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HDI Student Planning Still We Rise Banquet to Honor Resiliency of Fellow UK Students

Published: November 20, 2018

Last year, as part of their studies in the Human Development Institute’s (HDI) Universal Design Certificate Program, two undergraduate students, Lauren Brown and Kennedy Guess, wrote and received an Inclusive Excellence Student Program Grant for $9,975. The Inclusive Excellence funds were awarded to the HDI in September to host a Still We Rise banquet that will recognize the strengths and resilience of students who have overcome extreme circumstances. Along with the Human Development Institute, partners on the Still We Rise banquet include the UK Disability Resource Center, Student Support Services, and the Martin Luther King Center.

Nominations are now open for the Still We Rise 2019 award. To nominate a student, submit a brief personal statement from the student, student resume, and a letter of support from UK faculty/staff or from a fellow student. Deadline to nominate is December 15, 2018. All materials can be submitted electronically to Kennedy Guess: kkguess@mac.comHDI Student Planning Still We Rise Banquet to Honor Resiliency of Fellow UK StudentsRead More…

Jason Jones and Christina Espinosa Bard Presenting at the City Council Meeting

Lexington ADA Taskforce Leads the Way on State Residential Code Changes Toward Universal Design!

Published: November 1, 2018

Two residential building code changes written by a subcommittee of Lexington’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Task Force have now been adopted as part of the 2018 Kentucky Residential Code (KRC). With support from leaders in Lexington and the leadership of the ADA Task Force, these two KRC codes went into effect August 22, 2018 for the benefit of all Kentuckians!Lexington ADA Taskforce Leads the Way on State Residential Code Changes Toward Universal Design!Read More…

Darrell Mattingly at the dojo using a weapon.

Cerebral Palsy’s No Match for this Kenpo Karate Warrior

Published: October 15, 2018

Personal Life:

I was born and raised in rural Marion County, Kentucky. After high school, I attended the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY where I received two Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science and Mathematical Science with a minor in Statistics. I’m currently a web designer and developer for The Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky. I also  serve on many non-profit boards which assist the disabled community, including the Adaptive Martial Arts Association.

I was born with Cerebral Palsy and use a walker and motorized wheelchair to get around. After years of renting, I purchased a home in 2013 and enjoy personalizing it. I also enjoy pursuing my passion of martial arts and currently hold the rank of Nidan (2nd Degree Black Belt) in traditional Kenpo Karate.Cerebral Palsy’s No Match for this Kenpo Karate WarriorRead More…

Emma Keyser and Brooke Wray

HDI Speakers Featured at Post-Secondary Education Workshop in Louisville


On Thursday, October 11,  HDI’s Teresa Belluscio and her two STEPS students, Emma Keyser and Brooke Wray, co-presented at a “Build Your Future” workshop at the McDowell Center in Louisville. The McDowell Center holds the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) and Kentucky Office for the Blind (OFB) Offices. The workshop was sponsored by the Center for Independent Living.

The speakers shared tips on choosing a college, how the disability resource center on campus can help, and being successful in college. They also discussed options for students with intellectual disabilities, and Emma and Brooke participated on the panel of current college students.HDI Speakers Featured at Post-Secondary Education Workshop in LouisvilleRead More…

Young woman with a disability working at a computer.

KentuckyWorks Louisville Employment Community Conversation

Published: October 12, 2018

Come join us on Monday, December 3 from 6:30-8:30pm at Down Syndrome of Louisville’s Sublett Hall to engage in conversations about setting employment priorities for people with disabilities throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky! Organizing partners of the event include Down Syndrome of Louisville, Center for Accessible Living, and the University of Louisville Kentucky Autism Training Center.

This event is open to all youth with disabilities, their families, educators and employment professionals, and the location is Down Syndrome Louisville Sublett Hall at 5001 S. Hurstbourne Pkwy., Louisville, KY 40291. Registration is free, and DSL is generously providing refreshments.

To register and reserve a spot, click here. Download the flyer here.KentuckyWorks Louisville Employment Community ConversationRead More…

Man with Down syndrome working at a computer.

Tracking Employment Progress in KY for Students with Disabilities

Published: October 11, 2018

by Tony Lobianco, Principal Investigator / Project Director KentuckyPost School Outcomes Center

KentuckyWorks tracks its progress through data from the Kentucky Post School Outcomes Center. This Center looks at employment and education outcomes in the first year after high school for students with disabilities. We focus on former students with autism, functional mental disabilities, and multiple disabilities. The figure below shows rates of competitive employment (defined as working at or above minimum wage for an average of 20 hours or more per week for 90 days) and enrollment in higher education (defined as completing at least one term in a two or four-year college or university).

As can be seen rates for both competitive employment and higher education were highest but declining prior to the start of Kentucky Works. However between 2017 and 2018 gains were made in both areas, moving from a competitive employment rate of 12.8% to 14% and a higher education rate of 11% to 11.6%.Tracking Employment Progress in KY for Students with DisabilitiesRead More…

Kentucky's Employment First Council

Kentucky’s Employment First Council Launches First Meeting!

Published: October 8, 2018

Kentucky’s Employment First Council assembled for its first meeting on Thursday, October 4. The 27 member group is comprised of people with disabilities, family members, employers, state agency representatives, and provider agencies. The Council was convened as a result of an Executive Order, signed by Governor Matt Bevin on May 15, 2018, making Kentucky an Employment First state. Employment First is the philosophy that everyone, including people with significant disabilities, can work in integrated employment. Kentucky’s Executive Order states “…competitive and integrated employment in the community shall be considered the first and primary option for persons with disabilities of working age who have communicated a desire to become employed”.Kentucky’s Employment First Council Launches First Meeting!Read More…

Photo of Danielle Augustin

Spotlight on Danielle Augustin


Danielle Augustin is a part-time Inclusive Health Project Assistant at HDI with work spanning several projects, including the Health and Wellness Initiative: Project CHEER and Wellness Edge. Danielle is a student in the Master’s Health Promotion program with expected graduation in May, 2019. She will also be starting next semester as a Research Assistant under Dr. Elaine Eisenbaum’s newest grant, the Serious Mental Illness National Training Center grant from the Administration on Community Living.Spotlight on Danielle AugustinRead More…

Judy Johns receiving NAMI award

HDI’s Judy Johns Recognized by the National Association for Mental Health (NAMI)

Published: October 5, 2018

HDI’s Judy Johns was recognized as the “Family Support Group Facilitator of the Year” on September 22 at the 2018 NAMI Kentucky Annual Conference for her many years as a volunteer. She was trained in 2015 by NAMI to facilitate a family support group and to offer the 13 week family-to-family training course.HDI’s Judy Johns Recognized by the National Association for Mental Health (NAMI)Read More…

Image of flyer.

The 4th Thursday ADA Talks: October

Published: October 4, 2018

HDI and HDI CATS have launched an ADA Training series to be held on the fourth Thursday of each month covering different topics surrounding the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The next training will be led by Jason Jones and will cover “ADA & Public Accommodations: Legal Applications of Title III” on October 25, 2018 from 10-11am. You can register here or get more information by emailing 4th Thursday ADA Talks: OctoberRead More…