As one of the core functions required of all University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act as amended in 1984 (The DD Act), the Institute on Disabilities has been involved in technical assistance activities. Technical assistance was defined in the 1987 amendments to the DD Act as a "a wide array of activities designed to facilitate individual or agency change in some systematic manner by providing expertise in problem solving."
The Institute on Disabilities provides technical assistance at the local, state, national and international levels to individuals, agencies and government entities. Technical assistance activities focus on increasing the independence, productivity and inclusion of all people with developmental disabilities.
Currently, technical assistance activities focus on the following areas:
- Assistive Technology - conducting needs assessments;
- Community Living - assisting support providers in the development of quality improvement plans to increase the achievement of personal outcomes for people they support; assisting counties and state governments in developing quality improvement systems that are customer-focused and customer-responsive;
- Family Support - assisting in the evaluation of current family support systems, making recommendations for improvements;
- Personnel Preparation - providing assistance to faculty members as they learn to teach all children;
- Consumer Empowerment - providing assistance to various entities in the development of consumer surveys, etc.;
- Development of individual budgets.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
Administration on Developmental Disabilities,
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research,
Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs (formerly PA Office of Mental Retardation),
City of Philadelphia Mental Retardation Services,
Developmental Disabilities Council.