Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The “Guide Me” Tool using Disability.gov

as posted at Disability.gov ...

An image of the Guide Me tool on a mobile phone with the words: Benefits, Civil Rights, Community Life, Education, Employment, Housing, Health, Emergency Preparedness, Technology and Transportation.

Every year, the Disability.gov team introduces creative ways to help people with disabilities and their loved ones find the information they need quickly and efficiently – without the headache of searching on numerous sites. After all, the mission of Disability.gov has always been to connect people of all abilities to the programs and services they need to fully participate in their communities. Essentially, Disability.gov is a huge directory of resources from government agencies, academic institutions and nonprofit organizations.
So how should you go about finding information on Disability.gov? A few months ago, we launched the “Guide Me” tool to make searching on the site easier by walking visitors through four steps. Take a look at how each step-by-step decision you make changes the number of search results you will receive after using the tool (i.e., after Step Four).
Note: Disability.gov has nearly 9,000 unique links to resources and information.

Step One: Choose an Audience

Disability.gov organizes its resources by target audience. For example, if you are someone with a disability who is looking for information that will help YOU personally, you should choose “People with Disabilities” from the list.
Maybe you are a family member, caregiver or friend of someone with a disability and you are looking for information on Disability.gov that will help you care for them. You may want to choose “Caregivers” or “Parents & Guardians” to see those resources.
The “Guide Me” tool only lets you choose ONE target audience. You can also select “I’M NOT SURE” to skip this step, but keep in mind that you have the potential to receive up to 9,000 resources in your search results.
We chose the audience of “People with Disabilities,” which will decrease our search results to roughly 5,000 resources. (You won’t see this list of resources until after the last step, Step Four.)

Step Two: Select a Topic

Another way Disability.gov organizes its information is by subject. Selecting a topic from one of the 10 categories listed on the site will make sure you receive only the information you want.
  1. BENEFITS – Choose one of the 13 “Benefits” topics, such as information about how to apply for Social Security disability benefits or get help paying for food, prescriptions or heating/cooling your home.
  2. CIVIL RIGHTS – Choose one of the 12 “Civil Rights” topics, such as information about disability laws, filing discrimination complaints or enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws.
  3. COMMUNITY LIFE – Choose one of the 11 “Community Life” topics, such as information about saving money, sports and leisure activities for people with disabilities, volunteering or living independently.
  4. EDUCATION – Choose one of the 14 “Education” topics, such as information about laws that protect students with disabilities, accommodations and supports in the classroom, special education and individualized education programs (IEPs) or teaching materials.
  5. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS – Choose one of the 6 “Emergency Preparedness” topics, such as information about safety and emergency preparedness tips, recovering from a disaster/emergency or making emergency services and facilities accessible.
  6. EMPLOYMENT – Choose one of the 19 “Employment” topics, such as information about where to look for a job, mentoring and internship programs, preparing youth for employment or accommodations and supports on the job.
  7. HEALTH – Choose one of the 16 “Health” topics, such as information about caregiving, different disabilities and health conditions, finding health care or health insurance.
  8. HOUSING – Choose one of the 10 “Housing” topics, such as information about where to look for housing, assisted living, buying a home or home modifications and repairs.
  9. TECHNOLOGY – Choose one of the 7 “Technology” topics, such as information about guidelines and standards, types of assistive technology or finding and paying for assistive technology.
  10. TRANSPORTATION – Choose one of the 9 “Transportation” topics, such as information about accessible taxis, public transportation, filing a transportation complaint or modifying a car or other vehicle.
We chose the topic of “Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits” under the Benefits category, which will decrease our search results to 34 resources.

Step Three: Pick a State

Most likely, you are interested in programs and services that help people who live in your state or U.S. territory. This is one of the most important steps because Disability.gov will eliminate any resources that don’t fit your selection.
We chose the state of “Wyoming,” which will decrease our search results to 7 resources.

Step Four: Review Your Summary

After you complete the three previous steps, the “Guide Me” tool will review your choices. At this point, you need to decide if you want to see your search results (i.e., SHOW ME MY RESULTS) or change your selections by starting over.
We chose “SHOW ME MY RESULTS” and can now view the 7 resources that match our search criteria of “People with Disabilities,” “Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits” and “Wyoming.”
We hope this post was helpful. For more information on how to find resources on the site, visit www.disability.gov/how-to-use-this-site/.
Stay tuned next month for another installment of “What’s New with Disability.gov” to learn more about what our team is working on.

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