Wobbrock team’s VoxLens allows screen-reader users to interact with data visualizations

A screen reader with a refreshable Braille display. Credit: Elizabeth Woolner/Unsplash

Working with screen-reader users, CREATE graduate student Ather Sharif and Co-Director Jacob O. Wobbrock, along with other UW researchers, have designed VoxLens, a JavaScript plugin that allows people to interact with visualizations. To implement VoxLens, visualization designers add just one line of code.

Millions of Americans use screen readers for a variety of reasons, including complete or partial blindness, learning disabilities or motion sensitivity. But visually-oriented graphics often are not accessible to people who use screen readers. VoxLens lead author Sharif, a UW doctoral student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering noted, “Right now, screen-reader users either get very little or no information about online visualizations, which, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, can sometimes be a matter of life and death. The goal of our project is to give screen-reader users a platform where they can extract as much or as little information as they want.”

With written content, there is a beginning, middle and end of a sentence, Wobbrock, Co-senior author explained, “But as soon as you move things into two dimensional spaces, such as visualizations, there’s no clear start and finish. It’s just not structured in the same way, which means there’s no obvious entry point or sequencing for screen readers.”

Participants learned how to use VoxLens and then completed nine tasks, each of which involved answering questions about a visualization. Compared to participants who did not have access to this tool, VoxLens users completed the tasks with 122% increased accuracy and 36% decreased interaction time.

Learn more

This article was excerpted from a UW News article. Read the full article for additional details about the project.

Jen Mankoff receives SIGCHI Social Impact Award

Jennifer Mankoff, a white, Jewish woman with an invisible disability. She is smiling broadly and standing casually in the Allen Center atrium

Congratulations to CREATE Co-Director Jennifer Mankoff! She has been awarded a 2022 Social Impact Award by SIGCHI, the special interest group of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for professionals, academics and students interested in human-technology and human-computer interaction (HCI).

Mankoff was cited for research focused on accessibility to give people the voice, tools and agency to advocate for themselves. “She strives to make change at both structural and individual levels. For example, her recent work on fabrication of accessible technologies considers not only innovative tools that can enable individual makers, but also the larger clinical and sociological challenges to disseminating and sharing designs.”

SIGCHI also noted Mankoff’s work at the intersection of mental health and discrimination that uses sensed data and self-reports to explore how external risks and pressures interact with people’s responses to challenging moments such as discrimination experiences, or classroom access. In addition, she has conducted leading work supporting environmental sustainability and topics relevant to gender and race.

Within SIGCHI, Mankoff spent many years working with, and at times leading, AccessSIGCHI, an independent organization that advocates for improved inclusion of people with disabilities within the SIGCHI community. This work has directly impacted the inclusiveness of numerous SIGCHI conferences and led to the creation of an Adjunct Chair for Accessibility on the SIGCHI Executive Committee, institutionalizing accessibility as an important facet of SIGCHI activities.

This article was excerpted and adapted from SIGCHI Awards 2022.

Heather Feldner ‘wrote the book’ on  power mobility device for babies

CREATE Associate Director Heather Feldner has ​authored two guidebooks, instructing caregivers, researchers and ​clinicians how to introduce Permobil’s ​Explorer Mini to young children between the ages of 12 and 36 months. Permobil’s Explorer Mini is a new, lightweight, joystick-operated powered mobility device ​that provides opportunities for mobility, exploration, and play for children with disabilities at ages and stages that are more equitable compared to their peers without disabilities.

Headshot of Heather Feldner, smiling brightly. She is a white woman with short brown and grey hair, and wears dark rimmed glasses, a gray shirt and black sweater.

Feldner ​and her co-authors have synthesized their own work  and ​work from pioneers in the field, describing the benefits and impact of on-time access to mobility, as well as evidence-based strategies for introducing powered mobility to young children based on developmental and experiential learning stages. ​This multidisciplinary guideline was authored by Feldner, a pediatric physical therapist, Teresa Plummer, an occupational therapist, and Alyson Hendry, a speech-language pathologist, with key input from 40 stakeholders across the world, including caregivers of young children who use powered mobility devices.

The guideline is available open-source and consists of a full, peer-reviewed research document as well as a caregiver guidebook version introducing the Explorer Mini and the various learning stages for infants and toddlers with disabilities. The guideline covers a wide variety of topics including collaborative partnership with caregivers and children, safety, a description of developmental domains that powered mobility introduction affects (such as cognition, communication, socio-emotional development, and participation), as well as practical tips and strategies for facilitating success in mobility and exploration at every learning stage. 

