Disability Representation Task Force
The purpose of the Disability Representation Task Force is to recognize and explore how the lived experience of scientists and clinicians with a disability can inform rehabilitative practice and provide valuable insights for research and theory in the profession. This task force provides opportunities for members to develop presentations and publish in peer-reviewed journals. These projects can be targeted toward people with disabilities, caregivers, clinicians, policymakers, and researchers.
For further information about joining or working on the task force, please contact co-chair, Sonya Kim.
Sonya Kim, PhD, CRC, BCB
Research Scientist and Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology & Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
New York University School of Medicine
Carmen Capo-Lugo, PT, PhD
Department of Physical Therapy
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Current members are receiving well-deserved recognition for their work on disability and inclusion.
Erin Andrews, PsyD, ABPP is the 2020 recipient of the Beatrice Wright and Tamara Dembo Lecture in Psychosocial Aspects of Rehabilitation by the Division of Rehabilitation Psychology. Speakers are selected for their outstanding contributions to the field of rehabilitation and disability. Her lecture discusses how rehabilitation psychology has focused mostly on the individual concept of adjustment to disability and less on disability identity, a collective concept. Dr. Andrews addresses the larger, systemic factors—things like ableism—that affect the lives of people with disabilities as much if not more than individual responses, and examines what it really takes to be an ally to the disability community, with the realization that advocacy is a crucial competency for rehabilitation psychologists.
JR Rizzo, MD just received a grant from the US Department of Transportation to enhance the urban landscape for disabled pedestrians, specifically those with visual impairment. Visual impairment engenders mobility losses, falls, debility, illness, premature mortality, high unemployment rates, depression, and anxiety. Dr. Rizzo recognizes that inclusion is enhanced by both environmental and interpersonal factors; to this end, his project will increase the safety profile and ease-of-use of the VIS 4 ION platform toward “connected” dynamic navigation in complex urban environments, providing a new level of security to the end user and permitting the breakdown of significant barriers to employment and social interaction.
Sonya Kim, PhD, CRC was awarded the NIDILRR under the Switzer Research Fellowship for 2019–2020. Her study, “Measuring Posttraumatic Growth in Caregiving Family of Acquired Brain Injury Survivors: A New Scale,” adapts her posttraumatic growth scale initially developed for caregiving partners of patients with MS for use by family caregivers of individuals with acquired brain injury (ABI). Dr. Kim has found that caregiver emotional functioning and family functioning have a significant impact on social participation after post-acute rehabilitation for persons with ABI: caregivers and family members play an essential, all-encompassing role. Notably, the caregivers’ ability to respond positively to their new dual role of being both a family member and caregiver has been associated with improved social participation for the patient and with improved quality of life in both the patient and the caregiver.
Celia H. Schulz, OT, PhD, OTR (Not Pictured)
Dr. Schulz is working on a study called “Symbiosis by Persons with Disabilities: Perspectives from Participant Observations,” a secondary analysis of a qualitative study she previously completed examining collaboration by persons with disabilities. Collaboration in tasks is one way that people with disabilities can achieve independence in their daily lives; as such, Dr. Schulz’s research actively supports the notion of inclusion.