FR Doc 2011-7359[Federal Register: March 29, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 60)]
[Page 17403-17406]
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[CFDA: 84.133A-09]

Proposed Priorities: Disability in the Family

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services proposes a priority for the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by 
NIDRR. Specifically, this notice proposes a DRRP on Disability in the 
Family. The Assistant Secretary may use this priority for competitions 
in fiscal year (FY) 2011 and later years. We take this action to focus 
research attention on areas of national need. We intend this priority 
to contribute to increased participation and community living within 
the context of family life for individuals with disabilities and their 

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before April 28, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this notice to Marlene Spencer, 
U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 5133, 
Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700.
    If you prefer to send your comments by e-mail, use the following 
address: You must include the phrase ``Proposed 
Priority for Disability in the Family'' in the subject line of your 
electronic message.

    Telephone: (202) 245-7532 or by e-mail:
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice of proposed priority is in 
concert with NIDRR's currently approved Long-Range Plan (Plan). The 
Plan, which was published in the Federal Register on February 15, 2006 
(71 FR 8165), can be accessed on the Internet at the following site:
    Through the implementation of the Plan, NIDRR seeks to: (1) Improve 
the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation research; (2) 
foster an exchange of expertise, information, and training to 
facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding of the unique 
needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) determine

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best strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation outcomes for 
underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) identify 
mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and (6) disseminate 
    This notice proposes a priority that NIDRR intends to use for DRRP 
competitions in FY 2011 and possibly later years. However, nothing 
precludes NIDRR from publishing additional priorities, if needed. 
Furthermore, NIDRR is under no obligation to make an award for this 
priority. The decision to make an award will be based on the quality of 
applications received and available funding.
    Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding 
this notice. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in 
developing the notice of final priority, we urge you to identify 
clearly the specific topic that each comment addresses.
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of 
reducing regulatory burden that might result from this proposed 
priority. Please let us know of any further ways we could reduce 
potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving the 
effective and efficient administration of the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this notice in room 5133, 550 12th Street, SW., PCP, 
Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., 
Washington, DC time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal 
    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate 
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who 
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the 
public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want to schedule an 
appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please 
contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is (1) to plan and 
conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related 
activities, including international activities, to develop methods, 
procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full 
inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, 
family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals 
with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe 
disabilities, and (2) to improve the effectiveness of services 
authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended 
(Rehabilitation Act).
    An applicant for assistance under this program must demonstrate in 
its application how it will address, in whole or in part, the needs of 
individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds (34 CFR 
350.40(a)). The approaches an applicant may take to meet this 
requirement are found in 34 CFR 350.40(b). In addition, NIDRR intends 
to require all DRRP applicants to meet the requirements of the General 
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Requirements 
priority that it published in a notice of final priorities in the 
Federal Register on April 28, 2006 (71 FR 25472).
    Additional information on the DRRP program can be found at:
    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a).
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.
    Proposed Priority: This notice contains one proposed priority.
    DRRP on Disability in the Family.


    In the United States, approximately 20.9 million American families 
have at least one member with a disability. Non-Hispanic White families 
and Asian families have the lowest incidence of disability, while Black 
families and American Indian and Alaska Native families have a much 
higher incidence of disability among family members. Families with at 
least one member with a disability are more likely to have lower median 
incomes, higher poverty rates, and a higher dependency on Social 
Security benefits and public assistance (U.S. Census, 2005).
    Individuals with disabilities often face barriers that make it 
difficult to fulfill family roles. Additionally, families with at least 
one member with a disability face a wide range of barriers to community 
living and community participation. Examples of these barriers include, 
but are not limited to: Inaccessible homes and building designs that 
make it difficult for a person with a disability to live with his or 
her family, or to participate with his or her family in community 
activities (National Council on Disability, 2010; Crews & Zvotka, 
2006); laws, policies, and procedures that separate families, such as 
statutes that use disability status as grounds for terminating parental 
rights (Lightfoot, Hill, & LaLiberte, 2010); economic burdens 
associated with care-giving (e.g., reduced wages and limited career 
options due to factors such as the need for time off work to care for 
family members with disabilities) (Anderson, Dumont, Jacobs, & Azzaria, 
2007); health care information and treatments that are not designed to 
address the culture and language barriers faced by families from 
diverse cultures and backgrounds (Baker, Miller, Dang, Yaangh, & 
Hansen, 2010); and a lack of effective and coordinated family supports 
(e.g., health care service and financing) across the lifespan of the 
family member with a disability (Lamar-Dukes, 2009; Reichman, Corman, 
and Noonan, 2008; Jokinen and Brown, 2005).
    NIDRR has funded a wide spectrum of cross-disability research and 
development activities related to families and individuals with 
disabilities. NIDRR grantees have addressed family topics including, 
but not limited to: parenting with a disability, caring for children 
with disabilities who have chronic health care conditions, child 
custody, family care-giving, family-based and peer support networks, 
and technologies that address the family-related needs of individuals 
with disabilities.
    NIDRR grantees also have produced information about the 
capabilities of parents with disabilities, information about how 
policies affect families that have members with disabilities, and 
technologies to assist parents with disabilities in caring for their 
children. This work has laid a foundation on which to base the 
identification, development, testing, and evaluation of interventions, 
programs, technologies, and products that facilitate participation and 
community living for individuals with disabilities and their families.


