April 30, 2007 • Volume 7, Number 4


Kansas Intellectual Development Disabilities Research Center Celebrates Milestone Anniversary.  The Kansas DDRC, a bi-campus effort on the Lawrence and medical center campuses at the University of Kansas, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.  Since its establishment as one of the country's original 12 Mental Retardation Research Centers funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHHD), the KIDDRC has helped pioneer effective behavioral interventions aimed at the causes, prevention, and treatment for mental retardation and related development disabilities.  The center holds the distinction of having received continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) throughout the four decades of its existence. The NIH also recently awarded the center with an additional five years of funding.

Utah Center for Persons with Disabilities (UCEDD) Receives Funding for Two Autism Projects.  Two new autism research projects have been funded by the Jonty Foundation through the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University. The projects are entitled Herpes Virus Infection in Autism and An Investigation into the Frequency of CYP2E1 Mutations in Autism. Dr. Anthony R. Torres and Dr. Thayne Sweeten are the principal investigators.

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (TN UCEDD) State Pilot Project Providing Services to Individuals with Developmental Disabilities in Criminal Justice System.  This pilot program arose when the judge presiding over Tennessee’s mental health court saw that individuals with all these co-occurring conditions lacked appropriate supports that would enable them to live in the community after their release because specific divisions of State government treated individuals with only one of those conditions.  In 2007, Dr. Elisabeth Dykens, VKC UCEDD director, began leading a monthly problem-solving team for extremely challenging cases.  The team includes the judge and his staff, and State Commissioners of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities and Mental Retardation Services (or their representatives) and other key leaders to identify and coordinate services across departments and divisions.  For more information, contact Dr. Jan Rosemergy.

Accolades of Preservice Health Training Project at the Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute (KY UCEDD).  The Preservice Health Training Project is funded by the Kentucky Council on Developmental Disabilities to provide training to medical, nursing, physician assistant, and dental students in communicating and caring for their patients via an interactive “virtual patient” case study approach.  A set of seven modules have been completed, and effectiveness studies on these modules (measuring both knowledge and attitudinal changes) have appeared in such peer-reviewed journals as the Journal of Dental Education (February 2007), Journal of Physician Education (in press), and Journal of Nursing Education (in press).  To date, over 1,000 students have participated in the modules, and we are preparing to do a study with students across 15 university programs in Great Britain this summer.  Additionally, the Preservice Health Training modules have been accepted for CME credit by the American Dental Association, American Academy of Physician Assistants, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and the American Osteopathic Association.   Finally, the project was recognized by our University’s President, Dr. Lee T. Todd, as one of a select set of Commonwealth Collaboratives  which are designated by the University as those which have the greatest potential to impact the lives of the citizens of the state.  For more information, contact Dr. Harold Kleinert, UCEDD Director.

News and Activities from the Center for Disabilities (SD UCEDD)

  • The Wellmark Foundation Funds Nutrition Education Project for People with Developmental Disabilities in South Dakota.  The Wellmark Foundation provided a $48,015 grant to the UCEDD to develop a nutrition education project for individuals with developmental disabilities who have diabetes or are at risk for developing the disease.  Addressing Health Literacy Issues for Adults with Developmental Disabilities will develop nutrition education materials with appropriate readability and literacy levels to enable individuals with cognitive disabilities and diabetes to make healthy lifestyle choices.
  • HRSA Awards Grant to Create a Developmental Clinic on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded a Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant to the Center for Disabilities at the Sanford School of Medicine at The University of South Dakota to This grant will enable the Center to develop the Pine Ridge Reservation: Creating an Early Health Care Community (PRR:CEHCC) by networking and collaborating with local health and developmental service providers in order to replicate a proven successful model for a developmental clinic from the Rosebud Reservation and Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota.
  • Upcoming Activities
    • Fall 2007 Autism Workshop "Differentiated Instruction: Strategies for Meaningful Inclusion & Skill Development for Students with Asperger Syndrome" September 17 - 18, 2007 Sioux Falls, SD Presenter: Teresa Bolick, PhD
    • Training on Deaf-Blindness "Intervention Strategies for Children with Deaf-Blindness and/or Significant Disabilities" September 26 - 27, 2007 Sioux Falls, SD Presenter: Linda Alsop, Ski-High Institute
    • Birth to 3 Conference "Enhancing Services for Infants and Toddlers with Special Needs" October 29 - 30, 2007 Sioux Falls, SD Presenter: Louis Rossetti, PhD

For further information about these activities, email Heather Stettnichs.

