Institute on Disabilities at Temple University (PA UCEDD) to Start Six New Projects

October 2, 2012

The institute on Disabilities at Temple University, College of Education, has been awarded six new grants, beginning in the early summer, addressing a wide range of topics, goals and outcomes.

Parent Leadership in Inclusive Education

Parent Leadership in Inclusive Education, the first of four grants funded by The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council (PADDC), targets parents of children with disabilities being educated outside of the traditional public school system - at home, in cyber charter schools, charter, private and parochial schools. The number of children with developmental disabilities educated in non-traditional settings is growing exponentially and with it, an unmet need for families to be supported in achieving an inclusive education for their children.

In collaboration with Pennsylvania's Education for All Coalition, the Institute will develop a Family Leadership Development Initiative for families to provide best practices knowledge and strategies in inclusive education. Participants will come away with the core knowledge of best practices in inclusive education, and will develop the leadership skills necessary to work collaboratively within their educational communities to help insure full educational inclusion for their child.

Criminal Justice Disability Awareness Project

First Responders Awareness Project

Also funded by the PADDC is the Criminal Justice Disability Awareness project and the First Responders Awareness Project. The Criminal Justice Disability Awareness project partners the Institute with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and Diana T. Myers and Associates, Inc., to develop a training curriculum for personnel working within the criminal justice system. The curriculum will focus on issues related to disability awareness, stereotypes, rights, and etiquette and will attempt to address long-held stereotypes of people with disabilities being predisposed to crime and "biologically inferior."

The Institute is the lead on the First Responders Disability Awareness project, which will develop, produce and distribute a curriculum to enable first responders to accommodate the needs of people with a wide range of disabilities.

In the past several years, the region and the nation has endured a series of disasters, which have had a great impact the lives of people with disabilities. Along with partners Self-Advocates United As 1, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the Center for Disabilities Studies, University of Delaware, and Philadelphia Coordinated Health Care, a curriculum will be developed to help first responders better understand how fire, medical, utility and weather emergencies, as well as other disasters affect people with disabilities. The ultimate goal of the training is to minimize the risk of turning such emergencies into tragic disasters.

Transitions in Aging and Adulthood for People with Developmental Disabilities

The goal of the fourth and final grant awarded to the Institute by the PADDC, Transitions in Aging and Adulthood for People with Developmental Disabilities, is to measure satisfaction levels of services provided to aging adults with disabilities. Existing qualitative research has been conducted predominately with young persons with disabilities, and their families and support staff. Through this project, the Institute and its partner, Therapeutic Recreation in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Temple University, will work to bridge this information gap by developing and distributing two surveys throughout the Commonwealth. The collected data will be analyzed and a set of recommendations derived to help improve the services provided to aging individuals with developmental disabilities.

Planning Grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage

In May, the Institute was awarded a $75,000 planning grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Heritage Philadelphia Program. The Institute will explore the concept of public performance to engage the larger community in a dialogue around disability issues and contribute to the greater body of knowledge about the experience of intellectual disability, and its impact on families and communities.

Working in partnership with theater director David Bradley and playwright Suli Holum, the Institute will create a public performance inspired by the oral histories collected for Visionary Voices. For nearly a year, Visionary Voices has been interviewing individuals who played a significant role in Pennsylvania's Intellectual Disabilities Movement. By the end of 2012, 50 stories will be featured on the Visionary Voices website. These interviews will provide primary source material for a public performance, which will dramatize the stories of Pennsylvanians-especially mothers-who became "accidental warriors" in the intellectual disability rights movement.

National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program

Finally, the Institute has been awarded $325,000 by the Federal Communications Commission in partnership with the Governmental Affairs Bureau, to be Pennsylvania's designated agency for its National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program. The program will serve deaf-blind Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth to provide access to communication technology, including Internet options, in the home, school, office and community.

The Institute is one of 53 entities that have been named as "certified programs" authorized to distribute equipment in each of the 50 states during this two-year long pilot program. In addition to distributing equipment to qualified residents, Pennsylvania's program will provide needs assessment, equipment delivery, installation, training and support.

These projects join the 20 existing, vital programs already thriving at the Institute. For more information, visit the Institute's website: