Recent Accomplishments

  • From 2004 through 2005, by request of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), part of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), we helped develop their 2005-2009 Long Range Plan. This plan establishes the department's priorities for rehabilitation research, demonstration projects, training, strategic goals and objectives to meet legislative mandate, consumer goals, and scientific initiatives. The plan proposes: to set the general direction that guides NIDRR's policies and use of resources; establish objectives for annual research priorities; and set standards for evaluating the implementation of the plan. We are proud to have participated in the development and publication of this important document, which enhances the lives of people with disabilities nationwide.
  • We advised NIDRR on funding options for their Field Initiated Research and their Small Business Innovation Research and Development projects. Our contribution helped shape future programs and technologies available to people with disabilities.
  • We helped the National Rehabilitation Hospital conduct a study to analyze the causes of secondary medical conditions due to mobility impairments. We provided 300 research participants, conducted surveys, wrote evaluation publications, and conducted training to improve health care professional visits.
  • From 2003 to 2006, we wrote a manual for individuals with disabilities and caregivers that teaches when, why, and how to achieve independent living. In 2006 we published Personnel Management Manual: Achieving Independence Through Personal Assistance©. The Manual teaches how to self-direct one’s own care, and provides models for best practices for medical personnel. The publication outlines a comprehensive approach to managing life and personnel outside of a medical model of care. In 2006, the book was distributed free of charge to over 300 individuals with disabilities in the metropolitan area and was marketed as a text book for health care professionals.
  • In 2005 and 2006, we ran a pilot program 'Prevention of Injury Classes'. We reached close to 7,500 high school students. To enhance our presentation we developed educational charts on spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. Our unique education approach informed students about real life risks and consequences and contributed to the reduction of accident-related disabilities. The classes were well received by students and faculty. We intend to expand the program to all educational levels of schools, and introduce it in fire/police departments, and the department of motor vehicles (DMV).
  • From 2003 through 2007 we contributed to policy analysis of long-term care social programs offered b y the Medical Assistance Administration and helped develop new Home and Community Based Services to better meet the independent living needs of people with mobility impairments. We helped establish vital programs such a Money Follows the Person and Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Services.
  • In 2006, we helped Cornell University Institute for Policy Research and the National Council on Disability. We established and conducted focus advisory groups. The purpose of this project was to develop a set of statistical indicators that could assist federal agencies to evaluate the success of their social programs and set new quality of life measurement standards. These measurements will aid in expanding career opportunities and increased community participation.


For the Manual

  • "This is an excellent piece of work, down-to-earth, comprehensive, and sensitive to the needs of both consumers and PAs. I believe it is a breakthrough; something this good has been needed for a long time. This work will become a classic reference." Dr. Gerben DeJong, Director of Research, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Washington, DC.

For Policy and Advocacy

  • “Your experience and knowledge of disability issues was integral in the development of our Long Range Plan.”
    Steven Tingus, Director, National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Washington, DC.

For Injury Prevention Classes

  • “We have no other guest presentation that engages our teen’s attention as much. Students not only hear the message, but see first hand the struggles that a spinal cord injury creates.” Lynn Wiegand, MD Public School Health Education Teacher.
  • “As a result of your speech my family will always wear seatbelts. I will always think twice before making decisions” Michael Weithmen, Student, Wheaton High School.

For Community Integration

  • Erica Nash and Help-Your-Self , Inc. are recipients of the DC Medical Society award for “Outstanding contributions towards improving the health of the Community.”