Your source for current news and announcements about the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (I.D.E.A) in Buffalo, NY.
Jordana Maisel Editor
Heamchand Subryan Technical Assistant
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IDEA Staff Participate at International Conference on
Aging, Disability and Independence Conference
The third International Conference on Aging,
Disability and Independence (ICADI) was held at the St. Petersburg Florida Hilton, Feb 1-5, 2006.
The conference brought together researchers, practitioners, consumers and policy makers to discuss
a wide range of issues related to maintaining aging individuals’ independence. Topics included
assistive technology, housing, home modifications and universal design, injury prevention,
robotics, smart homes, telehealth and transportation. The IDEA Center was a Conference Partner
and many staff members participated in the proceedings.
Edward Steinfeld, Director of the IDEA Center and Co-Director of the RERC on Universal Design and
the Built Environment (RERC-UD), was the program chair and organized the Housing, Home Modifications
and Universal Design track of the conference. About 50 presentations were included in this track
which had a truly international flavor. Edward Steinfeld also gave the keynote address at the
Universal Design Workshop. As part of the conference he also organized an International Symposium
on Home Modifications Policy and Practice with contributions describing the state of the art in
the U.S., UK, Sweden, Australia and Germany. In Sweden, for example, anyone who needs modifications
to accommodate disability can receive them with no cap on the cost. Decisions on eligibility for
services are based on need. In Germany, payroll deductions, separate from health insurance, are
allocated to long term care insurance. Part of this money is used for financing home modification
The IDEA Center had additional representation at the conference with a presentation on
developing universally designed (UD) model homes. Danise Levine, Assistant Director
of the IDEA Center, and Richard Duncan, an associate at the USC National Resource Center
on Supportive Housing and Home Modification and a Senior Project Manager at the Center for
Universal Design, presented “Building Universal Design Demonstration Homes In Your Community”.
The discussion was based on the notion that UD homes in local home shows have proven to be an
effective method for educating the public on the advantages of incorporating UD features.
It provided examples of existing demonstration homes, strategies for getting demonstration
homes built in other communities, as well as insight into some obstacles designers, architects
and advocates currently face in trying to incorporate Universal Design.
In a Program Models and Model Programs Session, Jordana Maisel, Director of Outreach and
Policy Studies at the IDEA Center, presented “Proactive Strategies for Housing America’s
Aging Population: A Look at Visitability”. This presentation explored the growing need
for accessible housing in the United States and the recent emergence of visitability as
an affordable and sustainable design strategy aimed at increasing the number of
accessible single family homes and neighborhoods.
Dr. Alex Mihailidis, Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational
Therapy at the University of Toronto and a Project Lead in the new RERC-UD, presented
"An Automated Tool for Detecting and Preventing Unsafe Stair Use by Older Adults".
This presentation demonstrated work completed on an automated intelligent tool that
can monitor a person during stair use and determine if unsafe events have occurred.
To obtain a copy of the conference program please Click here
To obtain a copy of the conference proceedings please Click here
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Partners from the Ontario Rehabilitation Technology Consortium (ORTC) Present Research
Findings on Reducing the Difficulties Associated with the Use of Winter Coats for Older Adults
Postdoctoral research fellow, Brandi Row, uses electromyography
(muscle activity recordings) with a research subject to assess whether the novel design features embedded
in the winter coat prototype serve to reduce the physical challenge of donning and fastening a coat.
Photo courtesy of Jim Atkinson/MediMedia Group
Many older individuals report having difficulties dealing with winter clothing because
it is typically too heavy and requires too much flexibility, dexterity, strength and time to put on.
These difficulties are problematic enough for some that they sometimes cause them to decide not to go
out of the house in the winter when they otherwise would have.
Researchers from 1 Health Care, Technology and Place,
University of Toronto, 2
Centre for Studies in Aging, Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre,
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and 4
University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario,
Canada have undertaken an interview and survey research project with older adults,
gerontology researchers and clinicians, and passersby in two area hospital lobbies
in order to inform a design project to develop a prototype of a winter coat aimed at
reducing cold exposure, increasing safety, and reducing the physical challenge of
using the coat. The objectives of the interview and surveys with the research participants
were to further understand the apparent difficulties older adults have concerning the
use of winter coats, and to explore the perceived usefulness and attractiveness of novel
winter coat design features detailed in concept sketches. This process informed the design
and fabrication of a prototype winter coat.