Anderson, D., Dumont, S., Jacobs, P., and Azzaria, L. (2007). The 
personal costs of caring for a child with a disability: A review of the 
literature. Public Health Reports, 122, 3-16.
Baker, D.L., Miller, E., Dang, M.T., Yaangh, C., & Hansen, R.L. (2010). 
Developing culturally responsive approaches with Southeast Asian 
American families experiencing developmental disabilities. Pediatrics, 
26, S146-S150.
Crews, D.E. & Zavotka, S. (2006). Aging, Disability and Frailty: 
Implications for Universal Design. Journal of Physiological 
Anthropology, 25, 113-118.

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Jokinen, N.S. & Brown, R.I. (2005). Family quality of life from the 
perspective of older parents. Journal of Intellectual Disability, 
49(10), 789-793.
Lamar-Dukes, P. (2009). Reaching the hard to reach: A review of an 
initiative aimed at increasing participation and supports for people of 
color with disabilities and their families in disability organizations. 
Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 34, 76-80.
Lightfoot, E., Hill, K., & LaLiberte, T. (2010). The inclusion of 
disability as a condition for termination of parental rights. Child 
Abuse and Neglect, 34(12), 927-934.
National Council on Disability (2010). The state of housing in America 
in the 21st century: A disability perspective. [On-line]. Available:
Reichman, N.E., Corman, H., & Noonan, K. (2008). Impact of child 
disability on the family. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 12, 679-
U.S. Census Bureau. (2005). Disability and American families: 2000. 
[On-line]. Available:

Proposed Priority

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services proposes a priority for a Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research Project (DRRP) on Disability in the Family. The DRRP must 
contribute to the outcome of increased participation and community 
living for individuals with disabilities and their families.
    To contribute to this outcome, the DRRP must:
    1. Conduct research activities, development activities, or both;
    2. Identify or develop, and test or evaluate interventions, 
programs, technologies, or products;
    3. Conduct knowledge translation activities (i.e., training, 
technical assistance, utilization, dissemination) in order to 
facilitate stakeholder (e.g., people with disabilities, families that 
have at least one member with a disability) use of the interventions, 
programs, technologies, or products that resulted from the research 
activities, development activities, or both;
    4. Involve key stakeholder groups in the activities described in 
paragraphs 1 through 3 in order to maximize the relevance and usability 
of the interventions, programs, technologies, or products to be 
developed or studied; and
    5. Include families who are from traditionally underserved 
populations and who have at least one member with a disability as 
participants when conducting the activities described in paragraphs 1 
through 3.
    To contribute to this outcome, the DRRP may:
    1. Focus its activities at the individual level, the family level, 
the systems level, or any combination of the three levels;
    2. Include in its activities families with a person with a 
disability of any age and any disability;
    3. Interpret the term ``family'' broadly; and
    4. Choose from a wide range of research and development topics and 
approaches within any of the domains in NIDRR's currently approved Long 
Range Plan (i.e., participation and community living, technology for 
access and function, health and function, employment) in order to 
contribute to the outcome goal of increased participation and community 
living for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Types of Priorities

    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the 
application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) 
selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of 
comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

Final Priority

    We will announce the final priority in a notice in the Federal 
Register. We will determine the final priority after considering 
responses to this notice and other information available to the 
Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional 
priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject 
to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note:  This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through 
a notice in the Federal Register.

    Executive Order 12866: This notice has been reviewed in accordance 
with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have 
assessed the potential costs and benefits of this proposed regulatory 
    The potential costs associated with this proposed regulatory action 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this proposed regulatory action, we have determined 
that the benefits of the proposed priority justify the costs.

Discussion of Costs and Benefits

    The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
and Centers Programs have been well established over the years in that 
similar projects have been completed successfully. This proposed 
priority will generate and promote new knowledge through research, 
development, and knowledge translation activities. Another benefit of 
this proposed priority is that the establishment of a new DRRP will 
improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and their family 
members. The new DRRP will generate and promote the use of new 
information that will improve the options for individuals with 
disabilities with regard to community living and community 
    Intergovernmental Review: This program is not subject to Executive 
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the Grants and Contracts 
Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., 
room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. 
If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
    Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as 
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document

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Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: To use PDF you must have Adobe 
Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at:

    Dated: March 24, 2011.
Alexa Posny,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2011-7359 Filed 3-28-11; 8:45 am]