CfDC Minutes — December 7, 2011

Present: Adena Rottenstein, Anna Clements, Carol Tucker, Carole Dubritsky, Carolyn Grawi (Presenter), Els Nieuwenhuijsen (Presenter), Gerald Hoff, Jane Vincent (Acting Coordinator and Scribe), Lisa Clark, Melanie Nau, Paul Guttman, Scott Williams, Stuart Segal, Tracy Wright


  • Lisa Clark announced that the Testing Accommodation Center (TAC) is now open—please spread the word.
  • Jane Vincent announced that she has accepted a temporary position as the Assistive Technology Lead with the IT department. This position will include oversight of the James Edward Knox Center and involvement with the Google Docs accessibility project.
  • Adena Rottenstein announced that there will be a community meeting of the Allies for Disabilities Awareness on December 8, 4–6 PM, in the Educational Conference Center (ECC), School of Social Work Building (SSWB). This month’s topic is Disability and Mental Health. Upcoming topics in 2012 are Disability & Gender; Disability & Sexual Orientation; and Disability & Race.
  • Adena also said that she is applying for an Arts for Citizenship grant to expand next year’s Allies for Disabilities Awareness art show. The grant can be up to $20,000.


Els and Carolyn presented on “Health and Disability—A Conceptual Shift.” Carolyn began by summarizing their September CDC presentation about various disability models, including medical, social, and bio-psycho-social.

Els then introduced the World Health Organization’s ICF (International Classification of Functioning) model, which shifts the definition from diagnosis to functioning; this is important because diagnosis alone does not indicate level of ability or needed assistance. The ICF framework integrates medical and social models, and creates uniform terminology. It uses neutral terms and demonstrates the relationship among health conditions, body functions/structures, activities, participation, environmental factors, and personal factors. Els and Carolyn thinks U-M should be aware of this framework, which may be a useful model for discussing disability.

Examples were given of how the framework could be used to explore the needs of people with two different types of disabilities (macular degeneration and depression). Carolyn talked about her role at CIL and how the framework applies to her job—she looks at framework factors that need to be addressed to provide accommodation.

Meeting attendees then introduced themselves and talked about where their job functions fit into the ICF framework. Els noted that most people reported their job involves the environmental level.

Els then discussed the relationship between the ADA and the uniform terminology provided by the ICF. The ADA is a legal document that does not address health components and does not provide a classification system. People may not wish to disclose their diagnosis but may be more comfortable discussing activity limitations. A group discussion then covered universal design and the need to develop a cultural view that accepts and normalizes disability.

Carolyn and Els then proposed a CDC action plan to promote this framework and endorse a uniform definition of disability. Each gave an example of how brainstorming can solve access problems; Carolyn commented that “when we all work together we can make such a difference. “ Els commented on the importance of social networks in accommodation.

Copies of the slide presentation and handouts will be available on the CDC website in the near future.

Next Meeting

Jan. 4, 12–1 PM, room to be confirmed. The presenter will be Heidi Koester, a U-M researcher who is developing ways for computers to self-adjust to the needs of people who have difficulty using the keyboard and/or mouse.