In 1988, the Center on Disabilities and Human Development (CDHD) began operations as a freestanding center. Based on a feasibility study sponsored by the Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities, the University of Idaho’s College of Education submitted a proposal for the center to become a full status University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). In 1992, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Developmental Disabilities funded the Center as a full status UCEDD operating with the name of the Idaho Center on Developmental Disabilities. In 1998, the Idaho Center on Developmental Disabilities changed its name to the Center on Disabilities and Human Development to more fully reflect the breadth of the CDHD activities.
Operating as an autonomous unit of the University of Idaho’s College of Education, the CDHD cultivates collaboration with many disciplines including: agriculture, architecture, business, counseling, education, engineering, law, nursing, nutrition, occupational therapy, political science, psychology, special education and vocational rehabilitation. The CDHD also serves as a liaison between the academic world and the developmental disabilities service delivery system for Idaho. To achieve its goals, the center cooperates with many regional and national organizations including United Cerebral Palsy, Opportunities Unlimited, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Idaho Parents Unlimited, and People First, to name but a few. Services provided by the center address needs from infancy through old age, and the CDHD has been effective working across the state with special interest groups, including rural and remote communities and Native American and Hispanic, as well as elderly populations. To maximize participation, numerous center training and informational brochures are available in Spanish and braille.
The CDHD is committed to building a skilled interdisciplinary workforce that can meet the needs of people with disabilities by striving for full integration of college disciplines and attracting a diverse staff. In recent years the center’s staff included engineers, motor development specialists, psychologists, architects, family/child life specialists, nurses, foresters and wildlife biologists. The CDHD currently operates a variety of independent grant programs and carries out training, services, technical assistance, research and dissemination activities across the state and nation.