Deborah Zuver, MA

Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Campus Box 7255
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7255
 
Phone: 919-843-7049
Email: deborah.zuver@cidd.unc.edu
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Last Updated: September 13, 2010

Deborah Zuver
 

Project/Program/Clinic Contacts: Director, Project STIR
 
AUCD Council Membership: No Council Membership
 
Service: RESEARCH/ CLINICAL/ PROGRAM INTERESTS
- Project STIR (Steps Toward Independence and Responsibility) develops strength-based models through a team of trainers with and without disabilities, engaging individuals, their families, and professionals.
- Areas of interest include promoting community inclusion and full participation, improving health and emotional well-being, expanding accessibility, and increasing economic opportunity across the lifespan. A primary focus is developing innovative approaches, including drama-based training, that provide practical self-advocacy and leadership tools to individuals with developmental and other disabilities.
- Collaboration with community, state, and national partners is key to developing projects that promote systems change, resulting in a higher quality of life for individuals with a developmental disability.

Vita/Bio

Deborah Zuver, M.A., LMFT, RDT/BCT

Director, Project STIR

EDUCATION

•·         Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology; Drama Therapy Concentration - Antioch University West, San Francisco, CA

•·         Bachelor of Arts in Psychology; Elementary Education minor - Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI

•·         Marriage/Family Therapy Internship - Cordilleras Center, Redwood City, CA

PERSONAL STATEMENT

Tell me, I'll forget.

Show me, I may remember.

But involve me and I'll understand.

This Chinese proverb serves as my reminder whether I am developing a training workshop for individuals with disabilities or a presentation for professionals. Learning as an interactive process changes and challenges both the learner and the trainer.

Applying drama as a leadership training tool has roots in drama and the Popular Education movement. The process begins from the participants' experience. As the group enacts scenarios to educate one another and share leadership, they can readily consider issues, practice new tools,  and plan next steps together. Enactment can allow the complexity of an issue to become accessible and concrete, encouraging discussion and reflection among participants whose academic and abstract skills may be limited. This approach provides a "rehearsal for life" for many individuals. As they try new skills they take on a new life role as leader.

Throughout my years of experience as an educator, clinician, drama therapist, and program director, I have been privileged to witness a range of populations speaking up for their rights and striving for an opportunity to live a full life. Some individuals with a developmental disability, learning disability, and/or psychiatric disability can feel disempowered and disenfranchised. The Project STIR team of self-advocate trainers reaches individuals who have a disability offering support, information, and tools along with a personal sense of commitment and joy. I am gratified that our larger community becomes enriched, as well as the individuals themselves, as they aim to reach their potential.

Since coming to the CDL in 2001, I have appreciated the opportunity to work with three Projects of National Significance funded by the US Administration on Developmental Disabilities. These and other projects may involve translating research into practice and they often include best-practice topics in self-advocacy. I am delighted to participate in these efforts to accelerate the self-advocacy movement and to improve the lives of individuals, their families, and communities across the state.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

2005 - present      Director of Self-Advocacy Initiatives, Center for Development and Learning, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC

 

2003 - present      Director of Project STIR (Steps Toward Independence and Responsibility), Center for Development and Learning, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC

 

2001 - 2003          Program Coordinator - Center for Development and Learning, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC

 

1999 - 2000          Program Manager; Branch Head - NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities/Substance Abuse Services, Raleigh, NC

 

1996 - 1999          Project Coordinator/Program Consultant - NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities/Substance Abuse Services, Raleigh, NC

 

1992 - 1996          Drama Therapist/Acting Co-Director of Rehabilitation - Cordilleras  Telecare Mental Health Center, Redwood City, CA

 

 

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Zuver, D., Dorton, R., Finks, W., & Fisher, K. Acting for advocacy. In: Marshall, C.A., Kendall, E., Banks, M., & Gover, R.M.S. (Eds.) Disabilities: Insights From Across Fields and Around the World, 3 volume book set. Westport, CT: Praeger Press, 2009.

Zuver, D. with Fisher, K. & Lipscomb, T. CHAT Videos: A Youth Guide to Transition from Pediatric to Adult Health Care, DVD. Directed by Deborah Zuver. Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health, 2008.

Zuver, D. Acting for advocacy. In: Blatner A, Weiner D (Eds.) Interactive and Improvisational Drama: Varieties of Applied Theatre and Performance. iUniverse, 2007.

Zuver, D. & Grigsby, M. Learning to parent apart. In: Blatner A, Weiner D (Eds.) Interactive and  Improvisational Drama: Varieties of Applied Theatre and Performance. iUniverse, 2007.

Zuver, D. A crisis intervention program for Hurricane Fran survivors in rural North Carolina: Project HOPE. In: Carlton-LaNey IB, Edwards RL, Reid PN. (Eds.) Preserving and Strengthening Small Towns and Rural Communities. Washington, DC: NASW Press, 1999.