Feldner’s research ​at UW centers on the design and implementation of mobility technology and its effects upon activity and participation within a variety of personal and environmental contexts, including how perceptions of disability and identity emerge and evolve through technology use. ​She is also engaged in research and advocacy work centered on disability as an integral part of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and anti-ableism in healthcare education and beyond. 

CREATE student Venkatesh Potluri is an Apple Scholar

Venkatesh Potluri has been selected as a 2022 Apple Scholar — a fellowship that supports cutting-edge machine learning researchers at the graduate and post-graduate level.

A Ph.D. student in the Allen School, Potluri is advised by CREATE Co-Director Jennifer Mankoff in the Make4All Group.

Venkatesh Potluri leans toward the camera smiling with eyes cast downward.

As an Apple Scholar, Potluri is recognized as an emerging leader in computer science and engineering and will receive funding to pursue his Ph.D., internship opportunities, and mentorship with an Apple researcher.

Potluri’s research makes overlooked software engineering spaces such as IOT and user interface development accessible to developers who are blind or visually impaired. Visually impaired himself, his work systematically understands the accessibility gaps in these spaces and addresses them by enhancing widely used programming tools.

Previously, Potluri received a 2019 Google Lime Scholarship and a 2018-2019 Microsoft Endowed Fellowship.

Feldner and Harniss receive research poster award for work on allyship training in rehabilitation education

CREATE Associate Director Heather Feldner and co-authors, including CREATE affiliate faculty Mark Harniss, received a blue ribbon award as one of the top 3 posters for Social Responsibility at the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Combined Sections meeting.

Selected by the Health Policy & Administration Section Global Health Special Interest Group of the APTA, the team was cited for their work to amplify the voices and experiences of students, staff, and faculty who identify as disabled/with a disability across UW campuses. These experiences are the foundation for developing a disability allyship training curriculum for health professions education and beyond.

The team behind the paper and poster, “Diversity and Equity Includes Disability: Developing a Disability Allyship Training Curriculum for Rehabilitation Education” is: Heather A. Feldner, Katherine Chamblin, Lesley M. Ellis, Heather D. Evans, Mark Harniss, Danbi Lee, and Joanne Woiak.

Headshot of Heather Feldner, smiling brightly. She is a white woman with short brown and grey hair, and wears dark rimmed glasses, a gray shirt and black sweater.
Mark Harniss a white man in his 50s with short brown hair and blue eyes wearing a dark polo shirt in front of fall-colored leaves.

The initial work was funded by a UW CLIME small grant, and several team members will be continuing the next phases of this work with new grant funding received in January from the UW Royalty Research Fund.

Richard Ladner named AAAS Fellow

Congratulations to CREATE Director for Education Richard Ladner on being named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)! He is among 564 new fellows from around the world elected in 2021 for distinguished achievements in science and engineering.

Ladner was recognized for his advocacy and inclusion efforts for people with disabilities in computer science and related fields. His work has included development of numerous tools to perform specific tasks, including translating textbook figures into formats accessible to persons with disabilities, and enabling people to communicate via cell phones using American Sign Language.

In addition to the AAAS fellowship, Ladner has been honored as a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar, an Association for Computing Machinery Fellow and an IEEE Fellow.

Excerpted from the UW News article. See the AAAS announcement.

CREATE Co-Director Jacob O. Wobbrock Named ACM Fellow

We congratulate CREATE Co-Director Jacob O. Wobbrock on being named an ACM Fellow by the Association for Computing Machinery for his contributions to human-computer interaction and accessible computing!

Wobbrock’s research seeks to understand and improve people’s interactions with computers and information, especially for people with disabilities. He is the primary creator of ability-based design, which scrutinizes the ability assumptions embedded in technologies in an effort to create systems better matched to what people can do.

For this and his other contributions to accessible computing, he received the 2017 ACM SIGCHI Social Impact Award and the 2019 SIGACCESS ASSETS Paper Impact Award. He was also inducted to the ACM CHI Academy in 2019. In addition to being a CREATE founding co-director, Professor Wobbrock directs the ACE Lab and is a founding member of UW’s cross-campus DUB Group.

The ACM is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. ​​Its Fellows program recognizes the top 1% of members for their outstanding accomplishments in computing and information technology and/or outstanding service to the ACM and the larger computing community. ACM Fellows are nominated by their peers, with nominations reviewed by a distinguished selection committee.

