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Human Development Institute

University Center for
Excellence in Disabilities

Elizabeth Biggs, with light brown hair and a dress, holding the Claw Award

Elizabeth Biggs receives the Maurice A. Clay Award as outstanding graduate senior in the College of Social Work.

Published: April 18, 2019

Elizabeth Biggs, who works as an HDI practicum student under the supervision of Bev Harp, received the Maurice A. Clay Award which recognized her as the outstanding graduate senior of the College of Social Work.

Below is a description of the award:

“The University of Kentucky Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, established the Maurice A. Clay Awards over twenty-five years ago to recognize the outstanding graduating senior in each academic college at UK, as selected by the Dean or the Dean’s representative.  The basic criterion is exceptional leadership, and service to the student’s college while maintaining a strong academic record.

ODK recognizes superior scholarship, leadership and exemplary character.  The Clay Awards are one way in which our national Leadership Society can bestow on graduating seniors a ‘Mark of High Distinction’.”Elizabeth Biggs receives the Maurice A. Clay Award as outstanding graduate senior in the College of Social Work.Read More…



Little girl with Down syndrome and boy playing at preschool with text that read One Day for UK Human Development Institute.

One Day for UK

Published: April 15, 2019

One day. One gift. One enormous impact.

On April 17, the University of Kentucky will rally its alumni, friends and fans to support One Day for UK, a 24- hour day of giving where donors can support the college, unit or cause of their choice. See HDI’s donation page to learn more about what we do and our passion project for 2019, and set your calendar to make a donation from midnight to 11:59pm on April 17! UK will offer promotions throughout the day for things like the first person to make a donation after midnight, early bird donations, social media posts by donors wearing blue, and much more! And a group of anonymous donors has generously provided a $525 match to the Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute Discretionary Gift Fund. Make your gift on April 17 to double the impact!

Many areas throughout the university have targeted specific funds for One Day for UK. For example, HDI is raising money to support the HDI’s Assistive Technology Center. Our passion project for 2018 is to make sure people with disabilities have access to adaptive equipment that promotes independence and growth. Our goal is to raise $2000 to offer about 135 hours of training to people with disabilities on how to use the equipment available at HDI CATs. This will help over 100 people with disabilities in 2019 to access and use equipment that will help them achieve their goals.

One Day for UKRead More…



Kathy Sheppard-Jones, Clyde and Susan Burberry, and Katie Terrell

HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight on Clyde David and Susan Burberry 

Published: April 12, 2019

To us, HDI means hope. When all is dark, HDI is a bright light leading, teaching, and training those who find that their purpose is to work with those who are unable to fit into the mainstream. Every year as we attend the annual meeting, we are greeted by familiar and new faces, all who are dedicated to a purpose much larger than themselves. —Clyde David and Susan Burberry

HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight on Clyde David and Susan Burberry Read More…



Photo of Marlene Huff, a white woman with white hair and glasses smiling and wearing black and white

HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight on Marlene B Huff 

Published: April 10, 2019

HDI is only a few buildings from the outside. From the inside, it is filled with experts in the disability movement. It is envied by other states and sometimes taken for granted by Kentuckians. Each individual represents a unique compilation of people whose heartfelt work is as diverse as persons with disabilities themselves. Love the work! Here’s to the next 50 years! —Marlene B Huff, Former Associate Director of the KEI

How did you come to know HDI? 

In 1993, Dr. Brent Garrett and I discussed my joining a 3-year demonstration project titled The Kentucky Employment Initiative (KEI). In 1994, I began work at HDI as an Associate Director of the KEI. Such an exciting time. Dr. Garrett, Norb Ryan, and I traveled the state educating public and private entities about a ‘new’ law called The American with Disabilities Act. HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight on Marlene B Huff Read More…



Woman in a pool with a service dog on the edge

Spring Seminar: Service Animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Published: April 9, 2019

“Each day in the United States service dogs provide an invaluable service for their handlers.  Whether it is assisting someone who is blind to navigate busy streets, or alerting a handler with diabetes that their blood sugar has dipped dangerously low, service animals are essential partners in everyday life. There remains a great deal of confusion on the part of the public as to what is and is not a service animal as well as the rights and responsibilities handlers and business have under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws. This seminar will answer those questions.” – Barry Whaley

Join us in person or online for our Spring Seminar series on Friday, April 19, 2019 from 1:00 – 3:00pm EST to learn more about “Service Animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act .”

Learn more from experts Steve Kuusisto, Barry Whaley, and Jason Jones. The seminar will be held at the UK Coldstream Research Campus Human Development Institute Training Room 1525 Bull Lea Road, Lexington KY. A link to the live video stream of the seminar will be sent to registrants.

Click here to register for the seminar. For help registering, contact walt.bower@uky.edu.Spring Seminar: Service Animals and the Americans with Disabilities ActRead More…



Five students with disabilities sitting on a bench, 2 boys and 3 girls

Summer Leadership Camp Experience 2019

Published: April 2, 2019

The Summer Leadership Experience Camp is for KY high school students entering their junior or senior year with mild to moderate disabilities who want to continue their education post-high school towards a career. Campers will learn skills such as self-discovery, college / career preparation, health and wellness, vocational rehabilitation, self -advocacy, accommodations, technology, and independent living. Activities include a campus tour at the University of Kentucky, group activities, mentoring and round table discussions with college students and faculty, and much, much more!