News and Activities from the Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (UCEDD)

  • Apple Distinguished Educator.  Bonnie Blagojevic, research associate at the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, has been selected to be an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) for the Class of 2007.  She will travel to California State University at Monterey Bay in late July 2007 for the ADE Summer Institute.  CCIDS Director, Dr. Lucille Zeph noted, "The ADE is highly competitive. It's a great honor to the University and the Center for Bonnie to be recognized. Her experience will enhance the work of the Center."
  • President's Research and Creative Achievement Award.  Dr. Liz Depoy, Co-Coordinator of Disability Studies at CCIDS and Professor of Social Work has been selected to receive the University of Maine 2007 President's Research and Creative Achievement Award.  This is the University of Maine's highest honor for research.  Liz's selection is based on her long and distinguished record of scholarship, her national and international reputation, and her numerous contributions to the University of Maine.  She was jointly nominated for this award by CCIDS and the School of Social Work.
  • Presentation on Campus-wide Accessibility Compliance.  Alan Parks, coordinator of dissemination and technology at CCIDS, presented a workshop, "Using technology to ensure campus-wide accessibility compliance," at the 22nd Annual Technology & Persons with Disabilities conference, sponsored by California State University Northridge (CSUN) in Los Angeles on March 22.  Parks' presentation related the University's efforts at developing and implementing a 508-compliant Web accessibility policy, and the use of HiSoftware and other tools and training to support campus staff that create and maintain accessible University sites.


For further information about these activities, email Alan Parks.

Activities from the Institute on Disability and Human Development (IL UCEDD)

  • 2007 State of the Science in Aging with Developmental Disabilities.  The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Developmental Disabilities (in association with the UCEDD), is sponsoring the "2007 State of the Science in Aging with Developmental Disabilities: Charting Lifespan Trajectories and Supportive Environments for Health Community Living" symposium, on May 21, 2007, in Atlanta, Georgia.  This pre-conference symposium to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities annual meeting will present current knowledge on the social, environmental and technological supports needed to promote the health and community participation of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout their lifetime.
  • Disability, Race and Culture: The State-of-the-Science Conference.  The Center for Capacity Building on Minorities with Disabilities Research will hold an invitation-only "Disability, Race and Culture: The State-of-the-Science" conference in Chicago, July 25 to 27, 2007. The conference is co-sponsored by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR); IL UCEDD; and DePaul University's Department of Psychology.  The goals of the conference are to (1) provide an interactive forum for sharing state of the science research concerning disability, race and culture among researchers, students, service providers and persons of color with disabilities and (2) prepare and publish a book based on conference presentations and perspectives of the participants.

For further information about these activities, email Dr. Mary Kay Rizzolo.

News and Activities from the Institute for Community Inclusion (MA UCEDD)

  • Strategic Planning Around Disability Services.  The State Employment Leadership Network (SELN), a joint program of ICI and the National Association of Directors of State Developmental Disability Services (NASDDDS) held an April Strategy Retreat at ICI. With staff from both ICI and NASDDDS, the project team supports individual member states and the operational needs of the Network. SELN is an interstate collaborative of state developmental disability agencies.  Currently, 14 states have joined SELN and are working to improve employment outcomes in their systems.  The retreat provided an opportunity for the project team to set year 2 goals and implementation strategies.
  • Successful Train-the-Trainer Institute.  The National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP) held a national “Disability Inclusion Train the Trainer Institute” at the UCEDD on April 18th – 21, 2007.  This was the first Institute and included thirty State Commission Disability Coordinators and UCEDD partners.  The participants broadened their skills to train National Service programs to effectively recruit and retain service members and volunteers with disabilities.
  • Workforce Development.  The UCEDD and UMass Boston’s School of Management are sponsoring a Workforce Development Excellence Spring Series.  It will be held at UMass Boston on May 23 in Marlboro, MA on June 13th, and will return to UMass Boston on June 27, 2007.  This event is open to the public.
  • Program Evaluation of VSA arts Program.  Heike Boeltzing and associates have completed their evaluation of the VSA arts and Volkswagen Program.  This program was a national initiative to showcase the talents and accomplishments of young artists with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 25.  A report of their findings is currently in press with VSA arts for release in 2007.
  • Workforce Accommodations.  New England Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program (NERCEP) is running the third part of a training series entitled “Training and Support Strategies.”  Its focus is on identifying learning styles, the role of the job coach, solving problems, skill maintenance and more.  The event takes place at Hampton Beach, NH and is held as in-person training and an online course.

For further information about these activities, email Quinn Barbour.