The researchers—Brandi S. Row1,2,3, Sonja E. Wenk3,
Monique A.M. Gignac1,4, Geoff R.
Fernie1,2,3—have evaluated the prototype in a subset of three older adult subjects by
assessing muscle activity and perceived ease of use while donning the coat in order to
determine whether the coat reduces the physical challenge of donning it for individuals
with differing functional impairments – particularly while putting on the sleeves, and
while fastening. The subjects’ own winter coat was used as a reference condition.
The results suggest that certain design features – while not perceived to
be desireable or useful for all subjects interviewed – do reduce the demands
on the associated musculature for older adults while donning or fastening the
prototype, compared to condition where the the subjects used their own winter coat.
However, use of the design features did not reduce the perceived exertion of donning
the prototype. The novel design features of the prototype winter coat have
demonstrated the potential to reduce some of the physical challenges older
adults experience when donning a coat. Nonetheless, some issues regarding the
design features’ perceived usefulness remain to be solved before such an approach
could impact the lives of older adults.
The researchers have presented this research at:
- the Falls and Mobility Network annual meeting, November 2005.
- the Design for the Cold Research and Design Exhibition and poster competition,
Design Exchange and Health Care, Technology, and Place, Toronto, ON, November 2005.
- the Aging and Veteran’s Care Showcase, Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre, October 2005.
- the Toronto Rehabilitation Research Day, October 2005.
For additional information on this research, please contact Brandi Row
or Geoff Fernie.
Steinfeld Wins Award and First Patent
Moveable Panel | Moveable Fixtures
Edward Steinfeld received an award from the State University
of New York (SUNY) Research Foundation for receiving his first patent for the Universal Bathroom.
The Universal Bathroom is an innovative suite of bathroom fixtures and accessories that allows the
user or a household to adjust fixture positions to accommodate individual and household needs.
Co-patent holders include Abir Mullick, who is now Chairman of the Design Department at Georgia
Tech, and Drew Kelley, an independent industrial designer. Dr. Steinfeld also received word that
a paper titled “Evacuation of People with Disabilities” was accepted for publication in the
Journal of Security Education.
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Ed Steinfeld Publishes Article for The World Bank
In the fall of 2005, Ed Steinfeld wrote an article for the World Bank titled
"Education for All: The Cost of Accessibility". The article was written in response
to the World Bank’s Education for All (EFA) program, which aims to provide universal
access to primary education throughout the world. To accomplish this ambitious goal,
as many as 10 million classrooms will be built in developing countries by 2015.
The article discusses the needs, costs and guidelines for designing accessible schools
and ensuring that no child is denied access to education because of disability.
To read the complete article please
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Scholarship Opportunity Available:
The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute announces the
TD Bank Financial Group
Scholarship in Rehabilitation-Related Research
for Graduate Students with Disabilities
The goal of Toronto Rehab is to
advance rehabilitation and enhance quality of life by pushing the frontiers of rehabilitation science.
As a fully affiliated teaching and research hospital of the University of Toronto, we advance
rehabilitation knowledge and practice through research. Research is an investment in the future.
Scholarships are also an investment in the future. As researchers, we embrace the concept of
consumer participation; we believe that people with disabilities should be active participants
in planning and conducting research. Thus, with the generous support of TD Bank Financial Group,
Toronto Rehab has established this award to further the active involvement of people with
disabilities in rehabilitation-related research.
The TD Bank Financial Group Scholarship in
Rehabilitation-Related Research for Graduate Students with Disabilities will be awarded to
full-time or part-time student(s) in good standing to support their education and training.
Applicants must have a disability. Candidates must plan to be enrolled in a graduate program
leading to a master’s or doctoral degree at the University of Toronto. Fields of study must
relate to rehabilitation but are not limited to any particular discipline and, for example,
may include but are not limited to rehabilitation sciences, health administration, and
engineering. The scholarship will be for the period from September 2006 to April 2007,
and will be renewable for an additional year depending on satisfactory performance.
The scholarship will be for $20,000; an individual supplement will be provided to help
meet special costs of attending graduate school that are incurred as a result of disability.
The application and additional information will be available at a later date in the
Research section of the Toronto Rehab website at www.torontorehab.com.
