Driven to Discover the Future This past year, we reflected on the work we do, how we are organized, and how we communicate our work to others in order to better define our path forward. At a recent Institute meeting, “Driven to Discover the Future” was adopted as a theme to underscore this forward thinking. At our most foundational level, we are driven by our mission that all people with disabilities have the opportunity to be participating members in their communities of choice. To accomplish this, we have re-envisioned the ways in which our research, training, and outreach address the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families from early to later in life. These areas of programmatic focus include:
Early Intervention + Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Through rich interdisciplinary training programs for University of Minnesota students and community leaders, robust research in underserved communities, education about the importance of early intervention, as well as participation in the University’s Autism Initiative, we have positioned ourselves as an expert resource to address a growing national issue while strengthening communities with information and ways to take action.
Educational Assessment + Intervention. Our experts provide leadership in designing and building educational assessments and accountability systems that monitor results for all students, including students with disabilities and English language learners (ELLs). In addition, effective implementation of inclusive practices is supported by experts who develop and implement classroom-based formative assessment processes and intervention systems that provide feedback used to adjust instruction to improve learning.
Educational Systems Improvement. We deliver collaborative technical assistance and dissemination to support state and lead agencies as they seek to sustain systems change to improve education results and accountability for children, youth and their families.
Transition. Our goals are to improve access and success for students with disabilities in secondary and postsecondary education, as well as with regards to employment, independent living, and community participation.
Community Living. Our mission is to promote the inclusion and full participation of people with disabilities in their communities of choice. Our skilled staff engages in research, training, and knowledgeable outreach in a broad range of topics, including housing and residential services, direct support workforce development, person-centered planning, self-determination, social inclusion, and employment.
Of course, many of these areas are led by renowned experts and have been built over a shared 30+ year history in the disability field. But as we inspire each other to continue to be Driven to Discover the Future, it is vital that we envision new ways in which we can create opportunities to connect policymakers, professionals, and individuals with disabilities and their families with our work through skilled technical assistance, improved communication systems, new on-line strategies, and strategic efforts to broaden our partnerships with agencies, organizations, and individuals at every level. In short, we are striving to achieve a greater level of accessibility, thus enhancing the opportunity for our mission-driven work to have an even greater impact. I hope you enjoy our efforts – like this Annual Report – as we seek creative new ways to share our results with you. Please let me know what you think – I’d like to hear from you.
David R. Johnson, Ph.D., Director of ICI
Through collaborative research, training, and outreach, the Institute on Community Integration improves policies and practices to ensure that all children, youth, and adults with disabilities are valued by, and contribute to, their communities of choice. View this year’s accomplishments by clicking on each of the Institute’s program areas below.
The Institute’s 70+ projects and six affiliated centers conduct their work in collaboration with service providers, policymakers, educators, advocacy and self-advocacy organizations, researchers, families, and individuals with disabilities around the world, generating and sharing state-of-the-art knowledge supporting community inclusion of people with disabilities.