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About Us/Our Initiatives

The Human Development Center (HDC) was established in 1974 and became a University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Education, Research and Service (UCEDD) in 1984. HDC is a member of AUCD , a national network of 67 UCEDD programs. The Mission of the Human Development Center (HDC) is to provide leadership and innovation in interdisciplinary education, community service, research, and to disseminate information to strengthen and increase the capacity of local communities to support and include individuals with [developmental] disabilities and their families in all aspects of life in the community.

The Organization of HDC Leadership (Link to larger image)

HDC Organization Chart

Early Childhood Initiatives

HDC's Early Childhood Initiatives, which target children between the ages of 1 and 5 years, are being re-established within HDC. Prior to the destruction of the facilities that housed HDC, Early Childhood Initiatives were among the most productive of all HDC program areas. The re-establishment of HDC's Early Childhood Initiatives is led by Maria T. Blanco, M. Ed.

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Early Head Start

HDC's Early Head Start Partnership provides free, high-quality, and comprehensive Early Head Start center–based child development services for more than 200 children from birth to three years of age as well as their families. HDC works with community childcare agencies to educate children and support families while also providing training, technical assistance, and resources to our partner agencies and their staff. The partnership is designed to increase the capacity of partner agencies to provide high-quality childcare to all of the families and children they serve.

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Early Learning Center (ELC)

HDC's Early Learning Center (ELC) is an on-site facility that works near equivalently to each of the participant centers in the Early Head Start Partnership. Unlike Early Head Start, however, the participants must be children of active LSUHSC employees. The Early Learning Center is a separate initiative from Early Head Start and is funded through an entirely different grant.

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Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND)

HDC's Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) is an interdisciplinary training program with an interdisciplinary faculty including representatives from both within HDC and from Schools and Departments outside of HDC. The LEND program prepares trainees from various fields to become leaders in the field of developmental disabilities with an emphasis on early childhood and life course theory. In 2016, HDC received a five-year grant to expand the scope and scale of this interdisciplinary training effort. There are several dozen LEND grants provided to organizations across the United States. Although the LEND grants are provided by AUCD, and many of the recipients are UCEDDs, not all of the recipients are UCEDDs.

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K-12 Education

HDC's K-12 Education Initiatives are led by Dr. W. Alan Coulter. Collectively, the work of the K-12 Education Initiatives staff is designed to build knowledge and capacity of professionals involved in K-12 Education by:

  • Preparing personnel to work in K-12 Education settings (pre-service)
  • Providing Continuing Education and Technical Assistance to educators, administrators, and policymakers regarding best practices for evidence-based and inclusive education
  • Provide community trainings for families, advocates, and other non-educators

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Louisiana School Psychology Internship Consortium (LAS*PIC)

HDC's Louisiana School Psychology Internship Consortium (LAS*PIC) is an American Psychology Association (APA)–accredited program for students in doctoral school psychology programs. During the past 25 years, LAS*PIC has provided an authentic, school-based training experience for interns. The LAS*PIC internship program combines an authentic school-based school psychology placement with didactic and life skills trainings, experiential rotations, and multiple levels of supervision to provide a training experience that prepares interns for a variety of career paths in school psychology.

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Louisiana Autism Spectrum and Related Disabilities Project (LASARD)

The goals of the Louisiana Autism Spectrum and Related Disabilities Project (LASARD) include:

  • Improve educational practices and outcomes for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and related disabilities
  • Develop statewide capacity to provide high quality educational programs for these students

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Louisiana Deafblind Project for Children and Youth (LADBP)

Deafblindness is a condition in which both a hearing and vision loss are present at the same time. The combined effects of these losses, even if both are mild, create unique challenges for the child, family, and educator. The Louisiana Deafblind Project for Children and Youth (LADBP) provides technical assistance and training to families, service providers, educators, and systems who support children and youth with deafblindness. The project promotes making high quality services available and encourages systems changes.

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Transition, Employment, and Careers

HDC's Transition, Employment, and Careers (TEC)  team, led by Susan Killam, includes a portfolio of projects and initiatives designed to build knowledge and capacity of secondary and post-secondary educators, community providers, employers, and self-advocates/advocates. The primary focus is to support job seekers with disabilities to obtain and maintain community employment outcomes.

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Employment First

The HDC Employment First page provides an online learning directory, national employment news feeds, and links to local, state, and national resources. Topics include job development, job site training, fading supports, natural supports, and follow-along. The Employment First initiative is also resposible for statewide Employment Specialist Core Training (40 hours) as well as training on special supported employment topics (5 hours). Both are offered throughout the state. The Employment First Web site lists current training locations and dates.

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Louisiana Benefits Planning and Support (LA-BPS)

Louisiana Benefits Planning and Support (LA-BPS) provides information to Social Security beneficiaries, ages 14–64, who wish to work or work more. It gives information about the impact of working on the benefits they receive. Benefit specialists are trained and certified by the Social Security Administration. Information and guidance provided to beneficiaries is based on a detailed analysis of all the benefits they receive. This results in a plan, including identification of Social Security and other work incentive options. This allows beneficiaries to work or work more while preventing loss of health benefits and/or overall income.

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Postsecondary Apprenticeship for Youth (PAY Check)

The Postsecondary Apprenticeship Pilot for Youth (PAY Check) pilot is an innovative collaboration between the LSUHSC-Human Development Center (HDC), Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, Delgado Community College, two public school systems, one public Charter school association, and the University Medical Center-New Orleans.

PAY Check is a 3-5 semester program wherein students select courses at Delgado Community College related to UMC targeted apprenticeship areas, participate in professional career development activities, learn community and work skills, and gain employment experience through a paid apprenticeship at the University Medical Center.

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Transition Capacity Building (TCBI)

The Transition Capacity Building Initiative (TCBI) is a joint collaboration between LSUHSC HDC and Jefferson Parish Public School System (JPPSS) to provide training to educators and administrators from Local Education Authorities (LEAs) about policies and best practices regarding transition for students with disabilities. This website provides access to the webinars and resources developed for this project.

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Health and Clinics Initiatives

HDC's Health and Clinics Initiatives (HCI), led by Dr. Meher Banajee, formerly consisted of five interdisciplinary clinics. Currently, there are only two clinics, and there are efforts underway to reclassify them under other initiative groups.

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Assistive Technology (AT) Clinic

Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. It can be anything from a simple, low-tech device, like a pencil grip, to a complex, high-tech device, such as a computerized communication system.

Services include:

  • Professional development and teaching opportunities for school staff, related services providers, medical professionals, and families.
  • Assessments resulting in a recommendation that identifies the appropriate assistive technology, training, and support that can meet the individual's needs.
  • Resource center supporting the community on current AT research, trends, and applications

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Autism Spectrum Disorders Interdisciplinary Diagnostic (ASDID) Clinic

The ASDID clinic (or ASD clinic) is a combined effort between the staff of the LSUHSC Human Development Center and Children's Hospital of New Orleans. The purpose of the interdisciplinary diagnostic clinic is twofold:

  1. To train current and future professionals in interdisciplinary and family-centered practices.
  2. To provide families a comprehensive interdisciplinary assessment and strategies.

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