In the meantime, please forward your contact information to Research
Administration and you will be informed when the application is available:
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
550 University Avenue, #1202
Toronto ON M5G 2A2 Canada
Tel: 416-597-3422, ext. 3081
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Opportunities to Participate in Universal Design Research
One of the research projects of the new RERC on Universal Design and the Built Environment
involves evaluating the effectiveness of universally designed environmental features and providing
evidence to support universal design guidelines. To identify priority needs for increased
accessibility and usability of environmental features and to therefore determine which built
elements they should study, researchers will launch a website where people of all abilities
can log in and document what kinds of activities they feel are the most problematic.
The Online Survey will be conducted so that willing participants can rate the usability
of typical design features in three different domains. These domains include public
outdoor spaces (i.e. sidewalks and crosswalks), public buildings (i.e. office buildings)
and housing. Those types of features receiving the greatest number of responses will be
identified as high priority needs for universal design and will then become the focus of
the effectiveness study.
Please stay tuned for more information on how
to participate in the Online Survey.
If you have any questions or would like additional information on this
research project please contact: Jordana Maisel
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The IDEA Center Proudly Supports Global Universal Design Educators Online News
Project Co-Leads: Edward Steinfeld, Arch.D and Geoff Fernie, PhD., P.Eng
Beginning with the November/December 2005 issue, the Global Universal Design Educators Monthly Online News
(GUDEON) is now being published with support from the IDEA Center. The quarterly publication is produced
and distributed for the Global Universal Design Educator’s Network by Elaine Ostroff, Editor and Publisher,
and Diane Richard, Researcher and Editorial Assistant. The Network is a loose coalition of people committed
to universal design education. In addition to reaching the Network’s 300 subscribers, a link to the
most recent edition of the GUDEON and its table of contents will now be distributed to the IDEA
Center’s E-Newsletter subscribers. The GUDEON will also be translated into Japanese and reprinted
in the quarterly print Universal Design Magazine.
Table of Contents from November/December 2005 issue
- Editor's Note
- News from the Global Network
- UNITED KINGDOM
- UNITED STATES
- Global Universal Design Educator's Network e-mail list
For the November/December 2005 issue of the Global Universal Design Educators
Monthly Online News please Click here.
For links to other archived issues please Click here
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Members of the RERC-UD Participate in Standard Revisions
Ed Steinfeld, Eleanor Smith, Head of the RERC-UD’s Consumer Advisory Panel and Korydon Smith,
a faculty member in the School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas and a participant
in the RERC’s Universal Design Education Consortium, are members of the Dwelling Unit Task Group
of the ICC/ANSI A117 Standard Committee. They are participating in developing recommendations
for revising the dwelling unit requirements in the ICC/ANSI A117.1 Standard. The ICC/ANSI A117.1
Standard is the consensus standard referenced by building codes in the U.S. as the source of technical
requirements for achieving accessibility. The Task Group is currently deliberating the development of
standards for accessibility of single family housing. These standards could provide guidance from a
reputable and authoritative source on designing new accessible homes and renovating existing homes.
Suggestions and ideas on how to improve current dwelling unit standards and guidelines can be emailed
to the IDEA Center. Watch for information on the deliberations of the Task Group
and the Committee in upcoming issues of the E-Newsletter.
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IDEA Center Collaborates With Team To Complete A Website On Bus Stop Accessibility and Safety
For the past year, the IDEA Center served on a diverse team of experts assigned to develop a comprehensive
toolkit to help transit agencies, municipalities and advocates improve the accessibility of bus stops.
The "Toolkit for the Assessment of Bus Stop Accessibility and Safety" is intended to be a convenient
resource that can be used to enhance the accessibility of specific bus stops, or help in the development
of a strategic plan to achieve system-wide accessibility. Funded by Easter Seals Project ACTION, an
organization committed to promoting cooperation between the transportation industry and the disability
community, Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates created the Toolkit with assistance from the Project
ACTION Advisory Committee and Team. Committee and Team members represented the diverse interests of
transit agencies, people with disabilities, and various local, state and federal agencies.
The Toolkit can be used for multiple purposes:
- Determine minimum ADA requirements
- Enhance bus stop accessibility through universal design
- Inventory bus stops
- Develop a strategic plan for system-wide accessibility
- Advocate for improvements
In addition to providing overall content and feedback on
issues related to accessibility and universal design, the IDEA Center was responsible for creating
an online version of the Toolkit. The completed online Toolkit will be available from the Project
ACTION website shortly. A link to the online Toolkit will also be available from the IDEA Center website.
Please stay tuned for its posting.
For additional information on this project please contact Jordana Maisel
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