While technologies, interventions, and adaptations for disabilities are being developed at an increasingly rapid rate, the use of complex technological solutions by specific user groups is still a challenge for universal design. For example, 'smart homes' that recognize user activities for assessment and assistance have not seen widespread use, primarily because the user requirements for this type of technology are very diverse, and a single universal design may not address all requirements. The oxymoron of developing a universal design for person-centered approaches raises questions addressing the balance between personalizing to an individual (through adaptation) and generalizing to society. Sample project areas include:
Enhancement of Individuals' Functional Skill Use, Community Participation, and Inclusion
Individuals with developmental disabilities, especially children with autism spectrum disorders, often experience challenges in communication, socialization, and getting around. A component of this project will focus on developing and testing the effects of adaptation-based assessment and intervention processes at an individual level. Technology must be designed to provide enhanced degrees of independence, autonomy over life and life actions, better access to employment and other meaningful aspects of life in the community. This is the key to community participation and inclusion.
Closing the Equity Gap in Science Education: From Policy to Practice
With an increasing percentage of people with disabilities seeking university-level education nationally, it is important to ensure that students with disabilities are engaged and empowered in academic environments. Responsive educational systems are grounded in the belief that a diverse group of students (by culture, language or disability) can excel in academia, and promote equity, access, participation and outcomes for all students.
Person-Centered Technologies and Practices for Mediating Structure for Assessment and Instruction
The design of next-generation assistive and rehabilitative technologies for assessment and learning (both in education and healthcare contexts) needs to address the needs of individuals with disabilities within specific environmental contexts.