College of Direct Support

Offers a nationwide, online, competency-based training curriculum to enhance the skills and knowledge of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), frontline supervisors, and managers supporting individuals with disabilities in community settings. CDS is offered in partnership with Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information, through Direct Course, which is a suite of online curricula for people providing services to individuals with disabilities that includes CDS and other curricula developed at other universities.

Staff: Kristin Dean, Shawn C Lawler, Amanda Ryan, Amy S Hewitt, Macdonald M Metzger, Claire E Benway, Susan N ONell, Nancy J McCulloh, Merrie L Haskins, Kelly Nye-Lengerman LGSW, Jody Hofer Van Ness, Nathan A Perry, Jerry W Smith, Sheryl A Larson, Jennifer A Hall-Lande, Connie J Burkhart

Collaborators: Elsevier

History of Leadership in Developmental Disabilities: A Wiki Project

Uses Web and Wiki technology to collect, preserve, and share the history of leadership in the developmental disabilities field over the past 150 years, and pass on to future leaders the stories of how we got to where we are today. The project is creating an online history course and repository documenting the role of leadership and leaders in generating the ideas, movements, and programs that have been foundational to the developmental disabilities field, and using Wiki technology it will engage others in contributing to the multimedia content of the history course.

Staff: John D Westerman, Shawn C Lawler, Jerry W Smith

Collaborators: MENTOR Network Charitable Foundation

Increasing Friendships, Social Inclusion, and Community Participation of Persons With Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (ID/DD)

Examines the effectiveness of two different approaches to supporting community participation - those based in human services agencies versus direct approaches to community members. Social inclusion outcomes will be compared for individuals randomly assigned to: 1. No intervention; 2. Training methods for residential services staff, and 3. Direct engagement of civic organizations, faith communities, chambers of commerce, and other community organizations.

Staff: Angela N Amado

Collaborators: Minnesota State Operated Community Services, Minnesota Department of Human Services

Profiles of Transformation Case Studies

Conducts six annual case studies of exemplary initiatives in transformation of community living or employment supports, and two annual case studies of exemplary Direct Support Professional workforce development initiatives. The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals and the Institute's Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC) will present "Moving Mountains" Awards for initiatives in Direct Support workforce development at periodic Reinventing Quality conferences.

Staff: Amy S Hewitt, Pamela M Walker, Sheryl A Larson

Collaborators: Center on Human Policy, Syracuse University, National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals Web Site on Person-Centered Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities

Provides resources and information on leading-edge, person-centered supports for use by individuals with disabilities, families, advocates, government officials, and service providers, in a wide variety of topical areas from across the country.

Staff: Kristin Dean, John D Westerman, Amy S Hewitt, Claire Cunningham, Roger Stancliffe, Nancy J McCulloh, Beth E Fondell, Angela N Amado, Jerry W Smith, Sheryl A Larson, John G Smith

Collaborators: National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, Human Services Research Institute

Self-Advocacy Online: Research and Development to Bridge the Digital Divide

Develops a model for making Web sites accessible for people with intellectual and related cognitive disabilities, and launches an educational and networking Web site for teens and adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities targeted at those who participate in organized self-advocacy groups.

Staff: John D Westerman, Shawn C Lawler, Clifford L Poetz, Mark R Olson, Jeffrey A Nurick, Jerry W Smith, John G Smith, Connie J Burkhart

Collaborators: Self-Advocates Minnesota, HASTAC Initiative, MacArthur Foundation

FISP: Supporting Individuals and Families Information Systems Project

Establishes and refines a comprehensive program of annual data collection from states on family support, and conducts longitudinal data analysis, policy studies, and dissemination activities to better understand and promote effective supports for families and individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) who direct their own support. The data gathered will be used to help federal and state agencies understand the current status and emerging trends in supporting families and individuals with IDD living in homes of their own or with family members (including consumer direction). It will also be used to compare and contrast services and expenditures targeting the person with IDD versus those targeting the family members with whom they reside, and to compare services for children versus services for adults with IDD.

Staff: Kristin Dean, Amy S Hewitt, John N Reagan, Heidi Eschenbacher, Yoshiko Kardell, Lynda L Anderson, Sarah E MapelLentz, Sheryl A Larson, Sandra L Pettingell

Collaborators: National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, Human Services Research Institute

Putting Faith to Work

Provides customized training, tools, and technical assistance to specific Minnesota faith communities, building their capacity to use best practices in employment and career development with their members with disabilities. Putting Faith to Work will utilize person-centered employment planning tools within the faith communities to connect participating members with disabilities to quality employment opportunities, and then enhance the communities' ability to provide other appropriate, individualized supports to those individuals. The project expands the reach of what faith communities do so well: acknowledge the gifts and needs of their members, maintain strong community connections, and address local community needs. This model supplements, rather than replaces, other service providers or employment agencies, contributing to development of a fuller range of formal and informal employment supports in local communities. The work in Minnesota is part of the larger Putting Faith to Work project based at the [Vanderbilt Kennedy Center](

Staff: Angela N Amado, Joe Timmons

Collaborators: Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt University, Human Development Institute, University of Kentucky, Easter Lutheran Church, Basilica of Saint Mary, The, St Odilia Catholic Church, Unity Church-Unitarian

New York Direct Support Professional (DSP) Credentialing Program Implementation Study

Aims to gauge the workforce development issues for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) in the state of New York through multi-method analysis. The 2014 New York legislative assembly requested that a comprehensive report be submitted to the Governor and Assembly leaders no later than January 1, 2016. The New York Direct Support Professional Credentialing Program Implementation Study utilizes information from the following sources to provide this information to the New York legislative assembly: * A literature review of existing credentialing models related to DSPs * Focus groups with self-advocates, families, circles of support, provider associations, individual and organization providers, frontline supervisors, senior leadership, and government officials to determine feasibility and recommendations for implementation * A DSP Training and Credentialing Provider Survey to obtain a baseline of critical workforce indicators * Regional focus groups across in New York with DSPs and Employers about their interest in and barriers in the way of participating in a credentialing program This information will be compiled in order to: * Create a sustainable financial model that builds training costs into Medicaid reimbursement rates * Create a communications plan for comprehensive DSP credentialing program implementation.

Staff: Kristin Dean, Amy S Hewitt, Barbara A Kleist

Collaborators: New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies, New York State Rehabilitation Association

Effectiveness of Two Approaches to Expand the Social Inclusion of Adults with IDD Living with Families

Determines what types of strategies families can use to increase the social inclusion of their adult age child with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) who is living with them. Although many strategies have increased the social inclusion of individuals with IDD in residential services, it is unknown whether such strategies can also be used by families who have an adult child with IDD living with them. In addition, there is a great need for transition-age students to expand social inclusion upon graduation. This project is unusual because virtually all previous projects concerning social inclusion with community members have been aimed at formal service providers. This is the first project known that is aimed at families. The expected benefits are an increase for the adult age children living with their families in their friendships with community members, membership in community groups, and socially valued roles in community life.

Staff: Kelly J Ortenblad, Angela N Amado

Collaborators: Hennepin County [MN], The Arc Greater Twin Cities, Ramsey County