Workplace Accommodations R&D Digest - December 2005

Volume 3, Number 5


This e-newsletter from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Workplace Accommodations is an update on our research, project activities, and resources of interest. The Work RERC is a NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center that identifies, develops and promotes new assistive and universally designed technologies that maximize independence and participation of people with disabilities in the workplace. More information about the Work RERC can be found at our website,

Supine Computer Workstation Is Being Tested

Many people with chronic low back pain find that they are unable to sit upright, such as while working on a computer, for extended periods of time. Given the prevalence of computer-based occupations in today's society, this condition can significantly limit employment opportunities.

The Work RERC is developing a supine computer workstation to allow the user to continue working from postures that are significantly different from the traditional upright posture. As the system is being developed, one question that we seek to answer is, "What impact does seated posture have on the performance of basic computer operations, such as typing?" In order to answer this question, a test has been developed that will measure changes in the participant's typing speed and accuracy, as well as their level of comfort, in several significantly reclined postures. We recently completed testing with the first group of subjects, and preliminary results suggest that typing speed and accuracy are not compromised in a reclined position. We are planning to complete the testing with a second group of subjects in early 2006. Any recipients of this newsletter that live in the Metro-Atlanta area and who are interested in participating in the next round of studies are encouraged to contact Scott Haynes (details below).

In addition, Work RERC would like to hear from people who have used, prescribed, or designed custom or commercial reclining/supine computer workstations. We are conducting 30-minute telephone interviews about the application and effectiveness of these products.

For more information about this project, or to participate in the studies, please contact Scott Haynes at or through our toll free number at 800-726-9119 (voice/TTY).

Seeking Input From Employers

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Workplace Accommodations is developing a Business Advisory Network. Employers and business professionals who directly hire workers with disabilities and are involved with providing workplace accommodations are encouraged to join this network. Your participation will provide a business perspective on workplace products and services, future needs and evaluations of new designs and technologies to make workplaces more accessible to people with disabilities.

We invite you to complete our survey on Business Perspectives of Workplace Accommodations via our website These studies will be used to understand and develop strategies and technologies to maximize workplace accessibility for all workers including people with disabilities and aging workers. The anonymous survey will take 30-40 minutes to complete. If you would like to join the advisory network or learn more about it, please e-mail Dory Sabata at or call her at 1-800-726-9119 (voice/TTY).

Case Examples of Workplace Accommodations

Tech Connections, a former project here at CATEA, collected case examples from around the country that illustrate accommodations that have been made for specific employees with disabilities in a variety of occupational settings. These summaries can be used as resources to help identify and provide solutions for more productive employment and more independent daily living. The scenarios may be searched by Type of Work (using O-Net groupings), by Disability (actually, functional limitation), or by Product Type (for solutions involving similar technology). To review these case studies, visit the Work RERC web site at

RERC Presentations

International Conference on Aging, Disability & Independence (ICADI)
February 1-5, 2006
St. Petersburg, FL

Join the Discussion Group!

The Work RERC has an on-line discussion group on workplace accommodations, policy issues regarding employees with disabilities, and accessible design.  The discussion group serves as a forum to ask our staff questions about specific issues and share resources.  In addition, periodically we will moderate discussions on various topics related to workplace policy or accommodation services. The discussion is conducted via e-mail. To join the group, send a blank e-mail to with "subscribe workaccommodations" in the SUBJECT line.

Do You Have Questions About Workplace Accommodations?

If you have questions about AT or other issues related to job accommodations, please contact the Work RERC staff at 1-800-726-9119 (voice/TTY) or by e-mail at

This is a publication of the RERC on Workplace Accommodations, which is supported by Grant H133E020720 of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education. The opinions contained in this publication are those of the grantee and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Education.

If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter, or if you prefer to leave the distribution list, you may do so by following the directions below or by contacting the project at or toll free at 800-726-9119 (voice/TTY).

To subscribe: Send e-mail to "" with a SUBJECT of "subscribe workrerc-news".

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