Group Photo of the History of Disabilities in Kentucky panel at the HDI Seminar Series April 2015 event

The Human Development Institute’s Seminar Series, an opportunity to increase your knowledge

The Human Development Institute’s Seminar Series (
is an opportunity to increase your knowledge about the needs of people with developmental disabilities and their families. These live, interactive seminars are open to faculty, staff and students, as well as statewide self-advocates, parents /caregivers, and professionals. Contact if you have a video-conference site and want to host our seminars!

The most recent seminar addressed a brief history of developmental disabilities in our state since 1970, with a particular focus on the power of individual and systems advocacy to create sustained change. Self-advocates and parents who have lived with developmental disabilities, as well as MaryLee Underwood from the Developmental Disabilities Council, Jeff Edwards from the KY Protection & Advocacy Division, and Harold Kleinert from the Human Development Institute – discussed the key successes and the most significant challenges to creating fully inclusive communities  for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. They spoke of the progress from institutionalization at the “Kentucky Institution for Feeble Minded Children” to the current state of inclusion and independence in communities with support. They also talked about the necessity to continue to be vigilant to avoid losing precious gains.

One participant described “learn[ing] a lot of useful information. I would suggest having it again! Anything that offers CEU’s can assist me in becoming a better rehabilitation counselor.” Relatedly, one participant commented, “I am completely moved by the seminar. Thank you for everything you do!” Another participant said, “I liked the discussion about moving backward and the freedom to make mistakes. Also the personal insight from the panelists made advocacy seem more action oriented than discussion – I liked this!”