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CENTER ON EFFECTIVE REHABILITATION TECHNOLOGY (CERT). Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. Project Partners. The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University and the Institute for Matching Person and Technology (IMPT) In collaboration with the

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center on effective rehabilitation technology cert


Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University

project partners
Project Partners
  • The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University and the Institute for Matching Person and Technology (IMPT)
  • In collaboration with the
    • Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR)
    • Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA)
    • National Council for Independent Living (NCIL)
    • Rehabilitation Technology Associates, Inc.
definition of rehabilitation technology
Definition of Rehabilitation Technology
  • Systematic application of technologies, engineering methodologies, or scientific principles
  • to meet the needs of, and address barriers confronted by, individuals with disabilities
  • in areas including education, rehabilitation, employment, transportation, independent living, and recreation.
  • The term includes rehabilitation engineering, assistive technology devices, and assistive technology services

(29 U.S.C. §705(30), 2000)

goal one
Goal One
  • Conduct research to identify, document, and analyze models of effective rehabilitation technology service delivery to assist individuals with disabilities achieve employment outcomes
    • Development of Quality Indicators
    • Selection of State VR agencies and RT Support Units (6), State AT Programs and CILs (3), Employers based programs (3) for in-depth study
    • 12 case studies (Qualitative + Quantitative)
    • Cost-Benefits of RT Service Delivery
goal two
Goal Two
  • Identify, test, and develop strategies to support the VR counselor to make informed and effective decisions in concert with individual with disabilities to select the most appropriate RT
    • Develop new prototype measure for effective RT assessment and decision-making
    • Interactive Training Program to build skills to use new tool and measures
    • Validate tool and training program
goal three
Goal Three
  • Translate research findings to policy development and practice through a comprehensive menu of knowledge dissemination activities that accelerates and supports change at an individual and systems level
    • Model policy and procedures
    • Quality indicators self-assessment checklist
    • Center website
    • RT Accommodations Database
lead staff
Lead Staff
  • Peter Blanck (J.D., Ph.D.) – Principal Investigator
    • Expert on Employer Practices
    • Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods
  • Marcia Scherer (Ph.D., M.S.) – Co-PI
    • Expert on AT Assessment and Use
    • Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods
  • Michael Morris (J.D.) – Co-PI
    • Expert on AT Financing and Policy Development at a Systems Level
    • Knowledge Translation Activities
  • Deepti Samant, M.S. (Rehab), M.S. (ECE) – Project Director
    • Expert on Employer Practices, Accommodations, Accessible Technology
    • Grant Leader / Project Director
core staff
Core Staff
  • Meera Adya, J.D., Ph.D. – BBI
  • Steven Mendelsohn, J.D. – BBI
  • Lacy Pittman, Policy Analyst - NCIL
  • Anjali Weber, M.S. (Biomedicial Engineer) – RESNA
  • Jurgen Babirad, M.S. (Rehab) – ReTech
  • Margaret Glenn, Ph.D. (Counseling) – CSAVR
  • Kathy West-Evans, MPA – CSAVR
blue ribbon advisory panel
Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel
  • Brian McLane, Burton Blatt Institute (CHAIR)
  • Nell Bailey, RESNA
  • Kelly Buckland, NCIL
  • Beth Butler, Wachovia, a division of Wells Fargo
  • Berthy De La Rosa-Aponte, Former Chair, Ticket to Work Advisory Panel
  • Tom Foley, World Institute on Disability
  • Dennis Gilbride, Rehabilitation Counseling and Human Services, Syracuse University
  • Glenn Hedman, AT Unit, Dept. of Disability & Human Development, UIC
  • Robert Kilbury, Illinois VR Agency Director
blue ribbon advisory panel1
Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel
  • 10. Tammy Koger, North Carolina AT Program
  • 11. John Lancaster, Individual capacity
  • 12. Karen Milchus, RERC on Workplace Accommodations, GA Tech
  • 13. Kevin Nickerson, Disability Program Navigator / CWIC, Tompkins Workforce, New York
  • 14. Jeff Rosen, Agilent Technologies
  • 15. Deb Russell, Walgreens Corporation
  • 16. Carl Suter, CSAVR
goal i
Goal I


(VR-Based, Employer-Based, and Consumer-Identified Alternative Models)

overview of goal 1 activities

Survey VR RT Support Units

Survey SILCs & ILCs

Survey State AT Act Programs

Survey Blue Ribbon Panel

Surveys will identify current practices, identify strong VR-based programs, identify alternative programs to VR or Employers, identify quality indicators of success from which benchmarks will be constructed to evaluate programs selected for case studies.

Use information gathered from surveys above & RSA-911 data to identify 6 VR-based programs for case studies. Consult with NIDRR on selection of sample.

Use information gathered from surveys above and contacts through project partners to select 3 employer organizations for case studies. Adapt DOL & WorkRERC surveys as needed.

Use information gathered from surveys above to select 3 consumer-identified, alternative models to VR & Employer-based programs.

