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National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)

What‘s New in NIDILRR


Per the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), now the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), has been transferred to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For more information on ACL, please visit More information on NIDILRR’s new Web site will be posted soon. In the meantime, you may continue to find information regarding NIDILRR on

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NIDILRR Director Issues Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Dear Colleague Letter.

Please read NIDILRR Director Tschida Dear Colleague Letter (PDF, 408KB) on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and its impact upon NIDILRR.


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President Obama Signs the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

The signing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act creates a blueprint for job growth and makes key improvements to the nation‘s workforce development system. For the unemployed, the new law offers hope; for the young, it offers encouragement; and for people with disabilities, it brings opportunity. This law helps workers attain the foundation skills necessary for 21st century jobs and fosters a modern workforce that can compete in a global economy. It emphasizes the creation of career pathway programs, improved training, and streamlined service delivery to individuals especially for underserved youth and adults.


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John Tschida is New NIDILRR Director, Effective March 3, 2014.

John Tschida comes to NIDILRR from the Courage Center, which recently merged with Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute to form the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute (CKRI) in Minneapolis, Minn., where he served as vice president for public affairs and research. As a person with a spinal cord injury, he has personal as well as professional experience in issues of disability and access, and his work was deeply rooted in raising public awareness and aligning state law to support people living as independently as possible. Tschida also has served on a number of public and private boards designing policy or governance solutions to further the independence of people with disabilities, and worked closely with the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities. He has written numerous articles on disability, healthcare and public policy for national and local news outlets and magazines.

Mr. Tschida returns to the D.C. area, where he was a Health Policy Research Fellow under the auspices of the National Rehabilitation Hospital‘s (NRH) Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability and Managed Care funded by NIDILRR (1997-2001). Tschida‘s fellowship included acquiring his Master in Public Policy (MPP) degree in health policy at Georgetown University Graduate Program in Public Policy and doing his practicum at the NRH Research Center.

Mr. Tschida follows K. Charlie Lakin, Ph.D., as director of NIDILRR. Dr. Lakin served as director from 2011 to February 2014.


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ED Announces New App to Identify U.S. Currency

The U.S. Department of Education announced the launch of the IDEAL Currency Identifier , a free downloadable application (app) to assist individuals who are blind or visually impaired to denominate U.S. currency on some mobile devices. The IDEAL Currency Identifier was developed by IDEAL Group, IQ Engines, and the Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology through a grant from the Department of Education‘s National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), a component of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

(October 9, 2012)

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Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children.

The National Council on Disability (NCD) just released a ground-breaking report, Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children. This report provides a comprehensive review of the barriers and facilitators people with diverse disabilities”including intellectual and developmental, psychiatric, sensory, and physical disabilities”experience when exercising their fundamental right to create and maintain families, as well as persistent, systemic, and pervasive discrimination against parents with disabilities. Through the Looking Glass, NIDILRR-funded grantee, provided insight and guidance and wrote key sections of the report.

(September 27, 2012)

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Participate in this Free Informational Webinar about NIDILRR‘New Proposed NIDILRR Long-Range Plan for Fiscal Years 2013-2017

  • K. Charlie Lakin, Director
  • Ruth Brannon, Director, Office of Research Sciences


  • Provide a brief overview of the Plan
  • Offer information about the comment solicitation process
  • Engage in an extended question/answer session with participants

To Participate:


If you prefer to dial in by phone, use the following phone number and access code for either webinar:

Phone Number: 1-714-551-0010
Toll Free: 1-877-739-5903
Access Code: 276-205-445

Questions: Please email: Ashley Jacoby

Read the Plan:


  • You may submit comments through June 18, 2012.

(May 10, 2012)

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NAS Evaluates NIDILRR Grant Processes and Products

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) evaluates the grant processes and products of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). Various formative and summative evaluation approaches have been used to assess the quality of the performance and results of the agency‘research portfolio and its grantees. Prompted by the need to provide more data on its program results, in 2009 NIDILRR requested that the National Research Council (NRC) conduct an external evaluation of some of the agency‘key processes and assess the quality of outputs produced by NIDILRR grantees.

(February 13, 2012)

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NIDILRR Welcomes New Director, Dr. Charlie Lakin

Charlie Larkin will help lead NIDILRR in its work to generate new knowledge to maximize the full inclusion, social integration, employment, and independent living of individuals of all ages with disabilities, through research in employment; participation and community living; health and function; and technology. As the NIDILRR Director, Larkin will also chair the Interagency Committee on Disability Research.

(February 13, 2012)

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Department Awards $1.2 million to 11 Small Businesses to Develop Technology for People with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) has awarded 16 grants of $75,000 each to 11 small businesses to conduct research and develop technology that makes life and learning easier for individuals with disabilities.

For instance, one grantee will develop a low-cost computer graphics screen-reader for the vision-impaired; another will develop and evaluate an accident prevention system for manual wheelchairs; and another will design and develop a foot-operated mouse for computers.

These projects are designed to help people with disabilities maximize their job productivity and economic self-sufficiency, said Alexa Posny, assistant secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). This is the first step of research and development in several areas that will enhance independent living and employment for individuals with disabilities.

For more information, please go to the department‘ press release.

(August 8, 2011)

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Last Modified: 7/30/2015