Wobbrock, and the other 70 Fellows named in 2021 will be formally recognized at the ACM Awards Banquet in San Francisco in June.

This article is adapted from the UW Information School (iSchool) article and the ACM press release.

Findlater and co-authors receive 2020 Best Paper award for study of Voice Assistants by Older Adults

The Association for Computing Machinery announced the 2020 Best Paper Award goes to Use of Intelligent Voice Assistants by Older Adults with Low Technology Use, co-authored by CREATE associate director Leah Findlater, Alisha Pradhan and Amanda Lazar.

The team conducted a 3-week field deployment of the Amazon Echo Dot in the homes of seven older adults to understand how older, infrequent users of technology perceive and use voice assistants. They observed consistent usage for finding health-related information, highlighting concerns about credibility of information with this new interaction medium.

Headshot of Leah Findlater, smiling warmly. She is a white woman with brown hair.

Leah Findlater, CREATE Associate Director

And while voice-based interaction appeared to be easy to learn, the study pointed to some usability and accessibility challenges to be addressed, including:

  • Devices timing out before users complete their voice commands
  • Unclear and inconsistent voice commands that must be remembered
  • Dependency on paired computing devices
  • Lack of awareness of the voice assistance device’s capabilities

Perkins School touts Blocks4All for blind and low vision students

The Perkins School for the Blind — one of the most famous schools for the blind in the world — is heavy into technology for their students. Recently they touted the Blocks4All app, paired with a Dash robot, as a tool to teach block coding to blind and low vision students.

“The Blocks4All app is completely accessible on the iPad with VoiceOver and Dash carries out the commands, making it easy for students who are visually impaired to know if they used the correct commands,” wrote Diane Brauner, Perkins’ manager of Paths to Technology.

Blocks4All was developed by Lauren Milne, a former student of CREATE Director of Education, Richard Ladner. Milne is now an Assistant Professor at Macalester College in Minnesota.  

This past summer, Milne and Ladner got together again with several students to make Blocks4All even more accessible and to create two activities for the Hour of Code.

Learn more:

Feldner and Steele’s ‘Reimagining Mobility’ series featured in The Daily

Collaboration and diverse perspectives and approaches are at the heart of CREATE’s mission to make technology accessible and make the world accessible though technology.

One program developed by CREATE faculty looks at mobility solutions and ways to eliminate barriers. Hosted by CREATE associate directors Kat Steele and Heather Feldner, the Reimagining Mobility Conversation Hub brings in speakers from a variety of backgrounds and industries to inspire conversations about the future of mobility.

The UW student newspaper, The Daily, featured the program in Reimagining Mobility: Professors Amplify Disabled Voices in the November 15 2021 issue.

Headshot of Kat Steele, smiling warmly. She is a white woman with long brown hair.

Working at a children’s hospital made me want to grow my knowledge as an engineer. There was just this disconnect of how we thought about technology, how we thought about what was possible, and what was actually available.

Dr. Kat Steele, CREATE Associate Director and Albert S. Kobayashi Endowed Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

Headshot of Heather Feldner, smiling brightly. She is a white woman with short brown and grey hair, and wears dark rimmed glasses, a gray shirt and black sweater.

How we move around really impacts our social relationships. It impacts our ability to participate in school, in jobs, in social events — it’s really one of our major connections to the world. The end goal of mobility is to engage in our lives and participate meaningfully.

Dr. Heather Feldner, CREATE Associate Director and
Assistant Professor, Rehabilitation Medicine: Physical Therapy

Faculty and Alumni win awards at ASSETS 2021

Congrats to the many accessibility leaders from CREATE and UW who won awards at ASSETS 2021.

Co-authored by Jennifer Mankoff (a founding co-director of CREATE), Gillian R. Hayes and Devva Kasnitz in 2010, the paper, Disability studies as a source of critical inquiry for the field of assistive technology, has been awarded the 2021 SIGACCESS ASSETS Paper Impact Award at the virtual 2021 ASSETS Conference. This award is given to a “significant innovation or contribution to knowledge that has proved influential” over at least a decade. The paper was cited for groundbreaking and influential work on bridging the gap between the assistive technology research field and the field of disability studies.

The Best Paper Award went to Qisheng Li, Josephine Lee, Christina Zhang and CREATE faculty member Katharina Reinecke for How Online Tests contribute to support systems for people with cognitive and mental disabilities.