Overview of Goal 1 Activities
research project i
Research Project I

AT/ RT Service Delivery: The Vocational Rehabilitation System and Non-Employer Based Alternative Models

proposed activities
Proposed Activities
  • Activity A - Survey of all State VR RT Support Units
    • Obtain baseline of services, systems, policies, practices, and outcomes
  • Activity B - Blue Ribbon Panel review & evaluation
    • Develop a comprehensive list of possible quality indicators
  • Activity C - Survey of ILCs and State AT programs
    • Identification of effective VR managed and non-VR models of service delivery
activities continued
Activities Continued
  • Activity D - Analysis of existing datasets e.g. RSA-911
    • Identify which VR managed programs demonstrate success in providing AT/RT for successful employment, findings combined with surveys results from VR RT Units, State AT Programs, ILCs
    • Blue Ribbon Panel will assist in developing selection criteria and short-listing programs for in-depth studies
    • Selection will be sent to NIDRR, which will approve final sample
activities continued1
Activities Continued
  • Activity E – Case Studies on Selected VR & Alternative Programs
    • In-depth structured case study methods (interviews, surveys, focus groups, analysis of case records and other data) to understand and evaluate the selected model programs
    • 6 VR-Based Programs – 4 “mainstream,” 2 programs for People with Visual Disability
    • 3 alternative programs identified through SILC and ILC surveys
    • Sample will include: Current and Past VR Clients, VR Counselors (VRCs), AT/RT practitioners, and Employers working with VR
research project ii
Research Project II

AT/RT Provision and Support in the Workplace: Employer Models and Their Effectiveness

proposed activities1
Proposed Activities
  • Corporate Culture & Disability Employment Through Effective Accommodations
    • Based on BBI’s ongoing research on the employment of persons with disabilities, corporate leadership in disability employment, and workplace accommodations
    • Case Studies of 3 Employer-Based Programs
      • Focus groups and in-depth interviews with employees with disabilities, managers and supervisors;
      • a company-wide employee survey;
      • collection and analysis of written policies relating to disability and diversity (archival analysis); and
      • collection and analysis of available administrative data on disability accommodations and initiatives
proposed activities2
Proposed Activities
  • Workplace Accommodations: Cost-Benefits & Effectiveness Over the Long-term
    • Development of an evidence-based framework for understanding the cost-benefit analysis of the value of workplace accommodations, including on AT/RT access and use.
    • Workplace Accommodations: Cost-Benefits & Effectiveness Over the Long-term
    • Three waves of surveys, over 5 years with the same sample being tracked longitudinally
goal ii
Goal II



proposed activities3
Proposed Activities
  • Develop a new prototype measure specific to devices used to enhance job skills and employment
  • Develop prototype computerized scoring, interpretations for new measure
  • Develop a pre- and in-service prototype interactive training program
proposed activities4
Proposed Activities
  • Test the new measure, scoring and interpretations, interactive training program
  • Validate the effectiveness of the new measure, scoring and interpretations, interactive training program and assess impact
proposed activities5
Proposed Activities
  • National experts will rate the importance of 75 items generated by research staff for new measure
  • Measuring usability of products by end-users
    • Two-group, true experimental design with 40 VRCs
  • Information gathered from AT/RT consumers
dissemination activities
Dissemination Activities
  • Center Website
  • E-Newsletter
  • Conference Presentations
  • Distance Learning
  • Leadership Series
  • Communities of Practice
  • Policy and Program Briefs
  • Publications
  • DBTACs and TACE
  • Policy Roundtable
materials development
Materials Development
  • Quality
    • Usability
    • Sensitivity
    • Accuracy
  • Accessibility
    • Alternative formats
  • Customer Satisfaction
    • Relevance
    • Impact
project outputs research
Project Outputs (Research)
  • Development of a model policies and procedures template for “effective service delivery”.
  • Development of a quality indicators self-assessment check list for VR and non-VR managed programs.
  • In-depth case studies of VR (6) and non-VR AT (3) service delivery programs.
  • In-depth case studies of 3 employer-based AT service delivery programs.
  • A report that compares & contrasts quality indicators from 12 selected programs of AT delivery service.
project outputs research1
Project Outputs (Research)
  • Development of a new RT assessment tool and measures designed to create a better match for consumers and technology solutions to advance employment outcomes.
  • Development of a new data collection instrument to help improve measurement of AT cost-benefits.
  • A longitudinal cost-benefits analysis of AT service delivery.
  • Establishment of an RT accommodations database.
project outputs knowledge translation
Project Outputs (Knowledge Translation)
  • Development of the website to serve as a dissemination hub.
  • Initiation of on-site & distance learning opportunities with CSAVR, NCIL & RESNA to reach all audiences.
  • Research articles, informational briefs, journal, newsletters, & mainstream media articles.
  • Establishment of communities of practice & an e-newsletter to reach all audiences.
  • Initiation of a policy roundtable in Washington, DC.
project outcomes
Project Outcomes
  • New knowledge among target audiences of the systematic supports needed for effective RT service delivery.
  • Changes at state and local levels through replications of effective polices and practices.
  • Use of new methods to collect and analyze data on the impact of RT on employment outcomes.
  • Improved sustainable collaborations among key stakeholders: VR professionals, AT practitioners, employers and persons with disabilities.
  • Improved informed decision-making between the VR counselor and the individual with a disability to better match AT with individuals needs and preferences.
  • CERT is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), for the “Center on Effective Delivery of Rehabilitation Technology by Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies,” Grant No. H133A090004.
for further information
For further Information:
  • Please contact:

Deepti Samant

CERT Project Director

Senior Research Associate

Burton Blatt Institute

Phone: 202-296-5393