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Research Projects

Analysis of requests that the Southeast ADA Center has received for information, training and technical assistance since 1990 guide development of innovative research and address issues of particular importance to the Southeast Region. With guidance from our Partners and State Affiliates, we implement research that will result in new knowledge and have great potential to impact policy and practice.

Research Focus Areas

  • Barriers to employment and economic self-sufficiency of people with disabilities;
  • Increasing the civic and social participation of people with disabilities in their communities and across America.

ADA Research Projects

ADA Participation Action Research Consortium (ADA PARC)

Although civil rights legislation designed to remove barriers to and promote full and equal participation in communities has led to some improvements, barriers remain. These barriers create participation disparities among people with disabilities, which in turn contribute to feelings of isolation and poorer health. We used participatory action research to understand present-day accessibility of important and understudied community settings, namely, state and local government facilities, programs, and services. Using an innovative approach to examining accessibility, we were able to compare the experiences of researchers with and without disabilities, thereby allowing us to identify disparities between the two groups. We found that some progress in providing access has been achieved but that other barriers persist; access for individuals with vision-related disabilities may be most problematic. Findings indicate that more needs to be done to achieve full accessibility and inclusion.

  • **Note: Full article available with subscription or purchase.
    The March Goes On: Community Access for People with Disabilities

National ADA Systemic Review

As part of the ADA National Network and the National ADA Knowledge Translation Center Project, a research team at the University of Illinois - Chicago is conducting a three-stage review project analyzing the broad scope of research on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This project responds to the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) call to “increase the use of available ADA-related research findings to inform behavior, practices, or policies that improve equal access in society for individuals with disabilities.”

Examining the Civic, Social and Economic Participation of Persons with Disabilities

This research project involves an "ADA Community Compliance Study" and examines the effectiveness and impact of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Project Civic Access in both bringing communities into compliance with DOJ settlement agreements and determining whether such compliance leads to fewer barriers and greater participation of people with disabilities in community life. Cities with and without Settlement Agreements will be surveyed by teams of people with a variety of disabilities to determine whether cities that have Settlement Agreements are more accessible than cities that have not been examined by the Department of Justice.

Public Accommodations: State by State Enforcement and Remedies (2011)

Many states have their own disability rights laws that complement the “public accommodations” provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title III. Some states have different definitions of who is protected or what entities are required to comply, as well as different requirements or prohibitions. Some states provide an agency, either mandatory or voluntary, to assist with investigation and enforcement. States may provide different remedies, such as damages or criminal penalties for violations.

Technology Access Research Projects

Investigating the Accessibility and Usability of Job Application Web Sites for Blind Users (2012)

It is essential that companies ensure that their online employment applications are accessible and usable for all individuals, including individuals with disabilities. Unfortunately, many online employment Web sites are inaccessible to users with disabilities, preventing these individuals from even applying for jobs online. This report details the problems discovered during the usability testing, discusses the most common problems for blind users and general usability, and also provides suggestions for improvement.

Campus Survey, Training, & Handbook on Accessible Information Technology (2007)

Cited as ADA Implementation Notable Practice, Exemplary Education Research

Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) in partnership with the Southeast ADA Center was recognized in the National Council on Disability (NCD) report, Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Challenges, Best Practices, and New Opportunities for Success (2007), for its practices to assess educational technology accessibility, implement faculty training, and upgrade adaptive technology on its two campuses towards its goal to become a model institution at the community college level for information technology access for students with disabilities.

Information Technology Accessibility in Education Projects (2001-2006)

Review development, implementation, outcomes, replication suggestions, common barriers and cross-project findings for thirteen (13) technology access projects (6 K-12; 7 post-secondary) supported by funding from the Education Leadership Initiative - ELI of the Southeast ADA Center (formerly known as Southeast DBTAC) to facilitate the widespread use of universal design and improve access to information technology across educational environments in the U.S. Southeast region.

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