Kristen Connolly, MSW

University of Illinois UCE
Department of Disability and Human Development
Institute on Disability and Human Development (M/C 626)
The University of Illinois at Chicago
1640 West Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL 60608-6904
Phone: 312-413-3027
Email: [email protected]
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Last Updated: August 13, 2012


Leadership: Co-LEND Director
Primary Activity Coordinators: Technical Assistance
Discipline(s): Social Work
AUCD Council Membership: National Training Directors' Council
No Council Membership


EDUCATION University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, IL • Master of Social Work: Disability Concentration
within the Independent Plan of Study Program, August 2002

Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (with Honors) and Studio
Art/ Minor in Education, May 1997

Syracuse University, Florence, Italy • Study Abroad Program • Fall 1995

PROFESSIONAL Institute on Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago (IDHD)
EXPERIENCE Co-Director (8/2009-Present); Project Coordinator (11/2008-8/2009),
Illinois Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities
Duties include:
• Responsible for program development
• Co-Direct the LEND grant
• Supervise LEND staff and Research Assistant
• Liaison to 25 Discipline and Training Coordinators, including family mentors, in 12 disciplines
• Foster community partnerships
• Oversee evaluation data
• Grant report preparation
• Trainee recruitment

Director of Community Partnerships and Technical Assistance, IDHD (2004-Present)
Duties include:
• Co-development/writing of grant applications and reports to federal funders
• Directing outreach training activities and evaluation efforts
• Collection and submission of data into the federal funder database per reporting requirements
• Development of new community support initiatives, coordinating activities within the UCEDD and in collaboration with the community
• Provision of technical assistance and information dissemination (liaison to the community and representation on advisory boards and committees)
• Development and writing of promotional materials (e.g. co-editor of UCEDD Newsletter)
• Serving as field instructor/supervisor of MSW interns
• Responsible for research requirements of projects including submission of IRB and final research reports
• Support for a nationally recognized self-advocacy specialist

Project Coordinator, Family Support 360 Project (9/2004-9/2006)
• Responsible for the overall implementation and coordination of a grant from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities to develop a family-driven plan for a one-stop center in the predominately Latino communities of Berwyn and Cicero
• The above efforts played a key role in the award of a $500,000 capital grant and $100,000 operating grant for the 360 Center from the State.

Northern Suburban Special Education District, Teacher Assistant, Glenview, IL (2004)
• Assisted in all aspects of the instructional program for special education students (grades 3-5) on an individual and group basis
• Implemented individualized education programs (IEPs) and individual behavior plans
• Supported students' integrated activities in the general education environment and on community

El Valor, Vocational Counselor/ Staff Trainer, Chicago, IL (2003)
• Contributed to the Work Center Workgroup, a taskforce for the enhancement of the adult program
• Responsible for a caseload of 18 adults with developmental disabilities
• Participated in Individual Service Plan meetings
• Led several group activities: Newsletter, Cooking, and Dream Book (a consumer
• Conducted staff training on the Inventory for Client and Agency Planning (ICAP)

Equip for Equality, Inc., Social Work Intern, Chicago, IL (2002)
• Contributed to the strategic process of the Adult Guardianship Reform Project
• Researched and compiled information on the transition of individuals with disabilities from
school to the community
• Responded to requests for legal advocacy services on behalf of persons with disabilities by
offering self-advocacy strategies and referencing appropriate resources and laws
• Maintained files and records consistent with funding and agency requirements

Resources for Living, Inc. (formerly Job Resources for the Disabled, Inc.), Art and Life Skill
Instructor, Evanston, IL (1997-2000)
• Developed the art and life skill program curriculum and assisted in the overall agency program development
• Taught life skills, art, Internet, and media to adults with developmental disabilities
• Supervised the music instructor and art assistant
• Organized the annual art show
• Participated in individual service plan meetings and worked with adults with developmental disabilities to develop measurable goals and objectives that were individualized
• Promoted to Art and Life Skill Instructor after 3 months as Case Assessment Consumer Coordinator (6/97-9/97)


Arts and Disability: a presentation for a staff inservice training for Shore Koenig Community Services. Morton Grove, IL: June 12, 2009

Illinois Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities: Panel Presentation, Midwest Autism Consortium. Chicago, IL: February 12, 2009.

Developmental Disabilities Training for Art Institute of Chicago Museum Education Staff.
Chicago, IL: December 15, 2008.

Illinois Direct Support Professionals Rally at the Capitol: an event at the state capitol to raise awareness of the direct support profession. Springfield, IL: November 20, 2008.

Family Support 360: Empowering a Community: Co-Presenter, the Arc of Illinois Family to Family Health Information and Education Center's "Sharing the Care" event. Chicago, IL: September 18, 2008.


Art-Ability: A collaborative workshop with the Art Institute of Chicago designed to challenge social work and disability studies students to think in a new environment, to learn from others, and to learn about and re-evaluate their views of disability, social work, and art. Chicago, IL: April 26, 2008.

Train-the-Trainer: Recruitment and Retention Strategies: A train-the-trainer session for frontline supervisors, training directors, human resource personnel and other administrators, the Illinois Direct Support Professional Workforce Initiative. Chicago, Illinois: November 29-30, 2006.

Overview of Intervention Strategies: An overview of selected intervention strategies to increase the recruitment and retention of Direct Support Professionals, the Illinois Direct Support Professional Workforce Initiative. Chicago, Illinois: September 19, 2006.

Apoyo Familiar par alas Familias Latinas (Family Support for Latino Families): Panel Presentation on the Illinois Family Support 360 Project, Administration on Developmental Disabilities Technical Assistance Institute. Washington, DC: August 7, 2006.

Innovative Practices of Individualized Family Support, Panel Presentation, AAMR International Summit for the Alliance on Social Inclusion. Montreal, Canada: May 3, 2006.

Person-Centered Planning, Co-Presenter, the Arc of Illinois Annual Convention. Lisle, IL: April 27, 2005.

Illinois Prioritization of Urgency of Need for Services (PUNS) Training, a training session on the PUNS statewide disability needs assessment for individuals with disabilities, their families, and service providers. South Suburban Access, Homewood, IL: March 22, 2005; • Peoria Public Library Auditorium, Peoria, IL: February 8, 2005; • The Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, Springfield, IL: February 7, 2005.

PUBLICATIONS Connolly, K. & Nelis, T (2008). Staff Guide to the Consumer Handbook: A guide to help staff for the development of their consumer handbook. Washington, DC: Easter Seals, Inc.

Heller, T., Connolly, K., & Lacey, B. (2006). Project for Family Support 360: A community coming together to support adults and children with developmental disabilities and their families (Final Report).

Heller, T., Connolly, K, & Lacey, B. (2006) Family Support 360: Empowering a Community. Executive Summary of the Family Support 360 Final Report.

Connolly, K. (2006). A Community Comes Together to Support Latino Families: The Family Support 360 Project. Alert! Newsletter of the Institute on Disability and Human Development, UIC (pp. 4-5).

COMMITTEES 2008-Present Equip for Equality Disability Rights Consortium: Chicago, IL

2007-Present Jane Addams College of Social Work Community Health and Urban Development
Advisory Committee, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

2006-Present Community Support Services Program Committee: Brookfield, Illinois

2004-Present Family Support 360 Advisory Committee


2009, 2007, 2005 Partnership Award: Institute on Disability and Human Development 
(Family Support 360 Project), Community Support Services, Inc

2001 Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society

2001 Alpha Delta Mu National Social Work Honor Society

1997 Psi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology