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Archive: What's New



Inclusive, Accessible Health Care the Focus of Free Continuing Medical Education Course

Primary care providers can receive three CME credit hours while learning how to provide better care to their patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

A new Continuing Medical Education (CME) course aimed at facilitating more equitable and accessible health care for patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) is available through the University of Arizona Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities. The CME is a free and self-directed online course for physicians, nurse practitioners, and other licensed health care providers who require continuing education. Course completion grants three CME credit hours toward license renewal.



ANCOR's COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

As a DSP, It's Up to Me! Protect yourself and the people you support

Developed by ANCOR with funding from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), "As a DSP It's Up to Me" recognizes that people with I/DD should be able to live and thrive in their communities. We want them to live where they want to live, with whom they want to live. We want them to have jobs that are fulfilling to them. And we recognize achieving these goals requires isolating people with I/DD from the dangers of COVID-19. With a goal of keeping people with I/DD and the people around them safe and healthy, The COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit was designed with ANCOR members and other community providers in mind. You are an essential partner for this initiative, and these tools were designed for you-to make it as easy as possible for you to engage with your colleagues on the frontlines to get vaccinated.



Wyoming Institute for Disabilities Speech-Language Pathologist Wins Distinguished Educator Award

Wyoming Institute for Disabilities speech-language pathologist has won the Bright Star Award for Distinguished Educators, presented by the Wyoming Governor's Council on Developmental Disability.

Jillian Reiher


CDD Psychologist Makes Going to the Dentist a Team Effort

A psychologist at Iowa's Center for Disabilities and Development worked with a patient to create a successful visit to the pediatric dentistry clinic.



New Certificate in Disability Rights, Policy, and Services (C-DRPS) at Indiana University

A new graduate certificate program, the Certificate in Disability Rights, Policy, and Services (C-DRPS) has been introduced at Indiana University Bloomington because of a partnership between the School of Education, School of Social Work, and the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community (IIDC). The C-DRPS program provides students the opportunity to explore critical concepts impacting the lives of individuals with disabilities across the lifespan.



NH-ME LEND 30th Anniversary Video

The NH-ME LEND Program celebrated its 30th anniversary by creating a 7-minute captioned video that features LEND trainees, alumni, and staff reflecting on what LEND means to them and the impact it has had on their lives. The video was produced by the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability/UCED.



University of Hawaii Center on Disability Studies July 2022 eNewsletter

View the latest issue of the University of Hawaii at Manoa Center on Disability Studies eNewsletter.



Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) Introduces New Toolkits Promoting Neurodiversity and Self-determination in Early Childhood Services

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC)(TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) recently introduced two brand-new educational resources promoting neurodiversity and self-determination in early childhood services. The toolkits were created by the VKC Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorder (TRIAD) and the Vanderbilt Consortium LEND Training Program.



ToTAL Summer Enrichment Academy 2022

For the first time since 2019, the Institute for Disability Studies (IDS) Summer Enrichment Academy provided in-person options to youth and young adults wanting to increase their employability skills. Beginning in 2018, IDS, through its Transition of Teens to Adult Life (ToTAL) Program, has hosted youth and young adults for a multi-week training and internship experience during the summer.



Equitable Health Care for LGBTQIA+ Individuals with Disabilities: A New Frontier for Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) and the Tennessee DD Network

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center leaders serve on the Executive Diversity Council for Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). In Tennessee, the VUMC Program for LGBTQ Health is one of the only networks in the Southeast with health care providers who understand and welcome sexual and gender minorities. However, the Center does not have specific training in disability. We know we must forge a new frontier.



Inclusive, Accessible Health Care the Focus of Free Continuing Medical Education Course

Primary care providers can receive three CME credit hours while learning how to provide better care to their patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

A new Continuing Medical Education (CME) course aimed at facilitating more equitable and accessible health care for patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) is available through the University of Arizona Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities.



Call for Research Project Proposals: National Research Consortium on MH/IDD at the University of New Hampshire

The National Research Consortium (NRC) on Mental Health in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (MH-IDD) is seeking innovation research grant proposals with a focus on improving the health and well-being of individuals with IDD-MH.



Engineering non-hallucinogenic versions of psychedelics to treat psychiatric conditions

By David E. Olson, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine

Psychedlic drugs like MDMA and LSD can promote neuroplasticity and help treat some mental illnesses in autistic adults. To lessen the risk of dangerous side effects, the Olson Lab created safer, non-hallucinogenic psychedelics that show promise in models.

Speed coaching event, UCLA PEERS for Careers program



There will be an estimated 700,000 autistic adults aging into adulthood over the next 10 years. Yet, a staggering 80% of autistic adults are unemployed. The UCLA PEERS for Careers program was developed to address the challenges faced by autistic young adults in their transition from college to career and to create a scalable solution to employment barriers faced by autistic individuals to serve as a model of higher education training for colleges across the country.



