Cultural Competency & Inclusion


Recognizing and valuing the unique perspectives of people, identities, and points of view, and doing so in an environment where all people feel safe and respected is an important part of our work to address and eliminate barriers to systems and services. Following are select resources compiled and/or created by AUCD to increase diversity and ensure cultural and linguistic competence in our publications and events. AUCD members and the general public are encouraged to read, cite, and implement these ideas in their work.


Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit

Recently, AUCD rolled out its Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit. The Toolkit is a website that provides concrete objectives, strategies, and resources to help you realize your goals related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural and linguistic competence. Strategies and resources are aligned with the roles of three specific audiences, one of which, university-based centers, is designed to cater directly to Leadership in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) and University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD) programs.


Embedding Cultural Diversity and Cultural and Linguistic Competence:
A Guide for UCEDD Curricula and Training Activities Project

This project is designed to research, develop, and disseminate a set or resources for the national network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) to embed cultural diversity and cultural and linguistic competence (CLC) in their curricula and training activities. The project will build the capacity of network programs to embed widely accepted CLC policies, structures, and practices across the four UCEDD core functions of pre-service training and continuing education, community services, research, and information dissemination. The project has a special focus on unserved and underserved communities in the United States, its territories, and tribal communities. This project is conducted in collaboration with key stakeholders in the UCEDD network and funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (insert link).


ITAC Training Toolbox - Cultural and Linguistic Competence

This resource makes it easy for program staff to browse and share both proven and innovative training strategies/activities on a variety of topics relevant to 

leadership and Maternal and Child Health. In the Toolbox, training strategies are categorized by topic, making it easy for you to browse different methods other programs use to teach important concepts to their trainees. You can also save strategies you feel could be applicable in your program to a folder of your personal favorites.


What's New


AIR-B Network Activities

The Autism Intervention Research Network for Behavioral Health (AIR-B) provides a free annual community conference to increase awareness of autism services, current research, and evidence-based interventions in the local regions of each of its network partners: University of Pennsylvania, UC Davis MIND Institute, University of Rochester, and University of California, Los Angeles. Experts in the network share their expertise and invite other prominent autism advocates to discuss topics ranging from non-clinical based autism interventions, to parent advocacy, to school-based transition supports for students with autism.


Updates from the State Public Health Autism Resource Center

This cohort has continued participating in monthly technical assistance calls, and through these calls, there has been a lot of discussion around grantee needs for more support and guidance around the Telehealth/education piece of their work. The 2018 Peer-to-Peer Exchange will be held in mid-April in Spokane, WA with a focus on creating connections for children and their families, self-advocates, and providers through Telehealth services. The meeting will feature the Washington State Department of Health team and their partners. During this meeting, participants will learn how the WA team (and others) have collaborated with different partners, addressed challenges around serving culturally and linguistically diverse families, and establishing buy-in to effectively provide Telehealth services in their communities. Stay tuned for the December 2018 Developments issue for our lessons learned from the meeting!


Language Barriers Impact Access to Services for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Racial and ethnic disparities in accessing health care have been described in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In a retrospective chart review of 152 children with ASD, children of parents whose primary language was English were significantly more likely to have both social skills and communication goals within their individualized education plan (IEP) compared to children of parents whose primary language was not English.


Screening for Autism with the SRS and SCQ: Variations across Demographic, Developmental and Behavioral Factors in Preschool Children.

The Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) and the Social Responsiveness Scales (SRS) are commonly used screeners for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Data from the Study to Explore Early Development were used to examine variations in the performance of these instruments by child characteristics and family demographics.


Deborah M. Spitalnik, PhD (NJ UCEDD/LEND) to Receive Clement A. Price Human Dignity Award from Rutgers University

Deborah M. Spitalnik, PhD, Executive Director and Professor of Pediatrics of The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, has been selected to receive the Clement A. Price Human Dignity Award by the Rutgers Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Committee to Advance Our Common Purposes.


AUCD Network Members Provide Expertise to Develop Inclusion Principles and Guidelines for People with Intellectual Disabilities

On December of 2017, several members from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) network, along with other professionals from various backgrounds, convened to form the Inclusive Health Project Workgroup. The purpose of this workgroup was to assist in creating inclusion principles and guidelines for implementing health-related activities for people with intellectual disabilities (ID). These principles and guidelines would serve to support national-level organizations to adopt and promote inclusive approaches to health for people with ID, and provide useful information for organizations on how to foster inclusion of people with ID in national organizations. This exceptional workgroup, which encompassed of directors and specialists from University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), used both their professional and individual experiences in the realm of disabilities/ID to develop the Foundational Principles for Sustainable Inclusion of People with Intellectual Disabilities.

(L-R) Dr. Tami Trottier, Dr. Jacqueline Stone, Jen Chen, Amanda Lay

Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) New Efforts in Cultural Competency (MD UCEDD/LEND)

The MCDD has undertaken a strong focus this year on improving our understanding and practices regarding cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion. A number of activities have contributed to this effort and are described in some detail below.


Spanish Interpreters Trained in Serving People with IDD in Medical Settings (NY UUCEDD/LEND)

Through funding from the WITH Foundation, Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities partnered with University of Rochester Medical Center Interpreter Services, Ibero-American Action League, and Jeiri Flores and Jensen Caraballo, two Latinx self-advocates, to deliver a training to Spanish medical interpreters, medical liaisons, and Medicaid Service Coordinators to improve the healthcare experience for Spanish-speaking people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Built over a six-month period, the training covered health disparities for people with IDD, disability history, intersections between Latinx and disability cultural values, and communication strategies for working with patients. While interpreters are familiar with many Latinx cultural values, they were able to consider how these cultural values impact Latinx people with IDD in medical settings, and how to act as advocates in ensuring patient understanding.


Welcome 2017-2018 Diversity Fellows!

The Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD), in the Administration on Community Living (ACL), awarded National Training Initiative grants to 13 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) to support the recruitment and retention of trainees from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to participate in a fellowship experience at the UCEDD with opportunities to make systemic change through a capstone project and community-based activities.