Projects and Initiatives

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.

The Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies seeks to enhance the capacity of individuals, communities, organizations, and state systems to create services and supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which reflect current and emerging best practices of inclusion, interdependence, self-determination, cultural competence, and respect for the inherent abilities of each person to contribute to society.

An alphabetical listing of current CCIDS projects and initiatives appears below. Click on the project or initiative name for additional information.

Afari™: A Stylized Adaptive Mobility and Fitness Device for Outdoor Movement

The R.M. Beaumont Corporation of Brunswick, ME and three University of Maine Researchers are collaborating on a $225K National Institutes of Health (NIH) Phase 1 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to complete the design, safety and usability testing of Afari™, a three-wheeled, aesthetically designed, adaptive mobility and fitness device. Over the one-year project period, inventors Elizabeth DePoy, Ph.D., and Stephen F. Gilson, Ph.D., professors of interdisciplinary disability studies at the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies; and Vince Caccese, Ph.D., UMaine professor of mechanical engineering, will research the major barriers to timely commercialization of Afari™ so that they can be eliminated.

Collaborative on Faith and Disability

For many people with disabilities and their families, faith communities can be a powerful source of natural community support and connection, as well as a doorway to other important outcomes in the areas of relationships, work, community living, recreation, and service. The University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS) is one of many University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) that will serve as collaborating partners on a new initiative, the Collaborative on Faith and Disability.

Educare and Beyond

The Educare Implementation Study at the University of Maine is part of a national project that documents the features of Educare Schools. The purpose of the study is to support the mission of Educare, which is a researched-based program that prepares young at-risk children for school and which serves as a platform for quality early learning programming. This project includes a study of Educare “Beyond the Walls,” which expands the data-driven early childhood model to child care settings outside of the actual Educare building.

Educare Follow-up Study

The University of Maine has been contracted as a partner in a multi-site effort to conduct follow-up studies of Educare children as they enter kindergarten and progress through the early elementary years. This project is one of six to participate in the “Educare Follow-up Studies” project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). The University of Maine will be responsible for gathering Educare data in Maine over three school years and will contribute to the cross-site dataset at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at UNC.

Maine EPSCoR – SEANET (Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network)

The Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, with funding from Maine EPSCoR/SEANET, is partnering with the Community Environmental Health Laboratory (CEHL) at MDI Biological Laboratory to train and engage middle/high school students with disabilities from coastal Hancock County school districts, in intertidal census work. CEHL works to identify and help remedy threats to public health and water quality on and around Mount Desert Island. Enrolled students are offered paid internships and receive training in the identification of invasive species, such as green crabs; data collection and data management. Student interns, supervised onsite by mentors, follow a scientific protocol and receive a variety of hands-on worksite skills.

Maine Roads to Quality – Professional Development Network (PDN)

The University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS) has received a subcontract from the University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service to provide professional development and consultation to the Statewide Professional Development Network (PDN) working to improve the quality of early care and education settings in Maine.

Maine’s Supported Decision-Making Coalition

The University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS) is a member of Maine’s Supported Decision-Making Coalition, led by Disability Rights Maine. As a Coalition partner, CCIDS supports the expanded use of Supported Decision-Making by older adults and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to exercise greater self-determination, and the reform of policy and practice to make Supported Decision-Making a universally accepted alternative to guardianship.

New Hampshire-Maine Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Program

The University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies is partnering 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. NH-ME LEND provides graduate level interdisciplinary training for students and professionals from diverse disciplines, including developmental pediatrics, early childhood education, social work, psychology, occupational therapy, health management and policy, and speech language pathology. Program activities include leadership development, clinical training, continuing education/technical assistance, research, and cultural competency field work. University of Maine trainees participate remotely in the weekly NH-ME LEND seminar through the use of eLearning and videoconferencing technology.

Piscataquis Thriving in Place Collaborative

The University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies has received a subcontract from the Charlotte White Center to provide training on person-centered planning and to facilitate person-centered planning for individuals with chronic health conditions as part of the Piscataquis Thriving in Place (TiP) Collaborative. This initiative, funded by the Maine Health Access Foundation, seeks to improve care coordination across the continuum of care for people in Piscataquis County with chronic conditions (including elders and people with disabilities) who are at increased risk for hospitalization or other forms of institutional care.

Sibling Leadership Network – Maine Chapter for Adult Siblings

Founded in 2007, the Sibling Leadership Network (SLN) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing siblings of individuals with disabilities the information, support and tools to advocate with their brothers and sisters and to promote issues important to them and their entire families. With assistance from a 2014-2015 New Hampshire LEND Program Community Fellow, the SLN and other state chapters, the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies will create a Maine chapter of the Sibling Leadership Network for adult siblings of individuals with disabilities.

Summer Work for ME

Paid work experience in high school is a strong predictor of positive adult employment outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities. Beginning in late June 2015, the Summer Work for ME project will provide Bangor area high school students with developmental disabilities with a range of paid work experiences to help them gain insight into their own strengths and interests and cultivate career awareness. The project will leverage funding from the Maine Department of Labor, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services to provide job coaching for the students at the work sites through Vocational Rehabilitation program situational assessment dollars. Transition counselors from Vocational Rehabilitation will examine how the melding of work sites into situational assessments for several students yields them the information needed for assessing clients. Community Rehabilitation Provider KFI will take the lead on the development of the work sites at Eastern Maine Community College and the hiring and training of job coaches.

What Shape is the Relationship between Child Outcomes and Classroom Assessment Scoring Systems?

Child care quality is associated with child outcomes, but high-quality child care is rare. The goal of this project is to improve the understanding of the quantitative relationship between child outcomes and a measure of teacher-child interactions (the Classroom Assessment Scoring System, or CLASS) increasingly used in program improvement and in high-stakes applications such as quality rating and improvement systems and Head Start renewal. It addresses two research topics of current relevance to decision makers at local, state, and national levels: ongoing child care quality improvement and child wellbeing.

Completed Projects

View a listing of completed CCIDS projects and initiatives here.