Autism characteristics in individuals with Down syndrome

Amanda Dimachkie Nunnally, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Scholar, UC Davis Mind Institute

There is still much to be understood about the presentation of autism symptoms in individuals with Down syndrome, as some of the core characteristics of autism may overlap with intellectual disability. Individuals with Down syndrome and co-occurring autism tend to have more severe rigid and repetitive behaviors and greater challenges with social communication than do individuals with Down syndrome alone. However, the degree to which symptoms can be attributed to each condition remains understudied.



Decline in looking at faces may signal onset of autism in infants

By Devon Gangi, Assistant Project Scientist, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

A new study from UC Davis Mind Institute supports earlier findings that children who were diagnosed with autism at age 3 had a decreased level of eye gaze as infants compared to children without autism. This gives new insights into development trajectories and may help children get identified earlier.



Developing innovative methods to study the human genome

Medium or large changes to the genome are called structural variations (SVs). SVs are tied to many different diseases and conditions. Researchers at UC Davis Mind Institute are developing new models to understand and study SVs.

Alt text: Research participant sits in EEG booth, wearing red and black cap while facing a computer screen.


The brains of children with autism may not always 'see' body language

Noticing and understanding what it means when a person leans into a conversation or takes a step back and crosses their arms is a vital part of human communication. Researchers at the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Rochester have found that children with autism spectrum disorder may not always process body movements effectively, especially if they are distracted by something else.



The role of maternal autoantibody exposure in brain development and behavior in autism

By Matthew Bruce

A recent collaborative effort by MIND Institute Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) investigators Judy Van de Water, Jill Silverman, and Jacqueline Crawley, as well as researchers from Canada and the United Kingdom, used an animal model to evaluate the effects maternal autoantibodies on offspring brain development.



IGROW Project at Texas A&M University Student Highlight

The future is looking pretty sweet for this amazing young lady! M.W. spent her summer exploring the world of baking and bakery ownership with Liz Smith of Country Road Baking Co.



Community Supports in Crisis: No Staff, No Services

All the progress toward community living that has been made in services for people with IDD over decades is now in jeopardy because of catastrophic labor shortages and pervasive high turnover rates in the direct support workforce. This white paper from ICI and its partners at HSRI and NASDDDS explores the depth of the crisis in the workforce and the impact on people with IDD and sounds the alarm about the nature and scope of the workforce crisis in the IDD service system.



Fall CampLIFE to Take Place October 21-23, Registration to Begin August 1

LIFE - it stands for Leadership, Independence and Friends through Experiences, and it's what embodies the spirit of Camp LIFE, a unique and inclusive camping adventure for children with disabilities and their siblings. Held twice a year at the barrier-free facilities of Camp For All in Burton, Texas, Camp LIFE provides recreation for children ages 5 and up with disabilities and their siblings while offering a weekend of respite for their parents.



MHMR Authority of Brazos Valley to provide Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

MHMR Authority of Brazos Valley is working with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) IDD-BH Unit to administer and disperse Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Pandemic Emergency Assistance Funds (PEAF), which was authorized through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (HR 1319). The TANF PEAF addresses housing and ancillary needs of needy families in which dependent children have or reside with a family who has a diagnosis of a mental health condition, intellectual or developmental disability (IDD), and/or substance use disorder and who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through the provision of direct financial assistance or services aimed at short-term stabilization efforts for families.



Project TAPP Now Offering Professional Development for Teaching Teams at No Cost

Texas A&M University's Project TAPP is excited to provide professional development for teacher and paraprofessional teams working with students with autism spectrum disorder. Participants will receive two-days of PD workshops in autism and. related interventions and follow-up support during the school year.



2022 AUCD Board Elections: Nominations Requested

Deadline: September 9, 2022

AUCD is currently seeking nominations to the AUCD Board of Directors for a three-year term beginning in November 2022.



KU Multidisciplinary Team Awarded Research Rising Grant

The University of Kansas (KU) has selected a proposal submitted by the KU Life Span Institute for funding under the Research Rising initiative. The goal of the project, Advancing Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research at KU, is to transform understanding of and support for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.



Maine LEND Leadership at Health Careers Camp

The Maine LEND program led two one-hour activity sessions focused on the work of health professionals who work with children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families at the Annual Health Careers Explorations Camp at the University of New England.



OHSU UCEDD Addresses Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities

In 2021, the Oregon Health & Science University UCEDD partnered with the University of Southern California UCEDD at Children's Hospital Los Angeles to host an Emergency Preparedness webinar for people with disabilities. Then, after a winter of severe storms and early extreme heat waves in the Pacific Northwest, the OHSU UCEDD hosted a second webinar in 2022.



