Brief History of the UMKC-UCEDD Program. The historical context of the UMKC-UCEDD is important from two perspectives: (a) the unique conditions and factors in Missouri that led to the establishment and evolution of the UMKC-UCEDD; and (b) the UMKC-UCEDD’s response to programmatic needs of unserved and underserved populations that have shaped the development of the program over its 34 year history.
Administration: The UMKC-UCEDD was founded in the late 1970s with a focus on expanding access to community based supports for people with DD and their families in Missouri. Through the support of the Missouri DD Council and funding provided through the Administration on DD the Institute for Community Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City established the Missouri UMKC-UCEDD in 1977. The new UMKC-UCEDD was created to address consumer-identified needs from a community based approach.
In 1985, the establishment of the UMKC Institute for Human Development provided the UMKC-UCEDD a permanent and independent home within the University. The Institute was formed to administer the UMKC-UCEDD’s core function activities. The Institute reports directly to the Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development. This structure allows the Institute to develop strong University linkages.
Community Services and Supports: Demonstrations: The UMKC-UCEDD’s first major demonstration, a preschool established at the request of the MO Department of Mental Health in 1980, provided community-based integrated preschool services for inner city children with severe disabilities, ages three to five years. In 1987, the UMKC-UCEDD made the strategic decision to no longer operate the preschool itself, but to focus its efforts on building the capacity of community agencies to effectively provide this service, as well as other services demonstrating “exemplary” qualities. Since that time, the primary strategy of the UMKC-UCEDD has been to design demonstration services and supports that are vested in community agencies. More recently, UMKC-UCEDD community demonstration projects have addressed unserved and underserved populations, including African Americans (e.g. conducting career academies for urban youth) and Hispanics (e.g. providing family support).
Community Training: Since the early years of the UMKC-UCEDD, emphasis has also been placed on responding to the personnel development needs of the state. For example, as part of an ongoing contract to serve as the state DD agency’s training and research unit, the UMKC-UCEDD developed a statewide case management system in 1983. Since the mid-1980’s, UMKC-UCEDD community-based training activities have emphasized competency based approaches with extensive follow up support. Recent statewide training has included training Missouri Division of DD personnel to provide effective family centered supports, training peer family support mentors, and providing training related to self-determination.
Technical Assistance: Technical Assistance (TA) has proven to be one of the most effective UMKC-UCEDD tools for systems change. Early examples at the local level included strategic planning for County DD Boards and at the state level, board development for the State P&A Program. More recently, the UMKC-UCEDD has provided ongoing TA and support to the statewide network of People First Chapters and has provided consultation to a number of organizations (e.g. autism center, pediatric care center) to incorporate parent-to-parent mentoring. Table 1 provides a sampling of recent community service initiatives. Contact George Gotto
Interdisciplinary Personnel Preparation: Early University-based interdisciplinary training activities led to the establishment of a DD track in Psychology and Education at UMKC, and the development of an interdisciplinary two-course core sequence taught by UMKC-UCE faculty. In 1988, the Interdisciplinary Training Center on Gerontology and DD established one of eight ADD-funded national training initiatives on aging which led the UMKC-UCE to establish a certificate in Aging and DD.
Since 1995, the UMKC-UCE has offered leadership training in allied health professions through the Maternal and Child Health, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program, operated at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. This joint program between two University of Missouri campuses represents a comprehensive interdisciplinary training program with targeted competencies in urban and rural health care in neurodevelopmental disabilities.
In 2004, UMKC-UCE began offering a graduate certificate in Disability Studies. This program is aimed at graduate university students from multiple disciplines, who desire to attain competence in a model that advocates the need for social and systemic change to support the needs of individuals with disabilities.
Information Dissemination: Information dissemination has also been a vital link between the UMKC-UCE, the University, and the community. This activity has been carried out through: development of resources; dissemination of products; provision of peer mentoring supports; and the establishment of information resource centers.
Early key projects led to the establishment of targeted resource centers including the Autism Resource Center (1988-90), the Missouri DD Resource Center (1990-present), the Veterans Family Resource Center (1992-97), and the Resource Center on Sexuality and DD at the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (1994-present). With the exception of the Sexuality Resource Center, which remains in a separate agency, all of the Resource Centers now have been incorporated into a full service center through the Missouri DD Resource Center (DDRC). A parent and consumer advisory group assists the DDRC in developing and maintaining an Internet web-site (www.mofamilytofamily.org) that is family and consumer responsive. More recently, information dissemination initiatives have focused on access to information through the use of peer mentors and the dissemination of products through the National Gateway to Self-Determination. Appendix K provides a sampling of current products of the UMKC-UCE.
Applied Research: In the early years the UMKC-UCE led an ADD consortium of UCEs (Eugene, Oregon; Boston, Massachusetts; and Valhalla, New York) in addressing issues in social competence and employment. Social Competence for Workers with Developmental Disabilities, A Guide to Enhancing Employment Outcomes in Integrated Settings, edited by Carl F. Calkins, Ph.D., and Hill M. Walker, Ph.D., received the 1990 Book of the Year Award from the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. More recent examples of applied research include the conduct of statewide and community needs assessments and the evaluation of community projects with publication of “Lessons Learned” and the numerous research to practice products of the National Gateway to Self-Determination.