The University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS), Maine’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), was awarded initial funding as Maine’s University Affiliated Program (UAP) in January 1992. Under the leadership of founding director, Lucille Zeph, Ed.D., the UAP was established as the Center for Community Inclusion, consistent with the responsibilities detailed in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act), and the mission of the University of Maine. In 2003, the Center’s name was changed to the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS) to better reflect its full mission.

CCIDS brings together the resources of the university and Maine communities to enhance the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Our statewide mission is met through interdisciplinary education, research and evaluation, community engagement, and dissemination of state-of-the-art information that reflect the guiding principles of inclusion, diversity, universal design and access, and social justice.

CCIDS, located in Orono, is a recognized administrative unit of the University of Maine: the flagship, land-grant campus of the University of Maine System.

To assure a statewide focus, CCIDS collaborates with, and works to enhance, existing networks throughout Maine (including networks that serve people in rural communities and other unserved and underserved populations, such as culturally and linguistically diverse populations). These networks include the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC), the Disability Rights Maine (DRM), Speaking Up for Us (SUFU), Maine Parent Federation (MPF), Maine Consumer Information and Technology Exchange (Maine CITE), Maine’s Independent Living Center (Alpha One), and other advocacy organizations and state and community agencies throughout Maine.

CCIDS is part of a national network of congressionally authorized University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities sponsored by the Office on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (OIDD) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Grant No. 90DDUC0136).

Interdisciplinary Education

CCIDS offers Maine’s only nationally and internationally recognized undergraduate and graduate education in Interdisciplinary Disability Studies; and partners with the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability, and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth in the New Hampshire-Maine Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (NH-ME LEND) Program. See Interdisciplinary Education for more information.

Research and Evaluation

With diverse projects and initiatives, CCIDS contributes to and advances the knowledge base in a wide range of disability-related areas through ongoing research, evaluation, and the analysis of public policy. Recent initiatives include the areas of inclusive child care, literacy access for individuals with intellectual disabilities, universal design, autism, and early childhood mental health.  See Research and Evaluation for more information.

Community Engagement – Outreach Education and Technical Assistance

Through outreach education, training and technical assistance, CCIDS faculty and staff enhance the capacity of individuals, communities, organizations, and state systems to create services and supports for individuals with disabilities. Methods reflect current and emerging evidence-based practices that are inclusive, accessible, self-determining, culturally competent, and socially responsible, respecting the inherent abilities of each person to contribute to society. See Community Engagement for more information.

Dissemination of Resources

CCIDS implements the principles of universal design in the development of publications, products, presentations, resources, curricula and virtual environments to meet the needs of multiple and diverse audiences and disseminates scholarly and community resources through our website, workshop and events. Please follow the link to our Featured Resources page which contains twelve categories of resources from the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, and other trusted sources including state and community partners, national network partners (UCEDDs and LENDs), state and national self-advocacy organizations, and various federal agencies.

CCIDS Mission

The University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, Maine’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service, is a partnership of people that brings together the resources of the community and the University to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. We achieve our mission through interdisciplinary education, research, community service, and dissemination of information that reflect culturally competent attitudes and practices. As agents for social change, we believe in self-determination and advocacy for people with disabilities, and we are committed to community inclusion, interdependence, and the recognition of each person’s ability to contribute to society.

What are Developmental Disabilities?

Read the definition of developmental disabilities on the Administration for Community Living, History of the DD Act web page here. Click on “Background and Expanding Eligibility” and scroll down to the sixth paragraph.