RTC:Rural - Participatory Curriculum Development for Health and Independent Living for Disabled People: A Qualitative Study of Participant Experiences

A host of RTC:Rural researchers worked with Center for Independent Living staff members through participatory curriculum development to create and update curriculum for in-person, web-based delivery. Engaging members of the intended audiences in the curriculum development process in this way is a relatively new approach to health promotion. Developing curriculum for and with disabled people had not previously been done, and is shown to be a valuable, worthwhile approach.

A bearded man with a beanie and scarf sits in profile. He appears sad.


Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) ASD Study Explores Link Between Repetitive Motion, Depression

Research into depression risk and resilience factors for adults with ASD is also critical to guide proper screening and intervention efforts, said Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) member Jessica Schwartzman, Ph.D., author on a Frontiers in Psychiatry paper that examined the connection between repetitive behaviors and depression in autistic adults.



Differences in Brain Wiring Associated With Changes in Autism Symptoms Across Childhood, Finds UC Davis

Colleagues at California's IDDRC at UC Davis recently published a study that helps to explain differences in the development of the brain's wiring in autism, and how these differences are associated with changes in autism symptoms across childhood. This recent study leveraged diffusion weighted MRI scans from the UC Davis Autism Phenome Project in order to chart the developmental course of white matter pathways in autism compared to typical development. They found that in autism, white matter differences in these pathways emerge over early childhood due to slower white matter development, which was found to be associated with a trajectory of increasing autism characteristics.



The Story Behind Maternal Autoantibody Related Autism (MARA)

During pregnancy, twenty-three percent of mothers of children diagnosed with autism had the presence of "autoantibodies" that can attach to proteins in a developing fetus's brain, compared to less than one percent of mothers whose children do not have autism. The UC Davis MIND Institute Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC) used a new technology to examine specific patterns of these autoantibodies and their effects and found that all eight antibody patterns were associated with an outcome of autism in a child. The hope is that testing for Maternal Autoantibody Related Austim (MARA) autoantibody patterns can be used to assess the likelihood of a child having autism, in order to help families to prepare for supports and services their child may need.



Columbia University Seeks Participants for Focus Group

Columbia University is seeking participants for a study that explores issues of trust in a type of medical research called "precision medicine research." The study looks at a person's genetics, environment, and lifestyle. It can help physicians improve prevention and diagnosis of diseases and develop new treatments.



Bringing Evidence-based Intervention Strategies to Autistic Students in Public Schools Statewide: The California Autism Professional Training and Information Network (CAPTAIN)

The California Autism Professional Training and Information Network (CAPTAIN) statewide initiative helps educators use evidence-based strategies with autistic students. A recent study from AUCD's IDDRC, UC Davis Mind Institute and San Diego State University found that teachers trained by CAPTAIN improved in their knowledge, attitudes, ad classroom ratings.



Developing Digital Telehealth Assessments for Autism: Increasing access to early identification

While autism is becoming better understood, families do not always get prompt referral to appropriate services. Using video telecommunication technologies such as Zoom, families are able to connect with experts and access autism evaluations from their own homes. Importantly, developing a telehealth-based assessment for autism will increase access for families in rural and low-resourced areas.Researchers at UC Davis Mind Institute(an AUCD network member) developed a telehealth early evaluation system to screen infants for autism. They hope to increase access for families in rural and low-resourced areas. Read more



IDRPP Research Offers Skills List for College-bound Students with Intellectual Disabilities

Are you wondering what non-academic skills a college-bound student with intellectual disabilities should have before entering an inclusive program? AUCD's IDDRC, the Institute for Disability Research, Policy & Practice in has research on that.



CDC-AUCD Leadership Opportunity: Act Early Ambassadors-State or Territorial Liaisons to CDC's "Learn the Signs. Act Early." Program

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) announce a funding opportunity for Act Early Ambassadors to work with CDC's "Learn the Signs. Act Early."



Institute for Disability Research, Policy & Practice EDI Coach Reflects on the Places Where Disability and Diversity Meet

Institute for Disability Research, Policy & Practice (IDRPP) is home to one of six equity, diversity and inclusion coaches who advise the nation's university-based centers on disability. Dr. Eduardo Ortiz's role with the Associated University Centers on Disability lasts through September 29. But he said work on understanding diversity and its intersection with disability should-and will-continue much farther into the future at IDRPP



RTC:Rural - Creating Rural Community Outreach Materials Related to COVID-19 and Disability

RTC:Rural researchers have worked with a rural disability stakeholder group to develop a list of recommendations specifically for rural outreach. Researchers packaged this feedback into Practice Guidelines for Creating Rural Community Outreach Materials Related to COVID-19 and Disability.



