A newsletter series containing strategies, research, and success stories in specific focus areas related to persons with intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities. It provides practical information useful to professionals in a variety of fields, including educators, community service providers, policymakers, and advocates, as well as persons with disabilities and their families.

  • Feature Issue on Person-Centered Positive Supports and People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    An issue in the new, redesigned *Impact* series that shares articles from around the country describing how person-centered positive supports use evidence-based practices in the service of the needs, values, and goals of the individuals receiving the support. The issue educates about the guiding principles, values, and choices that must be examined in policy and practice; profiles exemplary strategies for delivery of services; and shares personal stories of the difference that person-centered positive supports make for individuals. The information in this issue can especially help service providers, advocates, and policymakers ensure that all people with disabilities have access to quality services and supports that empower them to live the lives of their choosing. This issue is available in three formats: print, PDF download, and the new multimedia Web version that offers supplemental content including video and Webinar presentations, animation, and more. (Publication Date: August 31, 2016)

  • Feature Issue on Supporting Wellness for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    A newsletter issue on supporting wellness for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Wellness is a rapidly growing area of focus for people across the U.S. The popularity of health advice segments on TV news and talk shows, of high tech fitness tracking devices and apparel, and of stress management and meditation workshops are a few of the indicators of a growing interest in whole-person well-being. For individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the benefits of attending to wellness are at least as great as those experienced by the rest of the population. But the opportunities to access wellness activities and resources are not necessarily as available. This *Impact* issue presents wellness as touching all areas of life for individuals with disabilities - physical, social, vocational, spiritual, emotional, psychological - with choice-making and inclusion as keys. It offers ways in which disability service providers, health and wellness professionals, community fitness and recreation programs, employers, advocates, individuals with disabilities, and their families can help ensure that opportunities to choose and engage in wellness activities are as available to individuals with disabilities as to anyone else. And it shares examples of those leading the way in supporting attention to life areas that are essential to everyone's well-being - healthy activity, social connections, pleasure and meaning, supportive relationships, and participation in health care. (Publication Date: March 07, 2016)

  • Feature Issue on the ADA and People with Intellectual, Developmental, and Other Disabilities

    A newsletter issue marking the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In this *Impact* are articles by individuals with disabilities, families, advocates, service providers, researchers, and others talking about how the ADA has made a difference in their lives, the lives of their loved ones, and in our nation. At the same time, this *Impact* also focuses on ways in which the ADA hasn't fully addressed a number of the barriers faced by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as they seek equal opportunity and inclusion in their communities. By sharing this range of perspectives, the issue encourages readers to both pause to celebrate the anniversary of the ADA as a turning point in our nation's journey, and continue traveling toward that horizon of full inclusion we have yet to reach. Complementing the *Impact* are over 40 short video clips posted on the Self-Advocacy Online Web site [(]( of the Research and Training Center on Community Living in which people with disabilities talk about the importance and meaning of the ADA for them. (Publication Date: March 26, 2015)

  • Feature Issue on Stories of Advocacy, Stories of Change from People with Disabilities, Their Families, and Allies (1988-2013)

    A newsletter issue featuring then-and-now personal stories from individuals with disabilities, their families, and allies that provide a snapshot of how the disability rights movement has touched individual lives over the past 25 years. This 25th anniversary issue of *Impact* brings together personal stories published in its pages between 1988-2010, and pairs them with new stories from those same individuals and families that bring readers up-to-date on their lives today. Through these stories, plus an interview with the Institute's founding director Bob Bruininks, this *Impact* recognizes the tenacity, courage, and vision of those working to bring about progress toward full citizenship and community inclusion for people with disabilities in the U.S. (Publication Date: May 09, 2014)

  • Feature Issue on Educating K-12 English Language Learners with Disabilities

    A newsletter issue examining the education of English language learners with disabilities, who are a growing part of the K-12 school population in the U.S. The available knowledge on how to effectively educate these students, and measure their progress, is small but increasing. However, many educators and families have pressing questions. This *Impact* offers responses to some of those questions from people around the country who are helping schools meet the needs of this growing student population. (Publication Date: June 04, 2013)

  • Feature Issue on Supporting New Career Paths for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    A newsletter issue exploring employment of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their changing role in the American workforce. Historically, people with disabilities have often participated in very narrowly defined types of employment. There have frequently been low expectations about what they can contribute as workers. But, today self-advocates and their allies are leading a transformation in thinking about how people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can do productive, valued work in their communities. This issue of *Impact* has been prepared to provide a snapshot of some of the strategies and personal stories that embody that transformation. Written primarily for vocational service providers, employers, secondary and postsecondary educators, and families of individuals with disabilities, this issue explores some of the innovative thinking and resources that are providing expanded employment options for people with disabilities, including employment in some of the promising areas for job growth nationally. And it offers some of the success stories of people taking new paths. It is our hope that this issue will spark even more conversations, and more creative thinking, among its readers about opportunities for supporting new career paths for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in our country. (Publication Date: June 01, 2012)

  • Feature Issue on Supporting the Social Well-Being of Children and Youth with Disabilities

    A newsletter issue presenting practical and insightful articles about supporting the social well-being of children and youth with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities in the settings where they live their lives: schools, youth programs, neighborhoods, communities, homes. Social well-being is essential to overall health and quality of life for all children and youth. However, children and youth with disabilities are often at higher risk for experiencing lower levels of social, and related emotional, well-being than their peers without disabilities. They are among those more likely to be bullied and harassed, have a small number of friends outside their families, and participate in few extracurricular activities. This means that the adults in their lives need to be proactive in supporting and strengthening the social well-being of these young people. This *Impact* issue focuses on what adults can do to create and sustain environments that contribute to social well-being, rather than social harm, for young people with disabilities and their peers without disabilities. It includes personal stories of young people, their families and friends; practical strategies for school and community settings; research summaries and profiles of successful programs; and resources for use by educators, families, youth leaders, and others who desire to support the social growth and well-being of all our young people. (Publication Date: August 12, 2011)

  • Feature Issue on Postsecondary Education and Students with Intellectual, Developmental and Other Disabilities

    A newsletter issue exploring what we know, and what we still need to know, about supporting increased participation of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, in postsecondary education and why that participation is important. It includes stories about students with disabilities succeeding in higher education, strategies for families and school personnel to use in supporting planning for postsecondary education during high school, research findings and historical overviews, and explanations of the education laws that can support participation in postsecondary education. Readers of this issue will find new ways of thinking about the role of post-high-school education in the lives of young people with disabilities, and about the benefits to those young people as well as our communities and nation. (Publication Date: February 01, 2011)

  • Feature Issue on Sexuality and People with Intellectual, Developmental and Other Disabilities

    A newsletter issue exploring the question "What does it mean to affirm and support a positive, healthy sexuality for individuals with disabilities?" Its articles cover topics ranging from sexuality education in the home and school, to personal stories of dating and marriage, to legal and ethical issues for staff and agencies providing services for people with disabilities. The goal of this issue is to provide information and inspiration that further support the right and opportunity for people with intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities to understand and express this essential dimension of human life. (Publication Date: September 01, 2010)

  • Feature Issue on Aging and People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

    A newsletter issue exploring the question, "What can be done today to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are aging?" Its articles give a variety of responses to the question. Self-advocates talk about the importance of having opportunities to be active participants in their communities, to be listened to as they speak up for themselves, and to continue to pursue their own goals and dreams for their lives. Siblings assert the necessity to respond to the concerns that keep them awake at night as they deal with the aging of all their family members, including parents who may have been primary caregivers for their brothers or sisters with disabilities. Researchers discuss the policy and service issues that need to be addressed as the number of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities over 60 years of age is projected to grow to 1.2 million in the next 20 years. And practitioners describe some of the promising approaches to ensuring quality service and supports that address the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of aging with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (Publication Date: March 01, 2010)

