Institute Research Activities

Ongoing Research Activities

Implications of Developments in Machine Learning for People with Cognitive Disabilities White Paper

Clayton Lewis
Coleman-Turner Professor of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder

Abstract:  Machine learning is the process of training a computer program to reproduce and generalize the relationship between some kind of input and some kind of output.  High profile successes for machine learning are attracting interests and investment.  Can this technology be applied in ways that benefit people with cognitive disabilities and those who support them?  What are the current limitations in the technology that affect these applications, and what are the prospects for overcoming them?  What actions can maximize the benefits for people with cognitive disabilities?

Coleman white paper availble here 

Coleman Fellows Research student icon

The Institute has awarded $1.2 million in Coleman fellowships.  Many of these fellowships have been  tied to federally funded research grants and were awarded as a leveraging match to support competitive CU faculty proposals. Dozens of graduate students have been supported by the Institute at all campuses of the University of Colorado.

The 2018 Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities Fellows are: Annika Muehlbradt and Shawn Polson.  Visit 2018 Coleman Fellows for more information.

The State of the States in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities State of the States Project logo

In addition to his Coleman Institute activities, Professor Braddock has secured competitive federal grants for over $7.6 million through his academic appointment in CU’s Department of Psychiatry. In FY 12-13 alone, he was successful in securing $2.1 million. One of these grants, for $1.5 million over five years, is the State of the States in Developmental Disabilities Project. It has been continuously funded by the US Government’s Administration on Developmental Disabilities for more than 30 years. A second grant of $600,000 was received from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), U.S. Department of Education, and built on the State of the States Project and extended its focus to mental health and physical disability. The National Study of Public Spending for Disability in the United States was funded at $600,000 over three years. It expanded the state by state study of spending and services for people with developmental disabilities to psychiatric and physical disabilities.  For more information on the State of the States project including generating individual state charts, visit State of the States website.

2017  Research Projects Research icon


Cathy Bodine Photo

Cathy Bodine – Principal Investigator
Assistive Technology Partners, UC Denver 

The Coleman Institute has co-funded three federal National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) Center grants. In 2004, NIDILRR initiated funding for the nation’s first Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for the Advancement of Cognitive Technologies (RERC-ACT). In a peer reviewed national competition, the University of Colorado succeeded in securing the Center. In 2009 and 20014, the grant was successfully re-competed.  The combined federal grants exceed $9 million and the combined commitment by the Coleman Institute for RERC-ACT I (2004-2009), RERC-ACT II (2009-2014), RERC-ACT III (2014-2019) was over $1.8 million. The RERC-ACT III has focused their research and activities on improving employment outcomes for people with cognitive disabilities. To learn more about the RERC-ACT III projects and other RERC’s visit Assistive Technology Partners, UC Denver.


Clinical Geropsychology Training 

Sara Qualls Photo

Sara Honn Qualls – Principal Investigator
Gerontology Center, UC Colorado Springs 

The Coleman Institute has funded ongoing research to examine the health needs and utilization of patients of the Developmental Disabilities Health Center (DDHC), operated by Peak Vista.  The purpose of this research is to analyze electronic health records to determine successful long-term treatments and supports for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD).



David Ervin Photo

David Ervin – Principal Investigator
The Resource Exchange Center, RRTCDD, UIC Chicago 

The Coleman Institute has funded the Personalized Online Weight and Exercise Response System for people with Intellectual Disabilities (POWERSforID) project in partnership with The Developmental Disabilities Health Center (DDHC), which is a project of The Resource Exchange, Inc. (TRE).  DDHC is an integrated, interdisciplinary primary healthcare delivery system built with and for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD).  In October 2013, DDHC was named an intervention site for University of Illinois at Chicago’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Developmental Disabilities and Health (RRTCDD) for the implementation of the POWERSforID project.  The purpose of this research is to determine if POWERSforID can be a successful electronic weight management tool for individuals with IDD and to provide a real-time analysis of characteristics that a successful electronic health management system needs.