Our Work

Our Mandate

The Indiana Institute serves as a liaison between academia and the community in Indiana through our membership in a national network comprised of 67 independent but interlinked entities known as University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). This national network represents an expansive national resource for addressing issues, finding solutions, and advancing research related to 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.

Interdisciplinary Education

In 2022–2023, there were 8 undergraduate and graduate students or those in post-doctoral programs supported as part of the Institute’s Interdisciplinary Training Program. Students participated in curricular and field-based research experiences in order to increase their knowledge in disability and develop leadership skills.

In addition to supporting students embedded within Institute projects and programs, our faculty and staff taught courses within Indiana University’s School of Education. Course subject areas included special education, educational leadership, and transition.

Also in 2022–2023, 872 students received academic course instruction across nine courses generating 2,703 credit hours. Indiana Institute faculty and staff provided mentoring and advisement to 18 masters and doctoral level students.

Research and Evaluation

Indiana, like states nationally, is faced with continued uncertainty and economics shifts. Schools and communities are being called upon, even required, to do better – with diminished financial resources. The Indiana Institute is meeting these challenges through our research to practice initiatives. Some examples of initiatives around research to practice include:

  • Infant/Toddler Mental Health
  • Family Caregivers of Children with ASD/ID Research
  • Evidence-Based Sexual Health Education
  • Family Employment Awareness Training
  • Parks, Recreation, and Outdoors for Health
  • COVID-19 Vaccination Projects

Last year, our work supported 90 primary research and evaluation projects across our five areas of emphasis (early intervention and education, employment, self-advocacy/families, health promotion and equity, and recreation and accessibility).


The Institute is committed to communicating information and research findings to our broad constituencies. Dissemination efforts include publication in scholarly journals and books, policy briefs, curricula, resource guides, reports, newsletters, and multimedia. We host multiple websites and utilize social media tools that include blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Primary information materials are available in Spanish and in alternative formats. The Indiana Institute collaborates with Indiana University’s IU News Office in an effort to enhance our dissemination efforts around disability-related information to the public.

Our web efforts include mobile responsiveness for viewing on desktops, tablets, and mobile/phone browsing including a powerful search tool to enhance the user search experience. Last year, over 798,138 users viewed thousands of indexed pages of content organized by our core areas of concentration and Centers.

The Library at the Indiana Institute is a full service lending library (6,000 plus holdings) with a wide variety of resources about disability across the lifespan. The collection is available online through the Indiana University Libraries’ IUCAT system or for check-out to residents of the state of Indiana.

Training and Technical Assistance

The Indiana Institute’s training and technical assistance activities touch thousands of Hoosiers annually. Training activities and formats can be customized based on specific needs. Training topics encompass lifespan and various life areas including early intervention, education, employment, and community living as well as skill-building in self-determination, family support, and self-advocacy. Advanced training formats are offered that include online classes, training modules, webinars, and podcasts. Additionally, selected events offer attendees certificates of attendance, continuing education credits, and Indiana University graduate credit.

Technical assistance is a core component of many grants and contracts at the Indiana Institute. Our technical assistance activities are collaborative, systematic, targeted, and results-driven and designed to improve the capacity of schools, agencies, and organizations serving people with disabilities. Last year, over 7,811 hours of training and technical assistance was provided Institute-wide. Additionally, over 535 training and technical assistance events were conducted reaching a total of 114,945 persons with disabilities, family members, and professionals.

Institute faculty and staff also contribute time on various boards, committees, and working groups. Last year, staff involvement included:

  • 62 university-related and local committees
  • 58 state committees; and
  • 51 national committees.

Further Work

We go beyond these four core areas to encompass a total of seven major areas in our work. The additional work includes:

Coalition Development

Developing collaborative solutions by connecting and convening diverse community stakeholders. ­

Family Engagement

Supporting families through partnerships among educators and human service providers to strengthen learning, independence, and community connections.


Advancing effective policy and best practices by informing and educating decision makers.

18.5%federal grants and contracts

66.8%state and grants and contracts

14.7%other sources

Partners and Funding Sources

The Indiana Institute is funded in part by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is a member of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Additional funding resources include federal, state, local, and foundation grants and contracts.

Developmental Disabilities Network

The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, and Indiana Disability Rights, make up Indiana’s Developmental Disabilities Network that works to promote partnerships with state governments, local communities, and the private sector to assist people with disabilities to reach their maximum potential. All three entities receive core funding through the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

The Indiana Governor’s Council is an independent state agency that facilitates change. Their mission is to advance the independence, productivity, and inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society through planning, evaluation, collaboration, education, research, and advocacy.

To live in a society where persons with disabilities are free from abuse and neglect, are free to be effective self-advocates, and are free of discrimination; allowing for full inclusion in society is the vision of Indiana Disability Rights. This is achieved through protection and promotion of the rights of individuals with disabilities through empowerment and advocacy.

Association of University Centers on Disabilities

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) promotes and supports a national network of interdisciplinary centers advancing policy and practice for and with individuals with disabilities, their families, and communities. AUCD is committed to engaging the broader community around disability issues in order to elevate our nation’s focus, resources, and efforts towards increasing the quality of life for people with disabilities. The AUCD network is on the forefront of cutting edge research, best practices, and influential policymaking which impacts the disability conversation and movement every day. Collectively, the AUCD network trains thousands of early career professionals annually who will be moving into leadership positions in multiple disciplines around the country and world

Learn more about the AUCD

Office of the Vice Provost for Research

The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community receives support from the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR). OVPR's mission is to work with individuals, teams, centers, institutes, and schools to foster excellence in research and creative activities and to offer support to faculty to successfully compete for external funding. OVPR provides consultation, proposal development services, competitive internal funding programs, and research infrastructure for a wide range of research, scholarly, and creative activities.

Learn more about OVPR