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National Network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service

New! UCEDD Fact Sheet

The University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDDs) are unique among Administration on Disabilities (AoD) grantees in that they are affiliated with universities. This connection enables the 67 UCEDDs throughout the United States and its territories to serve as liaisons between academia and the community.

Discretionary grants are awarded to interdisciplinary education, research, and public service units of universities and public or nonprofit entities associated with universities. AoD funding supports the organizational foundation of UCEDDs, which allows the grantees to pursue other sources of support to conduct various activities. UCEDDs leverage funding from a variety of sources, including federal, state, and local agencies; private foundations; donations; and fee-for-service earnings.

Addressing Issues, Finding Solutions, Advancing Research

UCEDDs are a nationwide network of independent but interlinked centers representing an expansive national resource for addressing issues, finding solutions, and advancing research related to the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

Four core functions frame the UCEDD program:

  • Interdisciplinary pre-service preparation and continuing education;
  • Research, including basic or applied research, evaluation, and public policy analysis;
  • Information dissemination; and
  • Community services, including direct services, training, technical assistance, and model demonstrations.

UCEDDs support activities that address a range of issues, from early intervention to supported employment. Additional grants may be awarded to UCEDDs to conduct national training and other initiatives. Current national training initiatives are funded to address neonatal abstinence syndrome stemming from the opioid crisis and supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with co-occurring mental or behavioral health disabilities.

Find a UCEDD in your state or territory.


Outcome Data Tables

Report Title

Description Year
Community Training Programs Number of participants in community training programs offered by the UCEDD faculty/staff broken out by areas of emphasis.  2020
Continuing Education Programs

Number of participants in continuing education programs across different areas of emphasis offered by the UCEDD that:

  • Serve to maintain professional credentials;
  • Encourage professionals to expand their knowledge bases and stay up-to-date on new developments; and
  • Offer certificates of completion or CEUs (or their equivalents).



Interdisciplinary Pre-Services Trainings Program /

Pre-Service Preparation Programs

Number of participants attending instructional programs offered by the UCEDD that:

  • Advances professional practice, scholarship, and policy that impact the lives of people with developmental disabilities and other disabilities and their families.
  • Is designed to advance in individual’s academic or professional credentials and takes place in academic setting or program; and
  • May lead to the award of an initial academic degree, professional certificate, or advanced academic credential.


Technical Assistance

Number of participants in direct problem-solving services provided by UCEDD faculty/staff to assist programs, agencies, or other entities to improve their outcomes, services, management, and/or policies.


Model Services

Number of participants in specialized services delivered with the intention to enhance the well-being and status of the recipient (this data does not include testing new practices that may be integrated with training, research, and/or dissemination functions).


Demonstration Services

Number of participants that test promising practices across different areas of emphasis. 



Number of participants in research and evaluation activities across different areas of emphasis that impact individuals with developmental disabilities. 


Products Created by UCEDDs

Number of information dissemination products created by UCEDDs.




Examples of UCEDDs' Activities

Direct Care Workforce

The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Human Services, established a Direct Support Professional (DSP) Capacity Building initiative to help strengthen the recruitment, skills, and retention of this critical workforce. The Boggs Center conducted two large-scale research surveys with direct service professionals (also called direct care workers) and disability stakeholders to identify gaps in services and other impacts of the long-standing shortage of DSPs, as well as gaps in their training. Survey results informed recommendations by the Boggs Center on core competencies to support a DSP career track and are being used by workforce development boards and community colleges to recruit and train future DSPs.  

Youth and Family Support

The Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD) UCEDD, based in New York, provides community training, technical assistance, and services to support children with I/DD and their families. During FY 2022-23, WIHD made 5,640 appointments to provide assessments, parent training, tutoring, and pediatric medical services to children and families involved in the foster care system. WIHD also partners with the University of Rochester UCEDD and the Rose F. Kennedy UCEDD to provide technical assistance to local health departments to support children and youth with complex health care needs. Between FY 2022-23, the three UCEDDs jointly provided professional training and resources to 550 public health officials across all 28 New York counties on topics addressing early detection, enhancing quality care, and building system capacity.   


The Ohio State University Nisonger Center UCEDD, through its dental services program, provides a complete range of oral health services to children and adults with I/DD. Each year, more than 3,000 people with I/DD and other increased healthcare needs receive treatment through the program. To help increase community capacity in providing healthcare services, the Nisonger Center also trains students enrolled Ohio State’s dental programs to meet the needs of people with I/DD. Each year, the program trains as many as 200 dental students, residents, and dental hygiene students.  

Abuse Prevention

People with I/DD are seven times more likely to experience sexual assault. The Partnership for People with Disabilities at the Virginia Commonwealth University developed an initiative, Leadership for Empowerment and Abuse Prevention (LEAP), to teach people with I/DD and professionals who support them strategies and skills to prevent abuse and to detect and address it when it occurs. Approximately 1,000 Virginians with I/DD, 1,500 professionals, and over 25 disability support agencies in Virginia have participated in LEAP training. The initiative has recently expanded its outreach efforts to provide live virtual webinar training to more than 1,000 participants.  

Assistive Technology

The Institute on Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois, Chicago, operates a mobile Assistive Technology Unit (ATU). This initiative is the largest mobile assistive technology program in the country. Each year, approximately 1,110 consumers from underserved communities receive AT services in their home, school, or worksite that are individualized based on needs identified through interviews, observations, and assessments. The interdisciplinary ATU team includes professionals from a range disciplines, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology, rehabilitation engineering, and architecture.  


UCEDD Resource Center
UCEDD Resource Center logo

The UCEDD Resource Center (URC), implemented under contract with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), provides technical assistance to the UCEDDs. AUCD is a network of interdisciplinary centers advancing policy and practice for and with individuals with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities.

The URC provides a wide range of training and technical assistance services that work toward achieving the long-term outcomes of: 

  • Positioning UCEDDs as leaders and catalysts of systems change, capacity building, and advocacy at the international, national, state/territory, and local level; 
  • Positioning the UCEDD Network as a national and international resource that includes specific substantive areas of expertise that may be accessed and applied in diverse settings and circumstances;
  • Increasing the capacity of UCEDDs to provide leadership in; advise federal, state, and community policymakers about; and promote opportunities that lead to individuals with ID/DD exercising self-determination, becoming independent, productive, integrated, and included in all facets of community life;
  • Increasing UCEDD’s quality of data collection for Program Performance reporting (PPR), demonstrating the UCEDD Network’s collective impact on the local, state, national, and international levels; and
  • Increasing the percentage of people with I/DD across racial, ethnic, and cultural groups reporting greater equity in opportunities within the UCEDD Network and in the community life. 
Other UCEDD Grants

ACL awarded a number of new grants to University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDDs), including:

  • Community-based transition planning and implementation grants to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) with transitions, including from school to college or work in the community and from pediatric to adult health care providers.
  • National Training Initiative grants to help states more effectively address barriers experienced by people with IDD and co-occurring mental/behavioral health issues.

Learn more about these grants.

Program Contacts

For searchable directory of UCEDD programs by state or territory, click here.

Last modified on 05/01/2024

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