Statement of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities on Reproductive Health

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) issues the following statement. First and foremost, AUCD recognizes the significance and complexity of the impact of the decision on all people, including those with disabilities. For many, this is deeply personal. AUCD fully supports and advocates for people with disabilities to have the right and freedom to make their own decisions about healthcare.



Statement on Gun Violence and Mass Shootings to Ensure the Safety of People with Disabilities

AUCD is concerned about the increased incidence of mass shootings and gun violence in the past few years, and we are grateful for the bipartisan efforts to address it. We recognize this issue is a complex balancing act of personal freedom and collective safety in the United States. However, we must also acknowledge that among developed economies, the United States has the highest level of gun violence, gun shots are the leading cause of death for children, and many of these deaths occur at home or in other homes and not in schools or mass shootings.



Walking Gives the Brain a 'Step-up' in Function for Some

It has long been thought that when walking is combined with a task - both suffer. Researchers at AUCD's Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC), Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Rochester found that this is not always the case. Some young and healthy people improve performance on cognitive tasks while walking by changing the use of neural resources. However, this does not necessarily mean you should work on a big assignment while walking off that cake from the night before.

Image of Pine Ridge hills with light blue sky above the hills.


Finding Our Place in the World

Even though Tribal Nations are exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), some tribes have adopted ordinances that protect members with disabilities.



Mailman Center ADA Award

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has awarded Alan M. Delamater, Ph.D., ABPP, director of research at the University of Miami Mailman Center for Child Development, the Richard R. Rubin Award one of the highest awards attainable by a behavioral scientist in the field of diabetes.

Pictured left to right: Michael Bittar, Susan Stotzer, Laura Avery, Jeffrey Strange, Superintendent Dr. Tom Leonard. Not pictured: Kimberly Jones, Rusty Tolliver


PATHS Graduate, Michael Bittar, receives EANSPIRATION Award Educational Impact

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine's Board on Children, Youth and Families will host a 3-day virtual workshop focused on Supporting Children with Disabilities, Lessons from the Pandemic. The event is designed to explore promising approaches and innovative strategies employed during the pandemic to address challenges faced by children with disabilities and their families, including access to clinical service and treatment needs, home caregiving, and mental health treatment with an emphasis on underserved/under resourced children and families. In addition, the workshop will consider policies and/or practices that might be sustained or implemented beyond the pandemic to support children with disabilities and their families.



2021 PATHS Graduate, Brian Berg, passed his CDA license exam and in-class evaluation

The year of COVID (2020-2021) did not stop the PATHS program from teaching students, like Brian Berg, the skills needed to have successful and independent lives. The PATHS Program was forced to transition to an online program, but through zoom trainings and student online interactions the program experienced another successful year.



Four Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) TRIAD Practices Accepted into AMCHP Innovations Hub; One selected as award-winner

Four best practices emerging from the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (VKC TRIAD) were accepted into the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) Innovations Hub Database. The Hub is an online platform that provides maternal and child health professionals and advocates with a variety of resources, including a searchable repository of "what's working" in the maternal and child health field.



Georgetown UCEDD Names New Information Dissemination Coordinator

The Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (GUCEDD) has hired a new Information Dissemination & Product Development Coordinator, Jalyn Marks, to lead an effort to partner with disabled persons, their families, and the communities in which they live in the District of Columbia to share their stories of lived disability experiences. These stories will inform policy makers, legislators, and other constituency groups to promote change within the current system of supports and services in DC.



Hawai'i UCEDD June 2022 eNewsletter Release

Highlighting Employment First Bill passing; Summer ASD Swim Facts with Dr. Kelle Murphy; 'Worry Time' Tips with Dr. Maya Matheis; Parent Resources Issues with Sandra Oshiro, Meriah Nichols, and Susan Rocco and SPIN (CDS Community Advisory Council members and partners); Dr. Thomas Conway's Retirement; featured artist Eben Hooey; Teen Survey and much more!



Herron Named Interim Director of the Early Childhood Center at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community

Katie Herron, research scientist with the Institute's Early Childhood Center, has been appointed as interim director of the center. Herron is replacing Michael Conn-Powers, who has retired after serving as the center's director for 28 years. Herron has been with the institute for nearly a decade and brings her extensive background in psychology and belief in the center's research-to-practice mission to the role.



