The Institute on Disabilities has recently been awarded new grants from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council.  

More information about the programs and their outcomes will be available on the Institute's website in the coming months.  

Inclusive and Equitable Futures: Trauma-Informed Practice in Preschool Supports (TIPPS)

Training initiative to address and disrupt the preschool-to-prison pipeline.

In partnership with Amy Lynch, PhD of the College of Public Health at Temple University and collaborating with an advisory board, the program will gather data and disseminate information to increase public awareness of the preschool to prison pipeline. The goal will be to educate parents, educators, and others about the pipeline, as well as to explore implementation of trauma-responsive protocols to respond to behaviors in early childhood education which can be precursors to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Unemployment and Underemployment of People with Developmental Disabilities

Intervention program addressing the unemployment and underemployment of people with developmental disabilities, including transition-age youth.

The employment rate of people with disabilities is exceptionally low when compared to people without disabilities in Pennsylvania. The PA Workforce Coalition was recently created to break down barriers to employment and increase overall employment of people with disabilities in Pennsylvania.  

The Institute will partner with the PA Workforce Coalition to build capacity by leveraging Local Workforce Development Areas (LWDAs) and PA CareerLink to build and expand upon Mentor Networks throughout the state to educate and coach businesses on acquiring talent. The program plans to capitalize on Workforce Development Boards to increase employers’ access to training and technical assistance.

Supported Decision Making

Strengthen ongoing systems change related to increasing the use of supported decision-making (a tool which allows people with disabilities retain their decision-making capacity by selecting supporters to help them make choices.)

Building on the national guardianship reform movement, and the tools and practices of the National Resource Center for Supported Decision Making, this program will work to help empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities using supported decision-making throughout the adult lifespan.  

A template for education and awareness will be created, including train-the-trainer materials, a resource toolkit and training sessions. The goal is to expand the number of people in Pennsylvania who successfully use supported decision making in their own lives.  

AT Champions — Technology For All

Increasing the successful use of assistive technology (AT) by Pennsylvanians with developmental disabilities.

The AT Champions program will recruit and pay Pennsylvanians with developmental disabilities to be "AT Champions" and through guided hands-on exploration and discovery, TechOWL will expand their knowledge of AT in an effort to increase community inclusion and independence. TechOWL, a part of the Institute, is the designated Assistive Technology Act program for Pennsylvania.

The AT Champions will learn about tools and technology and will then share stories and photos, and make short videos about their AT experience, helping others understand what works AT for them. Working with the AT Champions, this program will create a variety of educational events for diverse audiences, produce an educational media campaign, develop classes and helpful website content.