Universal Design in Action at HDI!

On September 1, HDI’s Haley Potter presented on universal design in the performing arts at the LexArts Network monthly meeting. These meetings serve as a way to present and discuss new and innovative ideas in the arts industry to professionals in Central Kentucky. Haley was joined by Erin Lum from Lexington Philharmonic as a co-presenter. The presentation titled “Universal Design for the Arts: Making the Arts Better for Everyone” provided background on disability, gave an overview on the experience in the arts as a patron with a disability, and introduced these professionals to universal design in the performing arts. This is a great example of how we can share universal design information with community partners to make their offerings more usable and accessible to the broadest array of people. Contact Haley.Potter@uky.edu to learn more about this project.

Contact ctespinosa@uky.edu to learn more about Universal Design at HDI.

Undergraduate Certificate in Universal Design Student Spotlight: Victoria Cabral

By: Amanda Corbin

Victoria Cabral is a busy junior with a double major in Spanish and Computer Science who also started coursework in the Undergraduate Certificate in Universal Design (UD) program this semester. She heard about the UD program from alumna Kyra Seevers, who just this fall took a position as a software engineer at Google headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. after completing a practicum exploring the principles of UD within the space of security, trust, and safety online.

Like Kyra, Victoria also plans to do a practicum in web design and wants to use what she learns in the certificate program to develop software that is accessible for everyone. “I want to create things to help people,” she said and credits her parents and the Scouts for instilling in her a sense of service and desire to help.

Originally from Louisville, Victoria went to a large high school where she was involved in Best Buddies, a mentor program where students are paired with their peers in special education. It was also in high school that Victoria gained an interest in computer science. “I took a class on Java, and I just fell in love with it,” she said.

The undergraduate certificate in UD is offered by the Human Development Institute (HDI) and is open to students in any discipline, something Victoria described as one of the best things about the program. From majors in computer science to art to architecture, students hear diverse perspectives and learn how their peers plan to use UD in their work. “Everyone should have Universal Design [because] it can be applied to any major and day-to-day life,” Victoria said.

Universal Design is a set of strategies that promote the inclusion and participation of all people. Using UD drives innovation as creators use these principles to design products, systems, buildings, classrooms, and other environments that are accessible to everyone.

Familiar innovations such as grab bars, ramps, automatic doors, elevators, sidewalk cutouts, Siri, and online learning software—which are all tools used by everyone, regardless of ability—are examples of UD principles at work.

Victoria said she learned important lessons from day one of the first course in UD citing as one example the use of person-first language, which puts the person before their diagnosis. She went on to say, “It’s important in design to think about everyone,” and noted that being in the program reminded her “to be an advocate.”

The program consists of an intro to UD course (HDI 350), two practicums, and an elective. A limited number of stipends are available to support students enrolling in the program. But you don’t have to be in the program to take the intro course. If you are interested in UD, start by enrolling in HDI 350.

Since it began in the fall of 2017, eleven students from nine different disciplines have completed the UD certificate program. Those disciplines include Computer Science, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Economics, Human Health Sciences, Interior Design, Biology, Media Arts and Studies, Social Work, and Arts Administration.

“This certificate is the first of its kind at a Research I university,” said HDI Executive Director Dr. Kathy Sheppard-Jones. “The initial idea grew out of conversations HDI had with President Capilouto around accessibility at UK. He suggested finding a way for students to receive formal training and recognition for their efforts. Thus, the certificate was born with the great help of several champions across campus, including the College of Design.”

This innovative program teaches students to use UD practices, which leads to enhanced employability and career advancement as well as better products and environments for all people.

For more information on HDI’s Universal Design Certificate, click this link: https://hdi.uky.edu/undergraduate-certificate

The Human Development Institute is Kentucky’s Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service. HDI’s vision is the full participation and contribution of all people with disabilities in all aspects of society.

HDI Collaborates on NIH Research Education Program Grant

The UK Human Development Institute in collaboration with the UK College of Engineering and the UK College of Medicine Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine have received a National Institutes of Health R-25 Research Education Program grant: Team-Based Design of Assistive Technology Devices. This program invites students to apply for an opportunity to complete courses in engineering and universal design, participate in a clinical immersion experience at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital, and gain practical skills and knowledge by working with people with disabilities who use assistive technology devices. Based on availability of funds, students will have additional opportunities to apply for funds from the HDI Student Fund to develop prototypes.

Contact Christina.Bard@uky.edu for more information.

two male martial artists shaking hands; one man is wearing white and is standing and the other man is wearing black and uses a wheelchair for mobility. Three martial artists are shown in the background.

HDI to partner with the Adaptive Martial Arts Association

The Kentucky Inclusive Health Collaborative at the UK Human Development Institute is excited to partner with the Adaptive Martial Arts Association (AMAA) to develop training modules for a web-based certificate course for instructors to increase capacity for adaptive martial arts in their academies. These modules will raise awareness about disabilities, promote the use of universal design, and share successful implementation strategies to support martial artists of all abilities. The creation of this course will help fulfill the AMAA’s mission of expanding opportunities and inclusion for people with disabilities through education, support, and promotion of health and physical fitness in martial arts.

Contact Darrell.Mattingly@uky.edu for more information.

smiling woman with short brown hair wearing a tan top, jean jacket, and hoop earrings with trees in the background

Promoting COVID-19 Vaccine Access and Confidence

Over the next year, the UK Human Development Institute will work with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and several partners as part of a CDC Cooperative Agreement, Addressing COVID-19 Vaccine Access and Confidence among People with Disabilities. This project aims to support the work of AUCD in facilitating COVID-19 vaccine conversations among network members, identifying barriers to vaccine accessibility, increasing vaccine confidence, sharing credible COVID-19 vaccination information, responding to misinformation, translating information into accessible formats, and sharing success stories and lessons learned. HDI will ensure the accessibility of a variety of resources that will be shared across the network. Patti Singleton, Division Director, will be the Principal Investigator of this effort, and will draw upon the expertise of many staff who are involved in universal design, accessibility, digital storytelling and information services work.