Inclusive Pre-K Classrooms: Unlocking Potential

Ms. Diane Appel, Dr. Rebecca Landa, Ms. Shay Roemmich and Ms. Carrie Zetlmeisl were awarded funding from the Maryland State Department of Education for the Prekindergarten Expansion Grant Program at Kennedy Krieger Institute's Center for Autism and Related Disorders. This was one of only 50 grants awarded in a pool of 150 applicants for the 2022-2023 school year and we are thrilled that it enables us to further our mission of equity, diversity and inclusion at CARD



Iowa LEND Trainees Explore the Intersection of Mental Health, Disability, and Incarceration

This year, 27 trainees completed the Iowa Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (Iowa LEND) program. Their graduation ceremony was held on May 5, two days after they had presented at the third annual virtual Iowa LEND Research Poster Symposium. As in previous years, the Symposium provided an impressive display of the talent, hard work and dedication of these emerging leaders.



Louisiana LEND Scholars Recognized with Allied Health Honors

Louisiana's UCEDD, LSUHSC Human Development Center, is proud to see Louisiana LEND scholars receive honors from the LSU Health Sciences Center School of Allied Health Professions as they completed their respective programs on May 19th.



MN LEND 2021-22: "We Grew and Learned from One Another"

From developing more inclusive 4-H programs to identifying best practices in teaching medical and dental students about intellectual and developmental disabilities, the 2021-22 MN LEND fellows made significant contributions. On May 19, the program celebrated their accomplishments.



New IDDRC Twitter Account

The (University of Iowa) Hawk-IDDRC has a new Twitter account! Check out @Hawk_IDDRC and follow us! One of only 15 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers in the country, the Hawk-IDDRC is part of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD).



NH-ME LEND, Dartmouth Health, and Northeast Regional LEND Consortium Host Tenth Annual Spring Conference

On May 9, 2022 over 150 interdisciplinary professionals from the Northeast Region participated virtually in the 10th annual spring conference "Trauma in Children and Youth with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities: Impact and Evidence Based Interventions".



PATHS Program Welcomes New and Returning Students

On June 19th, we will be welcoming 13 new amazing students and on June 20th we will be welcoming back 15 amazing students from our first two-year cohort. Both cohorts will be running simultaneously and our 2nd year cohort is super excited and cannot wait to start mentoring our newbies coming in. Both cohorts will learn valuable skills related to employment, self-determination, self-advocacy, and independent living.



Successful Grant Submission to AIR-P

Dr. Calliope Holingue and Ms. Margaret (Maggie) Johnson received an "AIR-P Scholars & Pilot and Feasibility grant" for their submission titled "Recommendations for Improving Gastrointestinal Health among Autistic Adults: A Qualitative Community-Based Participatory Study". Calliope Holingue is an assistant professor at Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Maggie Johnson is a traveling nurse, currently based in Atlanta, Georgia, who will be starting her PhD at Emory School of Nursing this fall.



The Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute Kicks off Meaningful Conversations with Autistic Self-Advocates

The Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute kicked off monthly Meaningful Conversations with autistic self-advocates on June 8, 2022. In the inaugural session, our guest was Ms. Katelyn Szymanski. Ms. Szymanski is a Behavior Associate at Itineris in Baltimore, MD, and has just completed undergraduate training in social work.



The University of Cincinnati UCCEDD Vision Read on Ohio Senate Floor

The University of Cincinnati Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCCEDD)'s vision was read on the Ohio Senate floor on May 25. Senator Antonio referenced our vision as she encouraged the Senate to pass SB202 Prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in parenting.



Traumatic Brain Injury Toolkit for Emotional Self-Regulation Project

The TBI Toolkit for Emotional Self-Regulation project aims to connect individuals with TBIs to assistive technology that can help them better identify and understand their emotional rhythms and gain awareness of their emotions.

(L-R) Flannery Currin, Assistive Technology and Family trainee, and Sofie Dollison, Public Health trainee


Two Iowa LEND Graduates Named 2022 Healy Award Recipients

Two graduates of the Iowa LEND program were recently named the 2022 recipients of the Alfred Healy Leadership Award in Developmental Disabilities. Each year, Iowa's UCEDD awards a trainee, or trainees, who are nominated by LEND core faculty after completing the LEND program with distinction. This year's recipients are Flannery Currin, Assistive Technology and Family trainee, and Sofie Dollison, Public Health trainee. Nominees share how the LEND program has demonstrated the importance of family-centered, coordinated, and culturally competent care, for individuals with disabilities and families. They also describe their future career plans and proposed leadership activities, which the award will fund.



UK Human Development Institute Resources Formally Recommended by American Academy of Pediatrics for Families of Infants with Down Syndrome

In a clinical report released on April 18, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended resources administered by the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute to pediatricians across the nation.



Horticultural Options in Plant Sciences (HOPS) Holds Graduation

The HOPS Project at Texas A&M University is a two semester training program to provide instruction and support for individuals with disabilities to gain the necessary skills and experiences to work in the horticulture industry. This first year, they had 8 students graduate from the program. Victoria Lynn Arevalo, Chloe Rose Mallette, Noah Samuel Martin, Kayley Marie McLean, Christopher William Green Pizana, Kylee Jean Rosier, Sofia Angelina Montemayor Thomas, and Breionna Lachea Toliver.



