Aging with a disability: views from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

Assist Technol. 1999;11(2):84-7. doi: 10.1080/10400435.1999.10131992.


As I move toward the completion of my term as Director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), I see many examples of renewal in our field. For example, disability studies and rehabilitation science are emerging new areas of academic specialization, and we will all be involved in shaping the future of these endeavors. The field is recapturing its identity and relevance locally and internationally. Also, I see a considerable number of challenges that range from acute care in medical rehabilitation to universal design in engineering to overall technology policy. I see a challenge in moving research to practice, a challenge in funding, a challenge in service delivery locations, and a challenge in defining the role of the professional in order to build capacity for the future. I believe that the research field ignores practice at its own peril, including practice in older fields such as vocational rehabilitation and in newer fields such as cognitive science and access engineering. Practice must be determined by today's needs and those we foresee for tomorrow. For the NIDRR family, the Long-Range Plan provides a beacon to direct us into the new millennium.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation*
  • Government Agencies
  • Humans
  • Research
  • Self-Help Devices*
  • United States