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.


URC Cultural and Linguistic Competency Resources

The term ‘‘culturally competent', as defined by the Developmental Disabilities Bill of Rights and Assistance Act of 2000 (DD Act), "means services, supports, or other assistance that is conducted or provided in a manner that is responsive to the beliefs, interpersonal styles, attitudes, language, and behaviors of individuals who are receiving the services, supports, or other assistance, and in a manner that has the greatest likelihood of ensuring their maximum participation in the program involved." This page highlights various projects, collaborations, and resources focused on Cultural & Linguistic Competency.


What's New


Eliminating Barriers to Refugees Accessing Developmental Disabilities Services in Rhode Island (RI UCEDD)

Accessing Services from the RI Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals (BHDDH) is currently impossible for refugees, especially adult refugees. The policies that enable a person to access such benefits and services place refugees with developmental disabilities at a disadvantage. This project therefore seeks to create awareness and make a case for policy change so that refugees can apply for/and receive services.

Families Participating in the Make and Take

Making Assistive Technology Accessible to Latino Families (IL UCEDD)

Latinos are becoming the largest minority group in the United States. The City of Chicago is made up of 28.9% of people of Latino heritage/descent (e.g. Mexican, Guatemalan, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, etc). Many Latinos in Chicago are Spanish speakers and understand little to no English. Although the Latino community continues to grow, they have limited access to assistive technology (AT) resources and support because of the language barrier. Unfortunately, the majority of AT materials and training is targeted towards English speakers. Collaborating with the Assistive Technology Unit (ATU) at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Autism Program of Illinois has allowed us to reach out and provide AT support to Latino families who otherwise may not have had the ability to obtain AT support.

Wisconsin Team Members include Left to Right: Julie Schears, Sr. Outreach Specialist, WI LEND Training Program; Tamicah Gelting, MS, OTR/former Pipeline trainee; Vickie Moerchen, PT, PhD, Director of Pipeline Training Program

WI MCH Programs Team Up to Increase Diversity (WI UCEDD/LEND)

The Division of Maternal Child Health (MCH) Workforce Development created the 2017 Diversity and Health Equity Peer Learning Collaborative (DHEC) for MCH Training Programs interested in addressing issues related to diversity, linguistic competence and health equity. Wisconsin was selected as one of seven MCH peer groups to be a part of this national effort.


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

A new project and website from the UCEDDs at Georgetown, Georgia State, and Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and in collaboration with AUCD

This project and website is designed to research, develop, and disseminate a set or resources for the national network of UCEDDs to embed cultural diversity and cultural and linguistic competence in their curricula and training activities.

NM LEND Self-Advocacy fellow Laurel Deans with binder from Advocate Leadership Academy

Diversity Fellows Grant Project Leads to Leadership Opportunity for Self Advocates (NM LEND)

As a New Mexico LEND Self-Advocacy trainee, Daniel Ekman worked with faculty mentor Phyllis Shingle to create a document with leadership competencies, objectives and activities for people with disabilities. The idea was to develop a document that organizations could use and adapt as part of their own leadership curriculum for individuals with disabilities.


Armenian Delegations Visit MN UCEDD

Two delegations from Armenia visited the Institute on Community Integration (MN UCEDD) in April as part of a project funded by UNICEF Armenia focusing on inclusive education. The collaborative project between ICI and Armenian State Pedagogical University (ASPU) is titled, Enhancing the Inclusion of Children and Youth with Disabilities in Armenia: University of Minnesota/Armenian State Pedagogical University Partnership. The nine visitors spent two weeks in Minnesota, meeting with Renata Ticha and Brian Abery, who are ICI's co-directors on the project, and visiting other sites related to inclusive education. "Self-advocacy and advocacy for people with disabilities were two important concepts the delegations wanted to learn about and to explore with ICI colleagues and with self-advocates," says Ticha. The delegations included Karine Harutyunyan, the Deputy Minister of Education of Armenia; Mher Melik-Bakhshyan, the Pro-rector of Special Education at Armenian State Pedagogical University; as well as additional ASPU faculty and several education officers from UNICEF Armenia.


Meet the 2017 ADA International Fellows

AUCD, in partnership with the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston, implements the ADA International Fellowship Program to support mid-career professionals from Brazil, Kenya, Peru, and Tanzania to learn inclusive education policies, strategies, and resources. The ADA Fellows each identified a project to implement in their home countries, and have spent the last month at an AUCD network center or partner to develop their action plans. The first cohort of 10 ADA Fellows is just finishing their fellowship, and developed this video of their experiences with AUCD's network members and partners.

Grad students (L-R) Vineeta Ram & Kathryn B. Duke work on the PRIDE project with researchers Rooshey Hasnain & Mansha Mirza

Linking Refugees with Disabilities to Employment in Illinois (IL UCEDD)

Transnational refugees with disabilities are left out of many social service provisions typically provided to refugees. The Institute on Disability and Human Development (IDHD) at the University of Illinois at Chicago has received a three year grant funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to address the support needs of refugees with disabilities.


2017 Leadership Training for Diversity (LTD) Fellows (TX UCEDD)

In the Diversity and Inclusion Survey that AUCD conducted in 2015, UCEDD and LEND Directors from across the network stressed the importance of addressing diversity issues and training to ensure cultural competence and diversity goals. UCEDDs and the disability community benefit from trainees from diverse backgrounds as an important need within the disability service system are professionals who are racially, ethnically, and linguistic diverse (Clark & Majewski, 2013). The Center on Disability and Development (CDD) at Texas A&M University (TAMU) similarly recognizes the importance of growing leaders in the field of developmental disabilities who are prepared to deliver culturally competent services and who are themselves representative of diverse backgrounds. The goal of the Leadership Training for Diversity (LTD) Fellows Program at the CDD will be to produce a formal cultural competence fellowship that supports Fellows from diverse backgrounds.