Inclusive Postsecondary Education (IPSE) Day

On May 15, 2022, the IOD and UNH-4U celebrated Inclusive Postsecondary Education (IPSE) Day. IPSE Day is a day to raise awareness and spread the word about inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) options for students with intellectual disabilities. IPSE means that students with intellectual disabilities can go to college, regardless of their test scores and high school diplomas, just like their peers and siblings.



IOD Received a Lifetime Achievement UNH Sustainability Award

On May 10, 2022, the IOD received a Lifetime Achievement UNH Sustainability Award in the staff category. The Sustainability Awards program at UNH celebrates and incentivizes individuals and teams doing important sustainability research, curriculum development and teaching, campus initiatives and culture, and external engagement work across and beyond the university.



Mailman Center Associate Director Receives Highest Honor in from the American Occupational Therapy Association

Douglene Jackson, Ph.D., OTR/L, LMT, ATP, assistant professor and associate director of community engagement at the Mailman Center for Child Development, has received the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Award of Merit and Roster of Fellows Award at the organization�s 2022 Annual Conference and Expo.



NH Leadership Series Graduate Receives SAR-TAC Fellowship

Nathaniel Livernois '22, has received a prestigious fellowship from the Self Advocates Becoming Empowered and ACL's Administration on Disabilities. The fellowship provides full funding for six self-advocates to carry out independently designed self-advocacy leadership and policy-related projects with host organizations.



Retiring Va-LEND Faculty Member Leaves with a Song

By Jennifer Drummond

During her time at Va-LEND, Power-deFur shared a couple of her fondest memories which included working with Va-LEND's interdisciplinary clinics, which are a core part of the curriculum at Va-LEND and the collaborative discussions during the in-person faculty meetings. Working with Hayes E. Willis Health Center, of Richmond, we frequently worked with Spanish interpreters/brokers and relied on their input to develop a meaningful plan.



Steven Beetstra, DDS, MHSA Receives Award

Congratulations to Dr. Stephen Beetstra, Program Director of Dental Services at the Ohio State University Nisonger Center, for receiving the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Special Care Dentistry Association!!



The Ohio State University Nisonger Center's Christine Brown becomes Ambassador for Charting the LifeCourse

Christine Brown, Clinical Research Assistant at the Ohio State University Nisonger Center, has completed the Ambassador training program through Charting the LifeCourse. She is now a full-fledged Ambassador and will be working with the Family Resource Network of Ohio to help educate and help self-advocates utilize the framework and tools of Charting the LifeCourse. Congratulations Christine!



WI LEND Celebrates 10 Years of Welcoming Disability Advocates

Wisconsin's Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (WI LEND) program is proud to celebrate the tenth anniversary of graduating disability advocates as LEND trainees! WI LEND offers interdisciplinary and leadership training to over 30 trainees a year across more than a dozen disciplines, including disability advocates (persons with a developmental disability) and family (family members of a person with a developmental disability).



MI-DDI Co-hosts Vaccination, Health Clinic for People with Disabilities and their Families

The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute (MI-DDI) co-sponsored a health and resource fair with Disability Rights Michigan, as a part of the Michigan Vaccination Partners. Here, a new ADA-compliant Wayne Health Mobile Unit offered vaccinations and boosters, as well as diabetes, cholesterol and kidney function screenings; blood pressure screenings; COVID-19 testing; HIV testing; mental health screenings; and referrals to health and care resources in the community.



Call for Participation: Understanding Parent or Guardian Perspectives on COVID-19 Testing in Schools

We invite you to participate in a research study being conducted by investigators from Washington University in St. Louis and Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore.

The purpose of this study is to identify the issues most critical to student COVID-19 testing in schools. Questions are asked about family's well-being and child's school experience during the era of COVID-19.



MN LEND Fellow Teaches People with IDD to Write Their Stories

Cow Tipping Press founder Bryan Boyce (MNLEND, 2020-21) recently wrapped another series of the organization's writing courses for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), bringing the cumulative number of students served to nearly 600. Through networking conversations with fellow MNLEND alumni, Boyce has begun offering courses beyond Minnesota's borders, a result of the surge in interest for online learning due to the pandemic. Most of the coursework can be completed online, but the Cow Tipping team goes on location at the end to present published books featuring students' work and celebrate the experience.



Translational Research in Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia

New research out of Boston Children's Hospital-one of AUCD's Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRCs)-provides new insight into a group of genetic diseases called hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs). Features of HSPs include progressive motor impairment and moderate to severe intellectual disability.



