About Us


What is AUCD?
The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is a membership organization that supports and promotes a national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs. Network members consist of:

  • 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD)
  • 60 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) programs
  • 16 Eunice Kennedy Shriver Intellectual and Developmental Disability Research Centers (IDDRC)
  • 12 Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Training Program (DBP)
    (non-members who 
    receive TA)

These programs serve and are located in every U.S. state and territory and are all part of universities or medical centers. They serve as a bridge between the university and the community, bringing together the resources of both to achieve meaningful change.

AUCD supports this national network through:

  • Leadership on major social problems affecting all people living with developmental or other disabilities or special health needs
  • Advocacy with Congress and executive branch agencies that fund and regulate programs used by people with disabilities
  • Networking and partnering with other national organizations to advance the network's national agendas
  • Promoting communication within the network and with other groups by collecting, organizing, and disseminating data on network activities and accomplishments
  • Technical assistance provision on a broad range of topics

What does AUCD do?
Through its members, AUCD is a resource for local, state, national, and international agencies, organizations, and policy makers concerned about people living with developmental and other disabilities and their families. Members engage in a range of interdisciplinary activities including:

  • Exemplary services for children, adults, and families
  • Academic training
  • Basic and applied research
  • Training and technical assistance to schools, communities, and all levels of government
  • Policy advocacy
  • Program evaluation
  • Dissemination of best practices and new information

AUCD programs also train the next generation of leaders in disability-related research, training, service delivery, and policy advocacy to insure that this essential work continues.

How does AUCD do it?
All of our member programs have unique strengths that they share with each other and the greater disability community. Some of our members are exemplary educators. They train professional leaders, individuals with disabilities, and family members in areas such as early care and education, primary health care, special education, and innovative housing and employment programs. Other members excel in basic and applied research, model demonstration programs, systemic reform, and policy analysis. Because these programs work collaboratively, innovations from one program can be rapidly implemented in communities throughout the country—thus affecting more lives than any one program could touch.

By working together, programs engage in significant research that informs national policy and best practices. The network emphasizes national and international implementation of innovations in disability-related education, health care, and supports and services. It offers leadership on major social problems affecting all people with disabilities or special health needs.

Who Directs AUCD?
AUCD is governed by an elected Board of Directors that includes member program professionals and leaders, people with disabilities, and family members. AUCD's organizational and program priorities are guided by a long-range plan developed and regularly updated by this Board of Directors.


pdf File AUCD BYLAWS (152KB) [download]

What is a Developmental Disability?

As defined by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-402), the term "Developmental Disability" means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that:

  • is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or a combination of mental and physical impairments;
  • is manifested before the person attains age 22;
  • results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity:
    • self-care
    • receptive and expressive language
    • learning
    • mobility
    • self-direction
    • capacity for independent living, and
    • economic self-sufficiency;
  • reflects the person's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic care, treatment, or other services which are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated;
  • except that such term when applied to infants and young children means individuals from birth to age five, inclusive, who have substantial developmental delay or specific congenital or acquired conditions with a high probability of resulting in developmental disabilities if services are not provided.