Field-Initiated Projects (FIP) Program


Field-Initiated Projects (FIPs) are a program of investigator-initiated research intended to supplement NIDILRRs agency-directed research portfolio. These projects cross all of NIDILRR’s domains, and generate new knowledge through research or development on a smaller scale relative to DRRPs and Center grants. Typical FIP awards are three years in duration.

How to Apply


Select Accomplishments for FY 2015

Problem-Solving Strategies Help Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Set Actionable Career Goals

University of Missouri (Grant #90IF0028).

This project evaluated the efficacy of the Self-Determined Career Development Model (SDCDM) in improving employment outcomes for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The SDCDM is a self-directed process using a three-phase, problem-solving strategy. A facilitator supports a person with a disability to identify and set career goals, develop an action plan, self-monitor and self-evaluate progress toward the goal, and revise the plan as needed. The project provides training, technical assistance, and coaching on the model.

There were 81 employment support providers trained to facilitate career discovery using the SDCDM. In response to a Department of Justice Settlement which ruled that the State of Rhode Island was in violation of the ADA Olmstead requirements by unnecessarily segregating people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the state is implementing the SDCDM to train all middle and high school teachers to promote self-determination.

The training manual and facilitator’s resource guide are published and freely available online at

Research Highlights Impediments to Implementation of Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services for Children with Autism

Towson University (Grant #H133G12003)

Investigators at Towson University studied state policy factors that contribute to, or impede, the implementation of home and community-based service autism waivers, as well as the service needs of children with autism and their families.

They found that waiver status was associated with improvement in family quality of life and increased perceived child improvement in independent living skills. More intensive individual support services and frequent therapeutic integration predicted improved academic performance and independent living skills.

Two peer-reviewed publications were developed from this study:

  • Eskow, K. G., Chasson, G. S., & Summers, J. A. (2015). A cross-sectional cohort study of a large, statewide Medicaid home and community-based services autism waiver program. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(3), 626–635.

  • Merryman, M. B., Miller, N. A., Shockley, E., Eskow, K. G., & Chasson, G. S. (2015). State adoption of Medicaid 1915(c) waivers for children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Disability and Health Journal, 8(3), 443–451.

Online Braille Math Tutorial Opens Learning Opportunities in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Fields for Individuals with Visual Impairment

Research and Development Institute at Northern Illinois University (Grant #H133G110122)

Fluency in reading and writing mathematical symbols is essential for the study of advanced mathematics. A special version of braille, the Nemeth Code, exists in which all of the symbols comprising mathematics are depicted in braille. Unfortunately, many individuals who are responsible for teaching blind students are not sufficiently competent to provide advanced training in the reading and writing of braille math.

To solve this vexing problem, the staffs of the Research and Development Institute at Northern Illinois University collaborated with the American Printing House for the Blind in the development of an online braille math tutorial. The tutorial improves the ability of persons who are blind or visually impaired to read and write the symbols comprising the Nemeth Code, widening their opportunities to fully participate in STEM fields. The tutorial can be found at


Contact Theresa SanAgustin at NIDILRR if you have questions about the FIP Program funding mechanism.

Last modified on 09/09/2019

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