2022 Emerging Leaders Map: Supporting Resiliency and Self-Determination for All

This interactive map highlights Emerging Leaders from across the country. Check out what emerging leaders across the country are doing to support resilience and self-determination.

NH-ME LEND staff and trainees gather for a group photo.


LEND Capstone Poster Session and Celebration

On May 6, 2022, 17 trainees from the 2021-2022 NH-ME LEND program shared their scholarship and leadership development during the annual Capstone Poster Session and Celebration. The trainees' posters showcased their leadership development through community placements in settings that included state agencies, community health providers, advocacy organizations, and partners in each state's developmental disabilities network. The opening remarks were provided by Will Clyde, Associate Dean of the UNH Graduate School, followed by NH-ME LEND Program Director Betsy Humphreys. Congratulations to the graduates!



Visual System Brain Development Implicated in Infants who Develop Autism

Researchers at AUCD's Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC), Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, analyzed magnetic resonance images collected during infancy from younger siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). They found that brain changes in the size, white matter integrity and functional connectivity of the visual processing systems of six-month olds are evident well before they show symptoms of autism as toddlers, and related to the severity of autism traits in their older ASD siblings, as reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry.



Mentoring Autism Researchers to Advance Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

At the Conference on Research Innovations in Early Intervention in San Diego, February 2022, Dr. Landa brought together current and past mentees to support their career development and foster exchanges between early investigators from diverse cultural, racial, and geographic backgrounds. Each of the mentees had the honor of presenting cutting edge research at this very prestigious scientific meeting.



Bold Beauty Project Hosts its First College Edition at the University of Miami

The Bold Beauty Project, founded by the Mailman Center for Child Development's Leadership Training Initiatives Director Shelly Baer, LCSW, hosted its first college edition exhibition at the University of Miami on March 27th. The event was held in collaboration with the University of Miami chapter of Girl Up, an international United Nations Foundation organization that seeks to empower at-risk girls around the world.



Listen to "Living That MI-LEND Life" from MI-DDI's podcast, Possibilities

In this episode of Possibilities, listen to Lily Slavin, MI-LEND Cohort 2020-2021, talk about her experience with the program and how it creates tomorrow's leaders in the disability community.



Maine UCEDD Celebrates the Achievements of 22 Interdisciplinary Disability Studies Graduates

Twenty-two University of Maine students were honored on April 26th during the 2022 Interdisciplinary Disability Studies Celebration of Achievement. Dr. Alan Cobo-Lewis, Director of the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (ME UCEDD) and Associate Professor of Psychology delivered the opening welcome.



Promoting Learn the Signs, Act Early in the Latinx communities of Minnesota

Andrea Castillo is a Family and Caregiver Empowerment Specialist at CLUES (Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio) and University of Minnesota LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) fellow mentored by Dr. Jennifer Hall-Lande, CDC Act Early Ambassador to Minnesota. Andrea's LEND project was to promote the public health campaign Learn the Signs, Act Early (LTSAE) to improve early identification of developmental delays and disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).



Everything I Needed to Know About Leadership I Learned from the NJLEND Cohort Crest Project

Dominique Reminick, MA (she/her); NJLEND Psychology Fellow 2021-2022

Of the multitude of meaningful didactic and experiential learning activities afforded by the NJLEND program, none is quite as unique as the Cohort Crest project. This project, which runs the span of the fellowship, entails the cohort working together as a group to create a crest, or emblem of some sort, which represents our communal identity as a cohort. While a seemingly simple idea, this activity serves several purposes (both overt and covert) that help us to strengthen and hone our skills as emerging leaders.

Tom, left, and his brother Joe attending a Kansas City Chiefs-Denver Bronocs game


Expecting Acceptance: A Parent's Perspective

Story written by parent of autistic teen for Autism Acceptance Month

Nine years ago, when my son first spent a week at the Munroe-Meyer Institute's Camp Munroe, I hoped he would make a friend. As Autism Acceptance Month begins, my son -- who was diagnosed on the autism spectrum about 13 years ago -- is a member of his school's JRTOC Corps. He is working toward becoming an Eagle Scout.



Indiana LEND Psychology Trainee Amani Khalil was Awarded the Division 33 APA Student Research Award

Indiana LEND psychology trainee Amani Khalil was awarded the Division 33 APA Student Research Award and will present her poster at the APA conference in Minneapolis in August. Amani Khalil is a PhD Candidate in Counseling Psychology at Purdue University. Her poster is titled "Help-Seeking Barriers for Racial-Ethnic Minority Caregivers Accessing Autism Interventions: A Systematic Review" and shares about work related to both her LEND leadership project and her dissertation.

