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


Tuesdays with Liz: The Developmental Disabilities Act

Passed in 1963 (not 1960), the Developmental Disabilities (DD) act plays a vital role in ensuring Americans with disabilities are able to participate in the community. Liz outlines what branches compose the DD Act and what they do.


Call for Proposals - CONNECT #PacRim2020

The University of Hawaii at Manoa, Center on Disability Studies, in the College of Education, is accepting presentation proposals to be featured at the 35th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability & Diversity at the Hawaii Convention Center, March 2-3, 2020. Submissions are being accepted from June 1, 2019-December 1, 2019 at


Ilaria Navarra Completes her Fulbright Scholarship at the Georgetown University UCEDD

Ilaria Navarra, the first recipient of the Fulbright-NIAF-Georgetown University Research Lectureship in Education, completed her 6 month scholarship and is returning to the University of Macerata in Macerata Italy to complete her doctoral studies. Navarra is a primary school teacher in Episcopia, Basilicata, Italy. She was awarded the Fulbright grant to study the implementation of the Montessori method in US based preschools and primary grade classrooms.

Author: Courtney Taylor

The Right to Communicate: From Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's (IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) Kindred Stories of Disability to Capitol Hill

McKenzie Tuckson is 15 years old and lives in Nashville with her mother and father, Tamara and Josh. McKenzie is a sophomore in high school. She is a cheerleader and vice-president of her class. When McKenzie was in kindergarten, she was diagnosed with Rett syndrome. Rett syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects girls almost exclusively. It is characterized by a slowing of development, loss of purposeful use of the hands, challenges with walking and talking, and intellectual disability.


Autism Issue Briefs from Waisman Center UCEDD/LEND

Two publications describing evidence-based approaches to improving services for autism spectrum disorders are available online from the Waisman Center UCEDD/LEND programs as part of a series of Issue Briefs and Study Briefs.


A Woman's Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) is pleased to invite you to attend our annual special event to recognize National Autism Awareness Month, A Woman's Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs.


Caregiver Voices: Cross-Cultural Input on Improving Access to Autism Services

This study used qualitative methods to gather family and provider perspectives of perceived barriers and facilitators to obtaining an ASD diagnosis and accessing ASD-related services for underserved families. Themes from focus groups and interviews with families from three cultural groups (black, Hispanic/Latino, and Korean) and three primary languages (English, Korean, and Spanish) highlight specific barriers related to family, community, and systemic challenges as well as facilitators to accessing care for these populations.


Family & Professional Resources & Developments for Rural and Underrepresented Communities within Northern California

Northern California is uniquely positioned to serve a diverse community of historically underrepresented children and families, as well as professionals within rural communities. As members within a majority minority state, we strive to continue learning about the complex intersection of disability, diversity, and inclusion as we actively develop culturally sensitive services and programs. We wish to highlight the strides that our staff members have taken in our diversity and inclusion efforts in several programs related to family support and service navigation, research and professional training specific to diverse and rural populations.

Pang Chaxiong, MNLEND, and Alefyah Shipchandler, MN ADDM GRA, will present at INSAR in May 2019, with ICI's Dr. Jennifer Hall-Lande.

Improving Initial Age of Diagnosis for Children from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities: Asking Parents

Pang Chaxiong (MN LEND Fellow), Alefyah Shipchandler, (graduate research assistant), and Dr. Jennifer Hall-Lande (researcher and MN LEND faculty), all with the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota, will be presenting a poster-- Improving Initial Age of Diagnosis for Children from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Communities: Asking the Parents-- at this year's INSAR meeting in Montreal, Canada in May.


Report: Low-Income and Minority Youth with Autism Face Worse Outcomes than Peers

Youth with autism are growing up in a world where awareness of autism and expectations for full inclusion in society are increasing. Today, one in 59 children have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because autism spectrum disorder is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder and no two youth with ASD are alike, their service and support needs vary and continually change as they age.


Virginia Collaborative Developmental Disabilities Trainee Exchange

In September 2018, Va-LEND at Virginia Commonwealth University was awarded a grant to collaborate with the University of Virginia in a trainee exchange program. As part of this project, Va-LEND Trainees have had the opportunity to visit an array of clinics at the University of Virginia as part of their LEND clinical hours . To date a total of eight Va-LEND Trainees have visited twelve different clinics and the Va-LEND Training Co-Directors also observed a clinic at UVA. Additional visits by LEND trainees are scheduled in the coming months. The clinics visited by Va-LEND Trainees were: Down Syndrome, DBP Diagnostic Clinic, Pediatric Neuromuscular, the Autism Clinic, and the Neonatal Clinic. The trainees had a positive experience and benefitted from the opportunity to observe other clinics at a different University.


When an Early Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder Resolves, What Remains?

A chart review was performed of 38 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by 3 years of age at an inner-city developmental program who subsequently experienced resolution of ASD symptomatology and no longer met diagnostic criteria for ASD at follow-up an average of 4 years later. Demographic, developmental/cognitive data, Childhood Autism Rating Scale, and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule data as available were reviewed from the initial diagnostic evaluation and at the time of follow-up.


Now Archived: Winter Webinar Series from AUCD's Autism Special Interest Group

AUCD's Autism Special Interest Group (SIG) presented its winter webinar series. The goal was to share new and innovative work from AUCD member programs from across the country in brief, accessible presentations tied together across a common topic, and to support conversation around each.


New Materials on the Opioid Crisis and People with Disabilities for Consumers, Providers, and Community Organizations

Three new issue briefs on medication treatment, peer support, and traumatic brain injury from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research grantee Brandeis University provide information for people with disabilities and their families, substance use treatment providers, and community organizations looking for resources on how the opioid crisis may be impacting people with disabilities.


Call for Art Submission: Disability and Shame (HI UCEDD/LEND)

Genesis Leong University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Center on Disability Studies

The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal is issuing a Call for Art Submissions to be included in the special forum on the subject of shame and disability, broadly conceived. It is hoped that through critical discourse addressing the historical and current contexts, contributing factors, effects, and responses to shame, greater understanding of this phenomena will diminish discrimination and violence.


Developmental Milestone Video Broadcast in Rural Health Clinics (NV UCEDD/LEND)

The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities has partnered with the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities, Nevada LEND program and Good Health TV to share a developmental milestone video with parents and families.


Comunico Con Mi Equipo!

Research suggests that parents need on-going support, training, and information in their preferred language on the applications and uses of AAC at home.


Telecom Toolbox Can Help VR Counselors Support the Employment Goals of Rural Consumers (MT UCEDD/LEND)

Since the recession, employment rates for people with disabilities has not increased at the same rates as those for people without disabilities. In rural areas, these disparities are more pronounced: in most rural areas, employment rates for people with disabilities decreased significantly while rates for people without disabilities in those same areas increased.