies to bring together stakeholders invested in improving access to workplace accommodations, and developing more inclusive workplaces.

Toward these ends, the Work RERC is exploring the function of social media and online networking to enhance to knowledge flow and research findings of NIDRR-sponsored projects, as well as other interested researchers that engage disability policy issues particularly related to accessible technologies. Such networks would allow researchers examining diverse issues, including workplace accommodations, telerehabilitation, and alternative and augmentative communications, to discuss the common policy issues they face in their research. It would also allow them the opportunity to get different perspectives on more unique problems.

As part of this project, Dr. Paul M.A. Baker, has established the Accessible Technology Policy Group (ATPG) on the social networking website LinkedIn. This group currently has over 150 members from various backgrounds, who are contributing to lively discussions on assistive technology and policy that impacts the development and adoption of these technologies. For more information on the ATPG, please contact Dr. Paul M.A. Baker at paul.baker@cacp.gatech.edu or Dr. Nathan Moon at nathan.moon@cacp.gatech.edu.


Share Your Accommodation Stories

The Work RERC is in the process of expanding its database of accommodation case studies that focus on the technology involved. This "Accommodation Examples" resource can be used to search for accommodation ideas for employees with different types of functional limitations and working in different types of jobs. The database was accessed over 27,000 times last year. The Work RERC would like to expand this resource, but needs your help. If you have an interesting story to share, please contact us at workrerc@coa.gatech.edu. Visit the Accommodation Examples database at http://www.workrerc.gatech.edu/accommodations.php

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You Can Now Be Connected To CATEA Online

CATEA has joined Facebook and Twitter. We want all our followers to be able to stay connected with us anytime. Our Facebook page currently notifies others of CATEA's participation, events, latest technologies and research opportunities. Facebook has become a great resource for many -- currently Facebook has 400 million active users and more than 25 billion pieces of content are being shared each month. These pieces of content include: web links, news articles, blog posts etc. We hope that you will fan our CATEA page and be able to keep up with the latest at CATEA! Fan us at http://www.facebook.com/pages/CATEA/138408802375

In addition to joining Facebook, CATEA has also started a Twitter. We hope that by using Twitter and Facebook that we can reach a multitude of people who are interested in Assistive Technology and Disability Research. We will be tweeting about CATEA events, research opportunities, assistive technology, etc. Follow us on twitter @CATEA_GT

screen shot of CATEA's Facebook page

Employees with a Disability - Have You Filled Out Our Survey?

It is not too late to respond to our survey on workplace accommodations that we described in our last newsletter. Our researchers are investigating what types of accommodations employees use in different types of work environments and how well they work.

The survey is online and on average, takes about 25 minutes to complete, though it might take longer depending on the number of accommodations you use. You will have the option of saving your responses and continuing at a later time. If you have difficulty using the computer, you may also schedule an appointment with us to complete the survey over the phone. Please contact Maureen Linden at 404-894-0561 if you would like to answer these questions by phone.

Visit the link below to find more information and continue on to take the survey if you desire. http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/200473/workplace-features-that-aid-function


Training

Are you interested in finding out more about workplace and other accommodations? CATEA will be offering several professional education courses this Summer/Fall, including two which will be conducted online as a series of webcasts:

The courses are offered on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta. Visit http://www.catea.gatech.edu/courses.php for further information and to register for courses.


Upcoming Presentations

Work RERC researchers will be presenting the following posters / papers at the RESNA conference in Las Vegas, NV in late June. All of the sessions are on Monday, June 28, 2010.

In addition, visit us in the exhibit hall (Booth #307&309)!


New Disability and Employment Resources

ADA: Know Your Rights -- Returning Service Members with Disabilities

The Department of Justice has a new publication that provides service members who have been seriously wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom with a basic understanding of their rights under the ADA and where to turn for additional information and assistance. Visit http://www.ada.gov/servicemembers_adainfo.html.

Disabilities at Work Radio Show

Disabilities at Work Radio, a program on the VoiceAmerica Business Channel, premiered in April and will be broadcast every Wednesday at noon (EST). The program "spotlights businesses that go ‘beyond compliance’ in finding and hiring qualified people with disabilities, or who support people with disabilities through philanthropy or in other ways." The show features corporate VIPs, service providers, educators, employees with disabilities who have interesting stories, researchers, and government officials. Find out more at http://www.disabilitiesatwork.org/PDFs/DAW-Internet-Radio-Show.pdf.

Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor

The U.S. Department of Labor has launched a new tool to help employers understand their responsibilities under federal disability nondiscrimination laws. The site asks employers questions about the nature and size of their business, and whether the business receives federal funds. Based on the responses, it tells employers which laws likely apply to their business and what their responsibilities are under each law. Employees can also learn more about their rights and responsibilities.

The laws addressed by the Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor include:

It does not address Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, which covers employees of the federal government. To access the site, visit http://www.dol.gov/elaws/odep.htm.

Understanding Brain Injury: Guide for Employers

The Mayo Clinic has developed a guide for employers with information on brain injuries. It is available in English and in Spanish. Visit http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/mayo/research/tbims/guide-for-employers.cfm.


Featured Accommodations - Online Reminder Systems

Are you working with someone who sometimes needs a reminder for appointments, to take medication, or for work tasks that need to be done? Several free or low-cost online options including Memotome.com and Task.fm. may provide a solution. They are not new resources, but the expansion of mobile technologies has made their use more practical. Both systems are programmed online, but can send out reminders via a variety of formats. In each case, the basic system is free; the Pro or Platinum versions cost a few dollars each month.

Memotome.com can send out reminders via email or text messaging. Events can be one-time or recurring. Users can enter their own reminders, or another person (e.g., job coach) can enter reminders for someone else. It is also possible to assign different reminder formats and phone numbers for each reminder (e.g., one phone number for home; one for work).

Task.fm is a similar system, but can also send out audio reminders over the phone, which can be useful for individuals who have trouble reading. This system can accept a natural language style of reminder entry, which might make it less threatening to people who are uncomfortable with computers. In addition, one of the features of the Pro version is the ability to add reminders over the phone via speech recognition. Thus, an individual can use this system without having regular access to a computer.


Other Upcoming Events


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