About IDHD/DHD, University of Illinois at Chicago

The values of cultural diversity, consumer choice and self-determination are emphasized across the life span in all of our training, public service, and research activities

The Institute on Disability and Human Development (IDHD) is the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD) for the State of Illinois. IDHD is part of a national network of 67 UCEDDs – at least one in every US state and territory.

IDHD is a national leader in four areas:

IDHD is unique in that it is one of the only UCEDDs that is also an academic department. 

It is through the Department of Disability and Human Development (DHD) that the Illinois UCEDD offers much of its pre-service training activities: graduate and undergraduate studies, certificate and fellowship programs.  The DHD Disability Studies program is the first PhD program dedicated to Disability Studies in the United States and one of the few in the world.  IDHD/DHD is also home to the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program for the State of Illinois. An internationally recognized center for the study of disabilities, IDHD/DHD conducts scholarship and community-based service across the spectrum of disability, including advocacy, culture, education, health promotion, history, policy, and technology.

 IDHD/DHD Organizational Chart

What is a UCEDD?

Entities now known as UCEDDs were initially created over four decades ago with the enactment of Public Law 88-164 (1963) to serve people with developmental disabilities. Currently authorized under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (the DD Act), UCEDDs are now a resource for Americans with a wide range of disabilities. The UCEDDs receive their core funding from the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) within the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The UCEDD network has grown to include 67 UCEDDs - at least one in every US state and territory. Each UCEDD is affiliated with a major research university and serves as a resource for all people in the areas of education, research, and service relative to the needs of people with developmental disabilities. UCEDD programs are part of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), a membership organization that supports and promotes a national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs.

What is LEND?

The Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) Interdisciplinary Training Program is a 1-year intensive training program that incorporates both didactic and experiential learning in clinical and community-based settings. This program prepares future leaders who will serve children with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities (with a focus on autism) and their families through coordinated, culturally competent, and family-centered care, in addition to public health services and policy systems change.

department head

Tamar Heller

Tamar Heller, PhD

Department Head since 2003
Distinguished Professor