The Best Artifact Award went to a UW team Lucy Wang, Isabel Cachola, Jonathan Bragg, Evie Cheng, Chelsea Haupt, Matt Lazke, Bailey Kuehl, Madeleine van Zuylen, Linda Wagner and Daniel Weld for making academic papers accessible through scia11y.

A runner up for Best Artifact Award was Sidewalk Gallery, by Michael Duan, Aroosh Kumar, Mikey Saugstad, Aileen Zeng, Ilia Savin and CREATE Associate Director Jon E. Froehlich. Sidewalk Gallery is an interactive, filterable gallery of over 600,000 crowdsourced sidewalk accessibility images across seven cities in two countries (US and Mexico). It includes five primary accessibility problem types, 35 tag categories, and a 5-point severity scale.

Best paper nominations also went to students Kelly Mack; Venkatesh Potluri; Dhruv Jain; and Erin Beneteau for their paper Mixed abilities and varied experiences: a group auto-ethnography of a virtual summer internship and Kelly Mack for her paper Designing Tools for High-Quality Alt Text Authoring.

Finally, the Best Student Paper Award went to a team including CREATE Alumnus Cynthia Bennett and UW Alumnus Jeffrey P. Bigham for their work on Aided Nonverbal Communication through Physical Expressive Objects

Congrats to all!

Previous ASSETS paper awards for CREATE faculty

CREATE faculty also had many successes at ASSETS 2020 and ASSETS 2019 including:

Best student paper (2020):  
Living Disability Theory: Reflections on Access, Research, and Design
Megan Hofmann, Devva Kasnitz, Jennifer Mankoff, Cynthia L Bennett

Best paper (2020):
Input Accessibility: A Large Dataset and Summary Analysis of Age, Motor Ability and Input Performance 
Leah Findlater, Lotus Zhang

Best Artifact (2020):

Dhruv Jain, Hung Ngo, Pratyush Patel, Steven Goodman, Leah Findlater, Jon Froehlich

Paper Impact Award (2019):
Slide rule: making mobile touch screens accessible to blind people using multi-touch interaction techniques
Jacob Wobbrock

Go Baby Go Car Adaptation Workshop

UW Go Baby Go, co-directed by CREATE Associate Director Heather Feldner, is excited to announce its fall workshop where we will build ten Go Baby Go cars for local children with disabilities and their families!

Composite of 4 images from Go Baby Go workshops: participants modifying ride-upon toys and excited toddlers sitting in a variety of toys.

UW and CREATE students, postdocs, and faculty (especially from engineering, computer science, and rehab programs), local clinicians, and parents/caregivers are all encouraged to attend.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

* Workshop: 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
* Family car fittings and pickup: 2-4 p.m.

UW Rehab Medicine, BB tower 916 and 918
Outdoor car pickup location TBD

Each car will be custom-adapted for safety and accessibility so children can engage in self-initiated mobility, exploration, and socialization at ages equitable to their non-disabled peers. Through sponsorship and fundraising, cars are provided at no cost to families. 

Volunteers needed!

To volunteer, please fill out the volunteer form and we will be in touch with all the rest of the logistics and details!

Please note that per Washington State and UW policy, all volunteers will be required to mask up throughout the build and show proof of full COVID vaccination to participate.

We will have a separate refreshment space for breaks and snacks/drinks throughout the build. 


Email us at gobabygo@uw.edu.

CREATE is proud to sponsor this event.

$1M NIDILRR award for leadership training program

A team of CREATE faculty has received a five-year, $1M grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) for the project, “ARRT: Postdoctoral Training in Physical Computing and Fabrication to Support Innovations for Community Living and Participation.” Congratulations on the funding to the team members:

  • Co-PI Jennifer Mankoff, Ph.D and Professor Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering
  • Co-PI Anat Caspi, Ph.D. and Principal, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering
  • Heather Feldner, PT, Ph.D., PCS and Assistant Professor, School of Medicine, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
  • Kat Steele, Ph.D. and Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering 

The award funds a program that will train four postdoctoral fellows to become leaders in rehabilitation research who can harness advances in physical computing and fabrication to enhance community living and participation with people with disabilities. Each fellow will complete a 24-month training program to build their expertise in physical computing, fabrication, rehabilitation, and disability studies. Training will address a shortage of people qualified to harness, deliver, and advance physical computing for rehabilitation research. The four postdoctoral fellows will participate in research, coursework, and mentoring that expands expertise in using primary and complex adaptation tools, 3D-modeling software, and fabrication machines (e.g., laser cutters, 3D printers) for rehabilitation applications. Their innovative research, publications, presentations, and community resources will amplify the impacts of this training program.

