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


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.


AUCD's PFP-IDE Alumna Champions Inclusive Employment for Women in Tanzania

AUCD's Spring 2018 PFP-IDE Fellow Victoria Lihiru is championing inclusive employment for female students with disabilities in Tanzania. Learn about Victoria's PFP-IDE Fellowship and advocacy skills from the Vermont UCEDD that she's using to help African women with disabilities overcome gender and inclusion barriers on the PFP-IDE Fellowship blog!

Boston Children's Fellows gather for a group picture in two rows. Fellows have worked together to build upon each other's knowledge throughout the 2018-2019 Fellowship.

Beyond the Walls: How Fellows at Boston Children's Go Beyond the Classroom (MA LEND)

By: Sean Fishkind, Boston Children's LEND Fellow and student at Boston College Law School

The interdisciplinary nature of the LEND program gives a unique flavor to each and every week, giving a variety of perspectives to each issue discussed. At Boston Children's LEND program, the interdisciplinary nature is extended beyond the the walls fellows meet in each week. Whether meeting with state leaders for Title V programs, working with Community Based Organizations ("CBOs"), or researching pressing issues in developmental disabilities, fellows are constantly pushing their boundaries. By putting an emphasis on work outside of the "classroom", fellows have expanded their knowledge in a truly interdisciplinary fashion.


Helping Babies Beyond Their First Year: A Day of Learning (WI LEND)

In Milwaukee, WI, 100 infants die before reaching their first birthday. Infant mortality disproportionately affects more Black infants than White infants in Milwaukee due to a variety of social, medical, and other complex factors. The Strong Baby Sanctuary is a network of faith-based organizations that are addressing this multifaceted issue by engaging the community in education, healthcare, and wellness.


Tuesdays with Liz: Shelly Christensen Talks Inclusion in the Jewish Community

In recognition of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, Liz chats with Shelly Christensen about her new book, 'From Longing to Belonging: A Practical Guide to Including People with Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions in Your Faith Community', the intersection of Jewish and disability identities, and the importance of belonging and inclusion.


Tuesdays with Liz: Culture and Diversity with Tawara Goode

Liz chats with Tawara Goode, director of the Georgetown UCEDD, about what culture and diversity mean, how culture influences perceptions and beliefs about disability, and cultural considerations in healthcare.