About IIDC

Dedicated to Our Mission and Committed to Our Values

The Indiana Institute works to put good ideas into everyday practice in schools and community settings to improve choices and quality of life for people with disabilities and their families.

Our mission is to work with communities to welcome, value, and support the meaningful participation of people of all ages and abilities through research, education, and service.

Our values permeate all of our activities and include:

  • People with disabilities exercise choice and control over their daily lives.
  • Persons with disabilities have dignity and are treated with respect.
  • Individuals with disabilities and their families are involved in the design, operation, and monitoring of services and supports that affect them.
  • Enhancing the broader community improves the lives of all, including those with disabilities.

Our Advisory Council validates our mission and values by including people with disabilities, parents of individuals with disabilities, and university representatives to ensure that service and dignity are central to our work.

Learn more about our Council

From the Director

Change is inevitable, and anyone engaging with Indiana’s public systems in recent years knows this all too well. In the last two years alone, systems that educate, serve, and support Hoosiers with disabilities across the lifespan began rethinking their approaches. Some systems are already initiating major reforms. Changes underway, among others, include the integration of new approaches in early childhood services, new graduation requirements targeting skills to prepare students for the labor force and higher education, redesigning of Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services, and an expansion of less restrictive alternatives to guardianship. Common among these is a push for greater individualization, increased service flexibility and choice, and greater opportunities for people with disabilities to be included in their communities.

At the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, we have been at the forefront of advancing and supporting many of these systems changes. With our deep expertise and knowledge about the state and the public systems, and our capacity to conduct research and evaluation, train and educate, convene and engage key stakeholders, and scale-up best practices, the Institute remains steadfastly committed to supporting the state to ensure all Hoosiers are included.

At the Institute, we also recognize that Indiana is a culturally and linguistically diverse and rich state. As such, it is imperative that we, through our day-to-day work, acknowledge and embrace this diversity. In the last year, we at the Institute committed to expand our professional and organizational capacities to more effectively include and serve diverse communities. As a partner in statewide systems change, we are also committed to using these capacities to ensure we are responsive to the varying needs of the diverse communities in which we operate.

The future is bright for people with disabilities in Indiana and the changes underway today will serve as the critical foundation. Though there is much work to do across the state, I am confident that with Indiana’s strong and effective self-advocates, families, advocates, professionals, and policymakers, people with disabilities will have greater opportunities to lead meaningful lives in the community.


Derek Nord, Ph.D
Director, Indiana Institute on
Disability and Community (IIDC)

90primary research and evaluation projects ranging in topics across the lifespan

132affiliated faculty, researchers, staff, support personnel, and graduate research assistants

2,703Student credit hours generated in 2022-23

Our Work

The Institute serves as a liaison between academia and Indiana communities. Our membership in a national network of 67 independent but interlinked organizations—University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD)—allows us to advance research and solutions for the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families.

Our federal designation as a UCEDD mandates that we perform a set of four core functions that are embedded in our work across Centers. They include:

  • Interdisciplinary pre-service preparation and continuing education;
  • Research, including basic or applied research, evaluation, and public policy analysis;
  • Information dissemination; and
  • Community services, including training, technical assistance, and model demonstration.
Learn more about our work

A History of Disability

A History of the Institute and Centers

In 2020, the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community celebrates 50 years of work on disability through research, education, and service. Our work is about putting good ideas into everyday practice in schools and community settings to improve choices and quality of life for people with disabilities and their families.

Learn more

A History of Disability in Indiana

The Indiana Disability History Project preserves the memories and experiences of Hoosiers with disabilities and highlights historic developments in the disability rights movement. The contributions of movement leaders and pioneers, as well as people trying to live ordinary lives, are documented here. Community activists, family members, educators, professional service providers, public officials, and legislators are all represented as both Hoosiers with disabilities and their supporters.

Visit the Project