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Introducing the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)

From time to time, the Think College newsletter will feature a brief introduction to some of the key national partners who work closely with us to promote and enhance quality inclusive postsecondary education options for students with intellectual disabilities. This month, we would like to introduce you to the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is comprised of networks of interdisciplinary centers that conduct research, provide interdisciplinary training, provide a range of services, and disseminate information for people with developmental and other disabilities and their families.

The largest network is made of up of 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) funded by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities; UCEDDs also seek grants and funding from other agencies and state and local organizations.

UCEDDs work across the lifespan to support individuals with a wide range of disabilities. There is at least one UCEDD in every state and territory; a number of states have more than one. UCEDDs serve as a bridge between the university and the community and are your door to community- and university-based resources. UCEDDs also conduct research and work with people with disabilities, their families, state and local government agencies, and community providers on projects that provide training, technical assistance, service, research, and information sharing. UCEDDs focus on building the capacity of communities to sustain all their citizens, and provide training to therapists, doctors, researchers, policymakers and other professionals and paraprofessionals to provide local services. No matter where you are, there is at least one UCEDD in your state working hard to advance the causes important to you, your family, and all people with developmental and other disabilities.

How do UCEDDs support postsecondary education opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities?

Many UCEDDs conduct projects to promote and foster greater access to postsecondary education for individuals with developmental and other disabilities. UCEDDs administer the Think College mini-grants and many are currently operating Transition Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSIDs) – federal grants that create inclusive postsecondary educational options at colleges and universities across the country. (Some TPSIDs are based at organizations other than UCEDDs as well.)

How does AUCD help Think College?

AUCD supports UCEDDs like the Institute for Community Inclusion at UMass Boston (home of Think College) and advocates for federal programs like Think College and the TPSID grants. AUCD supports Think College by sharing information and resources across the UCEDD network, coordinating meetings, providing technical assistance, and managing contracts for the Think College mini-grantees, Emerging Scholars, and partners. AUCD also works with Congress to inform its members about the critical importance of postsecondary education for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and about the need for expanded efforts in making two- and four-year colleges and universities more accessible and welcoming to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Where can I find more information?

To learn more and find the UCEDD in your state, please visit the AUCD directory of UCEDDs at http://www.aucd.org/directory/directory.cfm?program=UCEDD