Cornell University

July 3 2007

EDI projects highlighted at international conference on disability and health

S. Antonio Ruiz-Quintanilla, senior research associate, Employment and Disability Institute (EDI), was a featured presenter at the North American Collaborating Center (NACC) Conference on the International Classification of Functioning (ICF), Disability and Health, June 5-7, 2007 in Niagara Falls, NY. This presentation grew out of joint work with EDI co-authors Thomas Golden and Carol Blessing and representatives from the New York State Department of Corrections using funding from the New York Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (NY DDPC).

The 2007 conference included speakers from the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The conference theme, "Sharing Knowledge Through the ICF," focused on the opportunity to communicate about disability across countries, cultures, languages, and professions.

The conference was hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for the Family of International Classifications for North America and its members, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE).

Ruiz-Quintanilla at ICF conference.Ruiz-Quintanilla's presentation focused on "Using the ICF to identify Supports, Needs, and Goals for Individual Program Planning." The project explores the use of an ICF- based instrument to assess support needs and goals of inmates with developmental disabilities in special needs units in upstate New York prisons.

As part of an intervention, the ICF instrument was given to prison employees (correction officers, teachers, counselors, mental health personnel and other employees) to rate the needs of inmates with developmental disabilities before and after the intervention. The instrument is used to evaluate the importance of activity limitations and participation restrictions for a successful community reintegration.

As a result of this demonstration, the ICF-based assessment tools will be integrated in the Special Need Unit Policy and Procedure Manual and in the Quality Assessment process of the facilities. In addition, hallmarks for person-centered work will also be incorporated throughout the SNU P&P Manual.

The study also led to documented examples reflecting improvements, such as:

  • Helping inmates to develop trust and to feel accepted
  • Encouraging/answering inmates' questions
  • Understanding how inmates see things
  • Recognizing an inmate as a person
  • Conveying confidence in inmates 
  • Encouraging inmates to be open with staff
  • Helping inmates to demonstrate their abilities 

Ruiz-Quintanilla also co-presented on "Introducing the ICF to Rehabilitation Professionals Enrolled in an Online Graduate Course on Assistive Technology," which was co-authored by researchers from the Institute for Matching Person & Technology and the Consortium for Distance Education in Rehabilitation and is a result from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDDR) funded Disability Statistics Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC).