Research

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 Funded by the United States Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

Current Research Activities

Employment Outcomes Research

A lack of employment opportunities continues to prevent large numbers of individuals who are blind or severely visually impaired from becoming self-supporting and from fully participating in society. Nationally representative data from 2014 document that employment rates among individuals aged 16 to 64 who are blind or visually impaired are around 30%, as compared with 72% employment among people without disabilities. Specific subgroups of individuals with visual impairment show even lower employment rates. Scientific research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of existing practices and new interventions that can improve workforce participation by individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Employment for Individuals with Blindness or Other Visual Impairments (2015-2020)

In 2015, researchers at the NRTC proposed six major research projects in response to the priority issued by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) for an RRTC on Employment for Individuals with Blindness or Other Visual Impairments. The purpose of this RRTC is to conduct research that generates new knowledge about the efficacy of rehabilitation services and technology used to support improved employment outcomes for this population, including three specific subpopulations: youth who are B/VI, people who are deaf-blind, and people with combined traumatic brain injury and B/VI. Our proposal won this competitive grant (NIDILRR grant 90RT5040-01-00), and we began working on these six new research projects and training and technical assistance activities in October 2015. Click here for more information about the new research projects.

Program Evaluations

Older Blind Program Evaluations

We conduct evaluations of state rehabilitation programs providing independent living services to older individuals who are blind or severely visually impaired, under the Title VII-Chapter 2 program.

  • Alabama (Farrow, PI)
  • Georgia (Antonelli, PI)
  • Massachusetts (LeJeune, PI)
  • New Jersey (Farrow, PI)
  • Virginia (Bedsaul, PI)

Consumer Satisfaction Studies

We conduct an annual consumer satisfaction study for the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS). The purpose of the study is to help ADRS improve their services based on feedback from the people that they serve.

  • Vocational Rehabilitation Services – Blind Services (McDonnall, PI)

Needs Assessments & Randolph-Sheppard BEP Program Evaluations

We conduct comprehensive needs assessments and evaluations of the Randolph-Sheppard Business Enterprise Programs for state VR agencies upon request. Please contact Michele McDonnall at 662-325-2001 or m.mcdonnall@msstate.edu for more information.

Completed Research Activities

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Employment Outcomes for Individuals who are Blind or Visually Impaired (2010-2015)

Funded by National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR Grant #90RT5011-01-00)

Employment Outcomes for Transition-Aged Youth

Funded by National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, NIDRR Grant #H133A070001

Persons Aging with Hearing and Vision Loss

Funded by the National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR Grant #H133A020701)

Moderators of Depressive Symptoms for Older Adults with Dual Sensory Loss

Funded by the National Institute on Aging
(McDonnall, PI)

NRTC Publications

The NRTC has a long history of publishing research results in peer-reviewed journals and monographs. Click here for information about our most recent publications (2001 to the present), publications available for purchase, and publications available for download.

Participate In Our Research

Are you interested in being involved in research about people who are blind or visually impaired? Click here for more information.