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Sally Sexton.

29 MNLEND Fellows Complete Year

Capping a year of learning and interacting almost entirely online, the 29 graduates of ICI’s MNLEND certificate program recently closed out their final ceremony with messages from  Minnesota's lieutenant governor, state senators from both political parties, a former MNLEND fellow, and others.

“Participating in MNLEND has shaped me as a leader more than I could have anticipated,” said Sally Sexton (pictured), a fellow who, in her MNLEND project, helped develop the Minnesota Inclusive Higher Education Consortium, a learning community that aims to expand postsecondary opportunities for students with intellectual disability.

MNLEND is an interdisciplinary leadership training program spanning approximately 14 disciplines across the University of Minnesota, funded by the U.S. Maternal & Child Health Bureau.  Read more.

A laughing young girl with a disability holds a soccer ball stamped with the Special Olympics logo.

Partners in Mind + Body: ICI Teams Up with the Special Olympics

Deepening ICI’s partnerships with Special Olympics organizations, Renáta Tichá and Brian Abery recently began creating a screening tool for developmental milestones that will eventually be incorporated into Special Olympics sites around the world. Another project will evaluate social and educational inclusion programs for secondary school students in Minnesota.

The current partnership with Special Olympics Minnesota began in 2018, with a small grant to evaluate how participating schools were implementing the Special Olympics Minnesota Unified Champion School Program. The program includes leadership and whole-school inclusion components, along with inclusive physical education and a unified sports program, all designed to bring students with and without disabilities together.

“The tool will be used to screen for developmental milestones, vision, hearing, and other health issues,” said Tichá. “We are pleased to be working with Special Olympics because it provides us with the opportunity to reach children and youth where they play, and to work with families and children with disabilities to foster social inclusion outside of the school setting.” Read more.

Jennifer Hall-Lande in 2016 at the headquarters of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Celebrating ADA in Good Health

Aiming to ensure a large number of people with disabilities and their support professionals are vaccinated by next month, ICI is partnering with other organizations to develop accessible awareness campaigns about COVID-19 vaccinations. The goal is to ensure all eligible people with disabilities are vaccinated by the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26.

“We’re talking with a number of state organizations and other partners about providing vaccine ambassador training for self-advocates and DSPs,” ICI's Jennifer Hall-Lande said. “We bring an understanding of how to make information accessible, particularly in the disability experience.” She is pictured at the headquarters of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she was trained in 2016. Read more.