  • Feature Issue on Early Childhood Education and Children with Disabilities

    A newsletter issue responding to the question, "How can families and early childhood professionals provide quality, inclusive early childhood education for young children with and without disabilities?" In its pages, parents reflect on their experiences with early childhood education and inclusion for their children - what was helpful, what was not, and lessons learned from the experience. Researchers and practitioners discuss practical strategies for supporting quality early education experiences for young children with disabilities, as well as the necessity and benefits of inclusion for all students. Innovative inclusive early childhood programs from around the country talk about what they're doing and the outcomes. And complementing the stories and strategies are listings of a wide range of resources that may be of use to families and professionals who are parenting or working with young children with disabilities. The editors' hope for this issue is that it will be a valued resource for those who are navigating the early childhood years with their children or students, and will support the continuing expansion of quality early childhood programs that bring together children with and without disabilities. (Publication Date: November 19, 2009)

  • Feature Issue on Employment and Women with Disabilities

    A newsletter issue that encourages readers to hold an expansive vision of what's possible for women with disabilities in the employment arena, and offers strategies, resources, and inspiration to realize that vision. The articles in it respond to the question, "Why is work important to women with disabilities?" and it offers many answers. According to the women with disabilities whose stories are shared here, feeling successful and important, earning money, being independent, having a reason to get up in the morning, making a meaningful difference in the lives of others, learning new things, following a sense of calling, and achieving goals are all reasons that work is important to them. At the same time, it is also true that fewer women with disabilities participate in the workforce than men with disabilities or women without disabilities. All the reasons for this difference are not entirely clear. One of the things we do know is that the expectations that people have of women with disabilities play a role in their participation in the workforce. We also know that awareness of a range of employment strategies and options on the part of professionals opens up possibilities that may otherwise be overlooked. And we know that having role models and mentors makes all the difference in the world for girls and women with disabilities as they think about what they want to do with their adult lives. Because having meaningful, valued work is such an important part of life, this *Impact* issue seeks to provide a fresh look at the topic from multiple perspectives. (Publication Date: December 01, 2008)

  • Feature Issue on Direct Support Workforce Development

    A newsletter issue addressing the forces impacting the availability and quality of Direct Support services for people with disabilities, and presenting ideas readers can implement to ensure that individuals with disabilities continue to have access to the supports they need to live lives of their choosing in their local communities. For many people with disabilities, life in their communities - in the workplaces, schools, neighborhoods, and multitude of places people gather socially - is influenced by the availability of qualified, reliable Direct Support staff. The Direct Support workforce is made up of people whose skills, knowledge, and commitment equip them to assist individuals with disabilities in maintaining health, self-determination, and community participation. That workforce and the supports it provides is in jeopardy today because the demand and need for such services is outgrowing the pool of individuals willing and able to fill those essential positions. The forces impacting the availability of quality Direct Support services include wages, benefits, education, professional status and standards, and budgets, as well as the steadily growing total number of Direct Support staff needed. The articles in this *Impact* describe how these issues are being addressed across the country through strategies that reach from the U.S. Congress to the homes of individuals in local communities. (Publication Date: January 21, 2008)

  • Feature Issue on Disaster Preparedness and People with Disabilities

    A newsletter issue addressing the need for greater inclusion of people with disabilities in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. When disasters occur people with disabilities are often among those most in harm's way. In many cases this is because the planning and processes in place to respond to disasters and emergencies haven't made adequate provision for people with disabilities. Through personal stories, reflections on lessons learned from previous disasters, reviews of what works and doesn't work in policies and procedures, and a variety of preparedness checklists this issue gives readers information they can use to evaluate and improve disaster preparedness where they live, work, and participate in their communities. Whether it's doing personal emergency planning, organizing neighbors into a circle of support for one another in case of an emergency, ensuring that local and state disaster planning agencies include input from people with disabilities, or evaluating the disaster preparedness of the agency or organization in which we work, we can each take steps to make sure that when the next disaster or emergency occurs, no one is left behind. (Publication Date: August 01, 2007)

  • Feature Issue on Supporting Success in School and Beyond for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

    A newsletter issue sharing knowledge and insights about effectively supporting success in school and beyond for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). There is still much to be learned about ASD - about the causes; the best ways to identify ASD in early childhood and begin early interventions; and the best ways to support the academic, social, and vocational success of students with ASD. As ongoing research adds to our current knowledge, educators, families, and individuals with ASD will have more information to use in making decisions that support the development of the full potential of each student with ASD. While that work of seeking to better understand ASD continues, there are some things that have already been discovered about supporting success for students with ASD, and it is that information that's highlighted in this *Impact* issue. (Publication Date: February 01, 2007)

