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Human Development Institute

University Center for
Excellence in Disabilities

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HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight — Sonja Feist-Price

Published: March 15, 2019

HDI is an indispensable resource for our state and the Commonwealth and serves as a very important reason why we are the University FOR Kentucky. —Sonja Feist-Price, UK Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Rehabilitation Counseling Faculty Member

How long have you been involved with HDI and what is your role? 

I’ve been a faculty member in the Graduate Program in Rehabilitation Counseling since 1992. It has been an honor and a privilege to work in collaboration with and have the support of HDI. HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight — Sonja Feist-PriceRead More…

Four female students working together, including one with Down syndrome.

HDI Projects for Education & an Insider Perspective from Mike Abell: Part 2

Published: March 14, 2019

by Amanda Corbin

Innovations in Education

For students age three to 21, in both special education and general education, we are already seeing innovation in public education. Dr. Abell predicts these innovations will only increase as time goes on. Examples of some of these innovations include online learning, computer-based remediation, mobile technology, virtual reality, higher education for students with disabilities (SWD), and more affordable higher education.HDI Projects for Education & an Insider Perspective from Mike Abell: Part 2Read More…

Image of Memorial Hall with the HDI 50th Anniversary logo, text that says Spotlight: Dabera Harley, and an overlaid image of a middle-aged African American woman

HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight — Debra Harley

Published: March 12, 2019

To me, HDI means community – a community of consumers and professionals working for the common good. — Debra Harley, Developmental Disabilities Certificate Program Faculty

How did you come to know HDI? 

My relationship with HDI is a natural fit because of the study of and service to people with disabilities. What HDI does is provide an instantaneous application of best practices to improve the quality of life of individuals with disabilities. HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight — Debra HarleyRead More…

Photo of 4 girls with their arms each other at school, including one girl with Down syndrome.

HDI Projects for Education & an Insider Perspective from Mike Abell: Part 1

Published: March 6, 2019

Amanda Kelley Corbin

Dr. Mike Abell has worked in special education since 1991 and has experience with students with disabilities from preschool to post-secondary transition. He has worked on projects dealing with behavior supports and behavior intervention programs in schools, and he has worked to help school districts incorporate assistive technology and universal design for learning principles in classrooms.HDI Projects for Education & an Insider Perspective from Mike Abell: Part 1Read More…

Allie Rhodes standing by a KARRN poster

HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight — Allie Rhodes

Published: March 1, 2019

I was blessed to be a part of an organization that works to make life better for ALL individuals through collaboration with organizations across many different fields. Having won the Paul Kevin Burberry award is one of my greatest accomplishments because of what it represents. As described when I was presented the award, it is given to those who have (to quote) demonstrated a strong commitment to people with disabilities through university and community projects and experiences, demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence in his or her chosen field of endeavor and demonstrated the leadership qualities exemplified by Kevins own life. To know that I had a small part in demonstrating this positively affects many of the decisions I make today.  —Allie Rhodes

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Two men with Down syndrome in a meeting.

2019 Spring Institute in Assistive Technology on March 28

Published: February 27, 2019

Please join us March 28 for the FREE 2019 Spring Institute in Assistive Technology conference at the UK Student Center. The event will feature sessions by experts in assistive technology, a user panel, and hands on demonstrations of a variety of AT devices. It is aimed at students, researchers, faculty, staff, community members and self-advocates. Lunch will be provided. Space is limited, so reserve your spot now!2019 Spring Institute in Assistive Technology on March 28Read More…

Photo of Memorial Hall at UK with a small photo of an older man, Ken Olsen, in the lower right hand corner.

HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight — Ken Olsen

Published: February 22, 2019

My advice to current and future staff and students at HDI is only to fully embrace the interdisciplinary approach and to learn as much as you can about the other disciplines. As clinic director, I initiated a series of training events to acquaint students with all the disciplines, PT, OT, Pediatrics, etc. In truth, the one who learned the most was me.  —Ken Olsen, Former Director of Mid South Regional Resource Center

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Photo of attractive blond woman smiling.

HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight — Karen Roof Boudreaux

Published: February 18, 2019

As a part of HDI’s 50th celebration, we are profiling individuals who have offered vital contributions over the years toward accomplishing HDI’s mission of inclusion and independence for people with disabilities and their families. We are profiling the self-advocates who have educated, informed, and pushed us to going further. We are profiling family members who were willing to share their experiences and journey. We are profiling students who went through our training programs who enriched our training program while they were at HDI and have gone on to do great things. We are profiling practitioners who have trained people working in the communities to serve all of us and helped implemented inclusive programs and policies. We are profiling researchers who have helped translate research to practice and vice versa. We are profiling partners who have shared their resources and space because they believed in our mission. Scores of people have helped and continue to help HDI realize its mission.HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight — Karen Roof BoudreauxRead More…

Young black man with Down syndrome clearing dishes at a restaurant.

Kentucky Employment First Council Establishes Sub-Committees

Published: February 5, 2019

By Jeff White

Noted self-advocate Robert M. Hensel is frequently quoted as stating, “There is no greater disability in society, than the inability to see a person as more.” This is quite an understatement considering that Mr. Hensel is the Guinness World Records holder for the longest non-stop wheelie in a wheelchair, covering a total distance of 6.178 miles.  Mr. Hensel exhibited abilities far beyond what could reasonably be expected.  Now, here in Kentucky, we have the opportunity to give others like Mr. Hensel the chance to prove what they can accomplish.  Sometimes, an opportunity is all that is needed.Kentucky Employment First Council Establishes Sub-CommitteesRead More…

HB144 Employment Subcommittee


by Kellie McCain of the DD Council

Kentucky’s Commission on Services and Supports for Individuals with Intellectual and Other Developmental Disabilities (also known as HB 144 Commission) advises the Governor and General Assembly about the service system that impacts the lives of people with disabilities. A sub-committee of the HB 144 commission was established to address issues impacting employment for persons with developmental disabilities. Comprised of members representing state agencies, service providers, advocacy agencies, lawmakers and people with developmental disabilities, the committee has set out to identify what must occur to create an efficient employment system that is supportive of people with developmental disabilities obtaining meaningful employment in the Commonwealth.HB144 Employment SubcommitteeRead More…