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Homeless Heroes?

By Hibo Omer, University of Maine UCEDD Trainee and Rafia Tisha, New Hampshire-Maine LEND Trainee

As a newcomer to America, I always wondered how America could have homeless people? I imagined America as a heaven on earth, where everyone is well off and poverty is seen only in museums. Unfortunately, what I learned, and saw was beyond my expectation and left a scar in my heart. When I first moved to the state of Maine, my eyes caught a white woman who was, and still is, homeless. Throughout each season I encountered this woman pushing her belongings in a buggy. During the winter, I helped her to pull the buggy until I reached my destination, always wondering and asking myself many questions. How could this happen in America?



Plain Language Advisory Group

In 2020, the UCEDD Resource Center created a Plain Language Advisory Group. The group met to help the UCEDD Resource Center think about plain language and create plain language adaptations of resources. We want to share with the network about the importance of plain language and some lessons we learned from this work so far.



Supporting Families and Systems that Serve Young Children through the Act Early Response to COVID-19

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) has expanded its National Center on Disability in Public Health efforts with an investment of over $4M in the Act Early Network through an Act Early Network-wide Response to COVID-19 made possible by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 43 State and Territorial Act Early COVID-19 Response Teams were awarded a one-year (September 2020-August 2021) grant opportunity for Support for Early Childhood State Systems Through the Act Early Network.



Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Researcher Documents How COVID-19 Multiplies Stress and Trauma for People with a Disabilities

In a article published in Rehabilitation Psychology, Anjali J. Forber-Pratt, Ph.D., assistant professor of Human and Organizational Development and a Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) member, reviews research on disabilities and COVID-19 to help rehabilitation psychologists mitigate the effects of the added stress of the pandemic. In addition, the work addressed how systemic discrimination against people with disabilities intersects with other forms of inequity.



#WhatsYourPurpose2021 Youth Transition Campaign

The Institute for Disability Studies (IDS) Transition to Adulthood Programs announce a new 2021 campaign, #WhatsYourPurpose2021. Throughout the year, transition leaders including youth/young adults with and without disabilities, their family members and those that serve them will be featured in short videos and social media posts promoting transition successes and challenging others to pursue their goals. Each video and post will highlight young adults and members of their support networks sharing their future life purposes.



A Virtual Mock Developmental Assessment: Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Leadership During COVID-19

The Alaska LEND Without Walls is a program that has embraced video teleconferencing as a method to reach faculty and fellows across the geographically vast state. During the current pandemic, the Alaska LEND program utilized a virtual environment for all activities. As part of the annual fall semester "face to face" seminar, interdisciplinary faculty and fellows participate in a mock developmental assessment.



Dr. Avila (VT LEND) wins the Vermont Public Health Association Public Health Champion Award

Dr.Avila (VT LEND) wins the Vermont Public Health Association Public Health Champion Award The Vermont Public Health Association's Public Health Champion awards are given each year to an individual and a team/organization who has made extraordinary contributions to public health within the state of Vermont. Dr. Avila, VT LEND Program Director, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont (UVM) Larner College of Medicine. She has been involved in numerous federal grants related to substance abuse prevention, mental health promotion, maternal and child health, disability and advocacy, and addressing & eliminating disparities and equities. She has provided state and national level consultation, training and technical assistance on cultural and linguistic competence, health equity, and social justice in healthcare. She has trained more than 10,000 professionals across 27 states in understanding the connection between racial, gender, social, economic, educational, and health disparities and the role social determinants of health play in populations' health outcomes. She has demonstrated commitment to advancing health equity and addressing and eliminating health disparities by inspiring collaboration through strategic partnerships to create a culture of health in Vermont.



Iowa's EPSDT "Care for Kids" Shares Beneficial Telehealth Tips

In Iowa, children and youth who are eligible for Medicaid receive their health care benefits through Iowa EPSDT Care for Kids. Iowa's Department of Human Services (DHS) manages these Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) benefits, and each year, DHS contracts with Iowa's UCEDD to offer information and training to the Medicaid providers who care for kids.

NH-ME LEND logo, Rylin Rodgers, Liz Weintraub and Lauren Blachowiak


Lived Experience and Leadership: Self Advocates and Family Members in the Disability Rights Movement

Each fall, the NH-ME LEND Program conducts a leadership intensive on the history of disability. This year, the session was reworked to cover the history of the disability movement. Trainees were asked to watch the 2020 documentary, Crip Camp, and to reflect upon how this innovative inclusive summer camp for teenagers with disabilities during the 1970's helped to mobilize a generation of disability rights activists and energize the independent living movement.



Planning Accessible Meetings Guide Updated

Planning Accessible Meetings and Conferences: A Suggested Checklist and Guide (PDF) is a free resource developed by the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (ME UCEDD) in partnership with Speaking Up for Us, a Maine organization run by and for adults who live with developmental disabilities.



South Dakota UCEDD Provides National Deaf-Blind Training for Educators

Through a collaboration with the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) and the Center for Disabilities Deaf-Blind Program, an online 4-course training series has been developed titled, Concentration in Deaf-Blindness and High Intensity Support Needs. This series provides an incredible foundation in deaf-blindness, training in communication strategies, assessment and instructional planning and life planning for educators working with students with deaf-blindness and/or students who have high intensity support needs.



Act Early Ohio Initiative

The UCCEDD was awarded a one-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to build upon existing Ohio Act Early Ambassador activities. The goal of the initiative is to increase awareness about the importance of developmental screening in early childhood and tracking of developmental milestones with the support of the evidence-based Learn the Signs Act Early materials developed by the CDC.



CLD Researchers Explore the Effects of COVID Among People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Direct Support Professionals

The Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) at Georgia State University (GSU) received a $25,000 grant from the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) to conduct a mixed-method study exploring the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and the direct support workforce.



Delivering on the Promise of Employment First for Students with Significant Disabilities

The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute - HDI, the Kentucky Department of Education, and the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation are pleased to announce Delivering on the Promise of Employment First for Students with Significant Disabilities, a four-part webinar series designed to support Kentucky school districts in their efforts to create meaningful work experiences leading to competitive integrated employment for students with significant disabilities.



Disability and the Democratic Process

Co-authored by Maureen van Stone, Director, Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities

This election season highlighted the double disparity the disability community faces to engage in the democratic process, as this group is simultaneously fighting for both the right to vote and access to voting. These barriers to voting persist in large part because of the pervasive negative views of disability that challenge societal inclusion.



Disability Reads

Wendy Spoon, Oklahoma LEND Trainee, Parent/Family Discipline

Reading is something my family enjoys. Having a family member with a disability means that we enjoy seeing representation in our book choices. There are a lot of great disability reads out there. Here are just a few that we added over the holiday season.

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