The Summer Leadership Experience is an overnight camp that will begin at 1 pm on Sunday, July 7th and will run through Wednesday, July 10th. Participants will spend three nights in the UK Residence Hall with meals included. Register online today at: https://uky.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_e3r6gClpL0nz2kZ or by mailing this registration form and $50 to:Summer Leadership Camp Experience 2019Read More…



Norb Ryan, white older man wearing a knit vest, at a computer smiling at the camera

HDI Spotlight on Norb Ryan

Published: March 28, 2019

Being a part of HDI not only helped me grow professionally but allowed me to meet a remarkable group of people. Those people and the HDI projects will continue today and, in the future, to have a positive impact in the state as well as nationally. —Norb Ryan, HDI Staff and Advisory Council Member

How did you come to know HDI? 

I became aware of HDI while I was employed at Cardinal Hill in the early 70s.         

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

I was involved with HDI for eight years as an employee, and for 13 years representing the Office of the State ADA Coordinator. I was on the staff from the fall of 1992 through January 2001. I was a member of the Kentucky Employment Initiative as the ADA Specialist. The ADA had recently been passed and someone was needed to understand the ADA and conduct trainings for UK students. After that grant was completed, I was the Director of the Kentucky Mentor initiative (KMI). The KMI found successful people with disabilities. These people would then present in the classrooms to show high school students, their parents, and teachers that people with disabilities can and do succeed. My last project was the ADA Initiative which trained parents, teachers, and students about the rights people with disabilities have under the ADA and how to properly access those rights. I was also part of the HDI team that created the Kentucky Business Leadership Network. I also represented HDI as a member of the National Board of Directors of AAUCP FOR 7 years, as well as co-chair of the national Consumer Advocacy Council. After I left HDI, I served as a member of the HDI Advisory Council for 13 years. 

HDI Spotlight on Norb RyanRead More…



Megan McCormick, 30-years-old with Down syndrome; Clay Carroll, 22 years-old with Williams syndrome; and Andy Meredith, 19 years old with Down syndrome

Employment for Youth with Disabilities: Seeing a Brighter Future, HDI Seminar Recap

Published: March 27, 2019

By Amanda Kelley Corbin

What are your hopes and dreams for your son or daughter’s future? It’s something every parent has pondered. And while the question is simple enough, the answers can be as complex and diverse as our children are. This is especially true when a child has a disability.

“Every child deserves to develop their talents and follow their dreams,” said Stella Beard, Assistant Director of the Kentucky Special Parent Involvement Network (KY-SPIN).

The goal of the Human Development Institute (HDI) Spring Seminar held on March 21, with nearly 100 attendees (online and in person) was to help parents develop their son’s or daughter’s dreams.

Stay tuned for the video to be uploaded in the next couple of weeks!

Employment for Youth with Disabilities: Seeing a Brighter Future, HDI Seminar RecapRead More…



Mother and father with a baby with Down syndrome

Latest Fund for Excellence Awards: March 2019

Published: March 25, 2019

The Human Development Institute (HDI) established the Fund for Excellence for the development of innovative programs, services or products to address the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, for which funding is not currently available. In the January, 2019 funding cycle, HDI awarded two Fund for Excellence projects:

Dr. Elaine Eisenbaum’s Music for All Inclusive Summer Music Camp, with Lindsey Mullis, Megan Jasperson, Dr. Chithra Adams, Dr. Olivia Swedberg Yinger, Austin Robinson, and Dr. Martina Vasil

Stephanie Meredith’s Prenatal and Postnatal Medical Outreach Modules to Improve the Genetic Diagnosis Experience for Families, with Dr. Harold Kleinert,  Julie Chien, and Angela Trepanier

“The Fund for Excellence gives HDI the ability to launch innovative and needed projects that are really collaborative in nature, as evidenced by our most recently funded round of applications. They foster partnerships across HDI, the University and beyond. These projects will yield important opportunities and resources to build inclusive communities,” said HDI’s director, Kathy Sheppard-Jones.

Latest Fund for Excellence Awards: March 2019Read More…



Man working on a laptop next to a washing machine.

HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight — Brent Garrett

Published: March 21, 2019

HDI meant opportunity for me. One was the focus on increasing opportunities for individuals with disabilities in schools and in the community, the focus that brought up all together. But there was also the opportunity for personal growth. It’s amazing how many HDI employees furthered their education while working more than full-time, supporting families, and trying to find time to have fun. So many HDI employees were also leaders in their field, volunteering time to serve on committees or in leadership positions in professional organizations. HDI is the rare organization where I’ve seen these kinds of opportunities offered and taken advantage of. —Brent Garrett, HDI Principal Investigator and Staff

HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight — Brent GarrettRead More…