  • Feature Issue on Parenting Teens and Young Adults with Disabilities

    A newsletter issue exploring strategies for families of teens and young adults with disabilities to consider in navigating the transition years with their young person, and sharing stories of those who are in the middle of it or have come out the other side. As young people with disabilities move from their teen to adult years, they and their families experience many growing pains in common with all families at that stage of life. In addition, there are often milestones, questions, concerns, needs, and challenges unique to individuals with disabilities and their families. For the generation of young people with disabilities reaching adulthood today there are ever-expanding opportunities to pursue adult lives that reflect their goals, dreams, ambitions, values, and life visions. And there are still barriers to that achievement - limitations in services, supports, resources, and options. The articles in this *Impact* provide a glimpse of what is possible, offer useful ideas for moving past some of the limitations that get in the way, and support families, teens, and young adults in dreaming big and realizing those dreams. (Publication Date: June 19, 2006)

  • Feature Issue on Children with Disabilities in the Child Welfare System

    A newsletter issue examining the presence and needs of children with disabilities who are in the child welfare system, and ways to better serve them. When children with disabilities and their families become involved with the child welfare system - with child protective services and/or permanency services - there is often a steep learning curve for the system as to how to best serve them. As complex as the needs are of any child removed from his or her family because of abuse or neglect, or because the family is unable to continue caring for the child, the needs of children with disabilities are even more complicated because they involve multiple systems - the disability services and child welfare services systems. These two systems don't necessarily communicate with each other in a way that supports their work on behalf of children with disabilities who have been removed from their family home or who are at risk for such removal, and they may not have adequate access to expertise in one another's areas of focus. This *Impact* issue discusses barriers to be addressed by the child welfare and disability services systems in working with children with disabilities and their families, and strategies for moving forward in better meeting their needs. (Publication Date: March 01, 2006)

  • Feature Issue on Meeting Transportation Needs of Youth and Adults with Developmental Disabilities

    A newsletter issue offering ideas and strategies for meeting the transportation needs of individuals with disabilities and removing transportation barriers to their community inclusion and participation. People with developmental and other disabilities identify problems accessing transportation as one of the main barriers they experience to community inclusion and participation. To travel around their communities at the times that meet their needs, and to the locations they desire, requires that as individuals they have knowledge of the transportation options available and the skills and supports to use them. At the transportation system level it requires that there be an array of options available and that these systems operate in a manner that's both focused on meeting the needs of users, as well as resource-efficient and coordinated. This issue addresses both individual and system-level approaches to improving transportation access. It also includes success stories from around the country that illustrate the benefits to individuals with disabilities, agencies that support them, and their communities when transportation works well. (Publication Date: August 23, 2005)

  • Feature Issue on Fostering Success in School and Beyond for Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders

    A newsletter issue discussing how K-12 educators can more effectively work with students with emotional/behavioral disorders (EBD) within the context of educating increasingly diverse populations of students in our classrooms. Educating students identified as having emotional/behavioral disorders in general education classrooms and ensuring their inclusion in all aspects of the school community can be challenging for several reasons. To effectively educate them there must be collaboration between all the instructional and administrative staff in the school; everyone must be "on the same page" in implementing prevention and intervention efforts. In addition, there must be a willingness on the part of teachers to explore new teaching methods that more actively engage students with EBD. Ongoing staff development and training are needed to update and maintain educator skills in working with students with EBD. And sufficient resources must be available at the school and district level to sustain programming. This *Impact* describes how these and other challenges are being addressed around the country, and offers strategies that have been demonstrated to improve positive educational and social outcomes for students with EBD in today's K-12 schools. (Publication Date: May 23, 2005)

  • Feature Issue on Political Activism and Voter Participation by Persons with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities

