New England ADA Center Research

Twenty-seven years after the passage of the ADA, there has been important progress. But the vision of ‘maximum community participation’ are far from met. Despite comprehensive ADA network services in New England, there remain ADA knowledge and implementation gaps. To understand why these gaps exist, we have established two new research partnerships and research priorities:
  1. To generate nuanced state-level data of emerging and projected reasons for disability, working with the former US Census statistician specializing in disability and now doctoral candidate at Harvard University.
  2. Distribute a randomized digital survey to regional municipalities to assess barriers to non-compliance in collaborations with the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
There is no aspect of the ADA more urgently important to address than the equal opportunity to community participation. Through research, we intend to learn about the reasons for limited and patchwork compliance among cities and towns and act on those insights. We also intend to address two demographic patterns that distinguish the region today:
  1. The highest percentage in the nation of people 65+
  2. New England is the epicenter of the opioid epidemic with thousands of people newly in recovery unaware of civil rights under the ADA along with the full spectrum of behavioral health issues so commonly given too little attention.

Research Questions:

  1. What is the emerging and projected profile of people with rights under the ADA at the state level?
  2. What factors impede municipalities from implementing the ADA?  
  3. Is there an intervention or an innovative approach that can facilitate implementation of the ADA at the municipal level?

Products and Duration:

State-wide data sets that tells the story of disability today and in the coming years, a set of new digital and interactive information tools including the Title II Action Guide, and distance learning web courses, anticipated information tools in response to the municipal survey.


Improve understanding of the goals of the ADA. Identify innovative approaches and test their impact in order to increase full implementation of the ADA. Publish results of research findings in refereed journals as well as general media. Utilize networks of new collaborators such as MIT DUSP and Region I HHS to disseminate information, materials and research findings.

New England ADA Center Published Research 2011

The following publications are the results of cooperative research efforts between the New England ADA Center and Drexel University's Center for Labor Market Policies from 2006-2011.

The Impact of the Great Recession on the Unemployment of Americans with Disabilities

The impact of the great Recession upon the unemployement of American with disabilities


Recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics allows assessment of the impact of the Great Recession on working age persons with disabilities in America. Following an overview of the nature and scope of the Great Recession, the labor market experiences of persons with and without disabilities are compared for 16 of the 22 months of its duration. Differences which favor those without disabilities were detected in the labor market rate, the official unemployment rate, and in the desire for work among those who have quit the workforce. These differences persisted among subgroups based upon age and educational attainment. Finally, the reasons for unemployment are quite different for persons with and without disabilities.


From Paternalism to Self-Advocacy: President Obama’s Community College Strategy and Students with Disabilities

From paternalism to self-Advocacy


Our research found that community colleges appear to enroll disproportionately large shares of students with disabilities. To meet the challenge of increasing the number of associate degree awards, new organizational designs, programs and incentives are needed to increase retention and graduation of students with disabilities.


From Paternalism to Self Advocacy (Word)