Over Veterans Day Weekend, many of the IOD’s faculty and staff made the trip down to Washington, DC for the 2018 AUCD Conference.

The IOD is a member of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), a network of 67 university-based Centers located in every state and territory in the United States that receive funding by the Administration on Intellectual Developmental Disabilities (AIDD). The IOD is New Hampshire's University Center for Excellence in Disability (UCED). Since 1963, UCEDs have been working to accomplish a shared vision that foresees a nation in which all Americans, including Americans with disabilities, participate fully in their communities. Independence, productivity, and community inclusion are key components of this vision.

“The AUCD Conference is a wonderful time to learn from leaders and colleagues from around the country about what they are doing to achieve inclusion in their communities,” shares Linda Bimbo, Acting IOD Director. “The IOD’s varied presentations and poster sessions at the conference this year is a testament to the quality of work we do every day.”

The Conference’s theme - We ALL Belong Here! Achieving Inclusive Communities – highlighted the importance belonging and inclusion to UCED mission. The IOD had its strongest presence at the conference this year with 11 faculty, staff, and a Consumer Advisory Council member attending.

The Conference serves as an important place where IOD staff can showcase and share their research interests with colleagues on a national level. This year faculty and staff presented in three panel sessions – a presentation on the findings of the Kessler Foundation National Employment Disability Survey-Supervisors Perspective by Drs. Andrew Houtenville and Kim Phillips, a discussion of the work being done to enhance home and community-based services for adults with IDD by Linda Bimbo, and a presentation looking at how the IOD and two other UCEDDs are modeling best practices in inclusion and accessibility with IOD staff members Art Frick, Maryann Allsop, and Kathy Bates. Faculty and staff also presented posters highlighting the work of the Center for START Services, RENEW, and the NH-ME LEND program.

On the final day of the Conference, attendees spent the day on Capitol Hill speaking with elected officials about their priorities and policies to achieve inclusive communities. Dr. Mary Schuh presented on a new initiative to develop a National Resource Center on Augmentative and Alternative Communication during this time