Jon Froehlich named Outstanding Faculty Member by the UW College of Engineering

Congrats to CREATE Associate Director Jon Froehlich on being selected for the Outstanding Faculty Award by the UW College of Engineering!

As noted by the College, Froehlich went to extraordinary measures to support his students’ learning during the pandemic. He fundamentally transformed physical computing courses for virtual platforms, assembled and mailed hardware kits to students’ homes, and developed interactive hardware diagrams, tutorials and videos. In addition, Froehlich co-created and led a group of university educators to share best practices for remote teaching of computing lab courses.

Jon Froehlich, CREATE Associate Director and Allen School faculty member

As chair for the conference ASSETS’22, Froehlich has helped ensure the conference is accessible to not only those with physical or sensory disabilities, but for those with chronic illnesses, caretaking responsibilities, or other commitments that prevent physical travel.

In response to the award, Froehlich noted, “I quite literally could not have done this without [CREATE Founding Co-Directors] Jake and Jen’s mentorship and support.”

This article was excerpted from the UW College of Engineering’s CoE Awards announcement.

Accessible CS Education workshop focuses on inclusive experiences

Amid a global pandemic, innovative thinkers have been hard at work developing plans to improve equity in modern learning environments. The Accessible Computer Science Education Fall Workshop was held November 17-19, 2020, and jointly sponsored by Microsoft, The Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, and CREATE.

Each day of the event focused on strategies to improve classroom experiences for students and faculty with disabilities. You can watch recorded sessions where speakers provided a wide range of perspectives on computer science pedagogy and how to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in computing disciplines.

Two students work together in a lab on a computer screen using accessibility tools

Two students work together on a computer screen using accessibility tools.

The event provided an intimate environment to share work and establish new collaborations. The most visible result, for now, is five white papers and action plans taken from the break-out group reports (CREATE faculty contributors noted):

The program resulted in more than conversations; each group developed formal white papers and action plans that will guide future research and collaboration.

Microsoft logo

Throughout the workshop, participants focused on four areas:

  1. Education for employment pathways
  2. Making K-12 computing education accessible
  3. Making higher education in computing accessible
  4. Building accessible hardware and systems.

Conversations generated ideas about technologies that can boost employment and assist people with disabilities who experience barriers in various learning environments.

The committee behind the event successfully cultivated a productive and inclusive atmosphere that sponsors hope will translate to future projects. Members of the committee include Andrew Begel, Heather Dowty, Cecily Morrison, Teddy Seyed, and Roy Zimmerman from Microsoft; Anat Caspi and Richard Ladner from UW CREATE; and Clayton Lewis from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Mankoff wins AccessComputing Capacity Building award

Jennifer Mankoff, CREATE Director and co-founder and Professor at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering

Congratulations to Jennifer Mankoff on receiving the AccessComputing Capacity Building Award! She was honored for her leadership in helping make all Special Interest Group on Computer–Human Interaction (SIGCHI) conferences accessible to attendees with disabilities. 

Through her leadership, the SIGCHI Executive Committee now has adjunct chairs for accessibility, which institutionalizes accessibility as an important facet of SIGCHI activities. Jen holds monthly online meetings of the AccessSIGCHI leadership team to help set and execute its agenda. 

Every year AccessComputing honors someone with the AccessComputing Capacity Building Award for their work and accomplishments that have changed the way the world views people with disabilities and their potential to succeed in challenging computing careers and activities. 

Excerpted from an article by Richard Ladner on the AccessComputing website. Read the full article.

CREATE faculty and students awarded at ASSETS 2020

Congratulations to UW CREATE faculty on multiple awards at ASSETS 2020, the International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility!

“The University of Washington has been a leader in accessible technology research, design, engineering, and evaluation for years. This latest round of awards from ACM ASSETS is further testament to the great work being done at the UW. Now, with the recent launch of CREATE, our award-winning faculty and students are brought together like never before, and we are already seeing the great things that come of it. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.” 