Sydney Walls, MPH


Kansas LEND Trainee Wins HRSA Public Health Award and is a Finalist at a Research Competition for Her Project about the Deficit of IDD Knowledge in Medical Education

Sydney Walls, a Kansas LEND Public Health Trainee, conducted public health research over the deficit of intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) knowledge in family medicine providers at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC). Sydney's research earned her the Midwestern Public Health Training Center Field Placement Award (a U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration program), and her presentation over her findings at KUMC's Student Research Forum was also awarded first place in her platform and was a finalist out of over 100 projects.



Munroe-Meyer Institute Names New Director of Autism Center

Seeing a perfect fit with her professional expertise and interests, Alice Shillingsburg, PhD, will join the UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute as its new director of the integrated Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (iCASD). Dr. Shillingsburg's hiring fulfills MMI's goal to recruit a nationally recognized expert in autism to iCASD and its redesigned home in the new Munroe-Meyer Institute building.



Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Welcomes Adithyan Rajaraman as new TRIAD Director of Behavior Analysis Research

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) Treatment & Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (VKC TRIAD) announces the hiring of Adithyan Rajaraman, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA, as Director of Behavior Analysis Research. As an assistant professor in Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a VKC investigator, Dr. Rajaraman will lead the research and dissemination of TRIAD's innovative behavior analytic services and the growing portfolio of related projects



Aggieland Sustainability Alliance Awards Dr. Marcia Montegue a the 2021 Faculty Champion

From its inception as a land-grant institution in 1876 to the additional sea-grant and space-grant designations, Texas A&M University has been a leader in research and education for how we interact with and impact our environment. In March 2008, The Office of Sustainability was founded to enhance these efforts by creating a culture of sustainability in Aggieland.



Center on Disability and Development receives 2022 Texas A&M University President's Meritorious Service Team Award

The University President will present these prestigious awards to recognize 25 outstanding individuals, two outstanding teams and two supervisors for demonstrating their commitment to the Aggie core values of respect, excellence, leadership, loyalty, integrity and selfless service.



Center Staff Awarded Aggie Green Fund Micro-Grant

The Center staff, Dr. Jacqueline Turner, Tanya Baker, Jessica Dees and Aimee Day, were awarded a micro-grant from the Aggie Green Fund to replace the water fountain on the 6th floor of Harrington Tower with a Bottle Filling Water Station.



Collaboration between The Ohio State University Nisonger Center and Boundless Health, Inc

The OSU Nisonger Center is helping Boundless Health, Inc create a dental program to increase access to dental care for individuals with IDD. Dr. Beetstra, the dental program director at the Nisonger Center, discusses how the relationship is a win-win-win for the institutions and the community.

MNLEND Fellow Julie Li Yang is wearing a facemask and standing next to a table with Help Me Grow children's books, toys, and paper resources.


Minnesota LEND Fellow Engages with Local Hmong Community

This spring, MNLEND Community Fellow Julie Li Yang is engaging in outreach activities to promote Help Me Grow resources with the Hmong community in the Twin Cities and surrounding area. Yang is mentored by Dr. Jennifer Hall-Lande in the Minnesota LEND program at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) at the University of Minnesota. By promoting early monitoring and early developmental screening resources at tabling events and through social media, Yang found that parents are often reluctant to discuss early intervention services due to the shame and stigma surrounding autism diagnosis, specific to the Hmong community.



WI LEND Adds Family and Disability Advocacy Peer Mentors to Training Team

WI LEND, located at the Waisman Center UCEDD, introduced a new staff role of Peer Mentor at the beginning of the new grant funding cycle. Ida Winters and Stasia Wilson, both recent graduates of the WI LEND program, were hired to fill the roles of Family Peer Mentor and Disability Advocacy Peer Mentor, respectively. �Ida and Stasia were both standout trainees, and we are so excited to add them both to our staff, said the Training Director, Gail Chodron. WI LEND has had trainees and staff in the family discipline for over 15 years, and added self-advocacy trainees 10 years ago.



WRP School Outreach Request

Register for the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) to provide employment opportunities to your students with disabilities! This free program connects postsecondary students and recent graduates with disabilities to federal employers who are seeking to hire for internship and full-time positions. The WRP is managed by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Defense.



Get featured on the 2022 Emerging Leaders Map. Nominate Yourself Today!

AUCD is excited to announce that recruitment is now open for the 2022 AUCD Emerging Leaders Map! This year's theme is "Supporting Resiliency and Self-Determination for All."



When it comes to the rarest of diseases, the diagnosis isn't the answer - it's just the starting point

Medical geneticist Melissa Wasserstein, MD, and neuroscientist Steven Walkley, DVM, PhD, explain how they established Gene Teams, in which parents, physicians, and interested scientists gather to share knowledge and experiences of Rare Disease.