    A newsletter issue for individuals with disabilities and those close to them who would like to be more involved in the American political system. It has information about how to vote, who can vote, and ways to change voting laws that limit the opportunity for people with disabilities to vote. It gives tips for talking with elected officials about issues, and about getting educated about issues and candidates. It tells the stories of individuals with disabilities who have run for office, volunteered to work on political campaigns, and worked with others to change laws and policies that affect their lives. And it describes ways in which people have protested policies and laws through direct action. An important part of being an American is participating in our political system. As Americans, we have the responsibility to help elect the kind of government leaders we want to have in our communities, states, and nation. We have the right to speak out on issues that are important to us and to let our leaders know our views. And we have the privilege of influencing the making of laws and policies that affect our lives. This *Impact* issue is intended to help readers find at least one new way to make their views known to our country's leaders, and to exercise their power as Americans to shape our country. (Publication Date: September 01, 2004)

  • Feature Issue on Social Inclusion Through Recreation for Persons with Disabilities

    A newsletter issue proposing that one way to increase the social inclusion of individuals with disabilities is for children, youth and adults with and without disabilities to play together. While recent decades have witnessed a significant increase in the participation of persons with developmental and other disabilities in regular education classrooms and community workplaces, participation and inclusion are not the same thing. Many individuals with disabilities learn, work, and live alongside nondisabled peers, but too often they have little social connection to and few friendships with those around them. Recreation programs have a number of characteristics that make them ideal places for individuals with disabilities to experience social inclusion and friendship building. The articles in this issue describe those characteristics, strategies for making use of them to enhance the opportunities for meaningful and ongoing social connections between participants with and without disabilities, and barriers to recreation participation that must be addressed. Its goal is to encourage recreation, education, and community services professionals, along with families and individuals with disabilities, to find additional ways in which everyone can experience the benefits of social inclusion. (Publication Date: August 01, 2003)

  • Feature Issue on Faith Communities and Persons with Developmental Disabilities

    A newsletter issue continuing the dialog about inclusion that has already begun between persons with disabilities, faith communities, and the disability services system. "A basic component of human rights is freedom of religious expression. Individuals with disabilities have the right to choose their own expressions of spirituality, to practice those beliefs and expressions, and to participate in the religious community of their choice or other spiritual activities." This is the opening of the policy statement on Spirituality and Religious Freedom approved by the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR), now the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. It goes on to note that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families still experience mixed responses to their presence, gifts, and needs from congregations, and limited support for religious participation on the part of disability service providers. The articles in this *Impact* provide theological frameworks for inclusion, practical tips for welcoming individuals with disabilities into congregations, ideas for service providers seeking to support religious expression, and success stories from around the country. Its purpose is to contribute to the dismantling of the remaining barriers between persons with developmental disabilities and their chosen communities of faith. (Publication Date: April 01, 2002)

  • Feature Issue on Volunteerism by Persons with Developmental Disabilities

    A newsletter issue encouraging greater inclusion of persons with developmental disabilities in volunteerism. One group of people historically thought of exclusively as recipients of volunteer service, rather than providers of it, are people with developmental disabilities. Too often defined by their "dis"-abilities rather than their abilities, they have been overlooked in many efforts to involve individuals in the improvement of their communities through giving of time, talents, and energy on a voluntary basis. The result is that our communities have missed out on their contributions, and individuals have missed out on the rewards of rendering service. The strategies and visions presented in this *Impact* issue provide a wealth of ideas for supporting their inclusion in volunteerism and other forms of service to their communities. (Publication Date: November 01, 2001)

  • Feature Issue on Violence Against Women with Developmental or Other Disabilities

    A newsletter issue examining violence as it impacts women with developmental and other disabilities - what we know, what we don't know, and what needs to be done to prevent it and to help women recover from it. A major civil rights, quality of life, and health issue for women with developmental and other disabilities is the presence of violence in their lives. Women with disabilities experience the highest rate of personal violence - violence at the hands of spouses, partners, boyfriends, family members, caregivers, and strangers - of any group in our society today. Yet, they are often invisible in the crime statistics, frequently find community services such as domestic and sexual violence programs inadequately prepared to fully understand and meet their needs, face disability service systems that don't clearly see and effectively respond to the violence, and are all too commonly devalued and unsupported because of societal prejudice. This *Impact* offers strategies and ideas for bringing together disability service providers, sexual and domestic violence programs, law enforcement and the justice system, policymakers, researchers, and women with disabilities to address these issues, in the hope that this epidemic will soon end. (Publication Date: December 01, 2000)