School of Education’s Center on Human Policy awarded $2.3M grant for “Community for All Project”

The Center on Human Policy (CHP), a Syracuse University-based policy, research and advocacy organization affiliated with Cultural Foundations of Education in the School of Education, has been awarded a 5-year, $2.3 million dollar National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) development project grant to fund the “Community for All Project.” For over four decades, the CHP has been involved in the study and promotion of inclusive community opportunities for people with disabilities; acting as a bridge between research and practice both on and off campus.

The “Community for All Project” builds on the CHP’s 43-year tradition of leadership in supporting the rights of all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to community living and participation with an innovative NIDRR DRRP development project to provide tools to self-advocates, families, professionals and policymakers working on these issues.  In collaboration with the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, the University of Delaware and the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS), the “Community for All Project” will create free digital resources promoting community living and participation among people with intellectual disabilities in the United States.

CHP director and Centennial Professor of Disability Studies Steve Taylor says, “Through this grant, we will develop practical information for policy makers, people with disabilities, family members, professionals, and researchers and make it available through a broad range of print, social media, and electronic formats.”

The project will create six toolkits based on the Center on Human Policy’s nationally-recognized 2004 “Community for All” Tool Kit: Resources for Supporting Community Living.”Each new kit will include downloadable materials, a website, and an app, based on literature, suggestions from participants in Policy Institutes for each toolkit’s topic area, and recommendations taken from a technology conference for self-advocates to be hosted within the first year of the project.  Annual Design Institutes will regarding universal design and accessibility topics will advise the project on the the development of computer instruction videos.

Self-advocates will be involved in every phase of the project. Toolkit prototypes will be field tested in New York (with free iPads for 15 participants); final versions will be tested nationally.  Technical assistance will be available throughout the project and toolkit trainings will be offered.  An external evaluator will analyze progress and effectiveness of the project, including timely completion of all deliverables and achievement of measurable outcomes.

The “Community for All Project” was developed and will continue as a collaborative effort between Principal Investigators Steve Taylor; Wendy Harbor, Executive Director of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education; and Project Director Alan Foley, associate professor of Cultural Foundations of Education and Teaching and Leadership. The hope is, Taylor says, that “this grant will help the Center on Human Policy continue its long tradition of advocating for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in society.”

The Center on Human Policy was founded in 1971 by Burton Blatt in response to widespread abuse of and discrimination against people with disabilities in society. Over the decades, the Center has engaged in evolving policy, research, and advocacy in aligned with, and often leading, the national movement to insure the rights of people with disabilities. During the early years, CHP staff confronted the mass warehousing of children with disabilities and school exclusion through investigations, community education, legal advocacy, and the development of model programs.Today, the staff devotes attention to promoting inclusive education, employment opportunities, and full community participation for people with disabilities.