— Prof. Jacob O. Wobbrock, Founding Co-Director, UW CREATE

Best student paper:  
Living Disability Theory: Reflections on Access, Research, and Design
Megan Hofmann, Devva Kasnitz, Jennifer Mankoff, Cynthia L Bennett

Best paper:
Input Accessibility: A Large Dataset and Summary Analysis of Age, Motor Ability and Input Performance 
Leah Findlater, Lotus Zhang
Links: gitub code repository

Best artifact:

SoundWatch, as described in the paper Exploring Smartwatch-based Deep Learning Approaches to Support Sound Awareness for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Users 
Dhruv Jain, Hung Ngo, Pratyush Patel, Steven Goodman, Leah Findlater, Jon Froehlich
Links: github code repository | presentation video

Read more

SoundWatch smartwatch app alerts d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing users to sounds

October 28, 2020 | UW News

UW CREATE faculty members Jon Froehlich and Leah Findlater have helped develop a smartwatch app for d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing people who want to be aware of nearby sounds. The smartwatch will identify sounds the user is interested in — such as a siren, a water faucet left on, or a bird chirping — and send the user a friendly buzz along with information.

“This technology provides people with a way to experience sounds that require an action… [and] these devices can also enhance people’s experiences and help them feel more connected to the world,” said lead author Dhruv Jain, a UW doctoral student in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.

A wrist with a smartwatch on it. The smartwatch has an alert that says "Car honk, 98%, Loud, 101 dB" It also has options to snooze the alert for 10 minutes or open in an app on the user's phone.
The SoundWatch smartwatch app that identifies nearby sounds and alerts wearers. Jain et al./ASSETS 2020

The team presented their findings Oct. 28 at ACCESS, the ACM conference on computing and accessibility.

Learn more about SoundWatch, the full team and how the smartwarch app evolved from a collection of tablets scattered around a house.

Learn more

Feldner team receives grant to study pediatric mobility technology

Heather Feldner, Rehabilitation Technology and Disability Studies

CREATE Associate Director Heather Feldner and her research team have been awarded a pilot research grant from the newly founded NIH Pediatric Rehabilitation Resource Center (C-PROGRESS) to study early mobility technology.

The team, one of only three selected across the country, includes Sam Logan, an associate professor at Oregon State University, and Lisa Kenyon, a professor at Grand Valley State University.

Study Details: The use of powered mobility devices for young children with cerebral palsy (CP) has been gaining traction.  Evidence shows that the use of powered mobility at young ages complements (rather than detracts from) other interventions focused on more traditionally viewed mobility skills such as crawling and walking, as well as broadens accessible participation and experiences for children and families.  

Collage of four young children riding on commercial and DIY powered mobility technologies, including the Permobil® Explorer Mini and modified Go Baby Go  ride-on toy cars

Heather will lead the multi-site team of investigators in collecting preliminary data to investigate device use patterns, caregiver perceptions, and developmental outcomes of children with CP after introduction of two forms of early powered mobility technologies: commercial (the Permobil® Explorer Mini) and DIY (a Go Baby Go modified ride-on toy car). As FDA clearance for the Explorer Mini was just received in March of 2020, this is the first opportunity to provide key data on the integration and use of the device in the home and community, and it represents the first opportunity to compare the novel device with a modified ride-on car, which has also been customized to support early self-initiated mobility in a socially inviting way.

Why it matters: Research comparing these devices in natural environments can add critical data to the evidence supporting early powered mobility for children with CP as a part of a multimodal mobility approach to care across the lifespan. It also presents a unique opportunity to further engage in critical discussion of facilitators and barriers to mobility and access for disabled children and families.

Learn more:

NIH Rehabilitation Research 2020

Dr. Kat M. Steele, an associate director of CREATE, presents at NIH’s Rehabilitation Research 2020: Envisioning a Functional Future conference on Friday, October 16, 2020. She will be presenting in the Mobility Across the Lifespan session with Bernadette Gillick, PhD, PT from the University of Minnesota and Levi Hargrove from the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. This meeting highlights rehabilitation research and informs the congressionally-mandated NIH Research Plan on Rehabilitation Research to inform priorities for the next four years.

Dr. Steele’s talk “Normalcy Fallacy: Reimagining Mobility for Scientific Discovery & Innovation” focuses on examining how our assumptions of “normal” movement can hinder scientific and translational research to support mobility across the lifespan. 

The word normal in capital letters filled in with words from assumptions of normalcy in how we analyze human movement - metrics, walker, feet, fix, expectations, steps, measures, deviation, examination, assessments, etc. Created with wordart.com

Join us

Learn more about our Reimagining Mobility Series.

View her presentation

Slides (pdf) | Transcript (pdf) | Video (YouTube)

Other recommended resources