Funding for Measuring Individual and Community Participation Measurement Study

LAWRENCE, KAN. — April 14, 2007 — A team led by David Gray, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received federal funding to adapt and expand two methods to measure the community participation of people with disabilities.

Community participation is important to measure for several reasons” Gray said. “Participating in activities outside the home is an indicator of the integration of individuals with disabilities in their communities. Engaging in activities that are meaningful to the individual shows the progression of rehabilitation or habilitation over time and can be used to study the effectiveness of clinical treatments and environmental modifications on participation by people with disabilities.” 

At the societal level, the Americans with Disabilities Act uses full participation as a standard for judging that people with disabilities are being accorded their civil rights in public places. While U.S. policies promote the inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in their communities, barriers restrict this population from full participation. Some of these barriers include lack of qualified personal assistive services and inaccessible communities.

Their first assessment system is designed to provide information on how an individual views his or her participation in 20 home and community activities. Paraquad, a St. Louis center for independent living, will test the measurement method in its service programs.

The second assessment system is designed to measure the accessibility and receptivity of specific communities.

Because of the “deinstitutionalization” reform that began in the 1960s, people with disabilities have been receiving services in the community rather in large, state-operated facilities. However, many states have not kept up with the demand for community placements In June 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in L.C. & E.W. vs. Olmstead that states must provide community-based services and placement for people with disabilities if appropriate and desired.   
Funded by grants from the National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation Research, this project is being done for the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Measurement and Interdependence in Community Living (RTC/MICL), of which Gray is the research director. The RTC/MICL is a consortium of scientists in the field of disability research from Washington University, the University of Montana, University of Kansas, Cornell University and the Oregon Health Sciences University.

For more information, contact 
David B. Gray, Ph.D.
Washington University School of Medicine
Campus Box 8505
4444 Forest Park
St. Louis, MO 63108
314 286-1658
FAX 314 286-1601

4089 Dole, 1000 Sunnyside Ave.
The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045
785.864.4095 Voice, 785.864.0706 TTY
For immediate release
April 2007