Morgan Turner wearing a UK blue t-shirt in a gym. He is smiling at the camera and has short, black hair.

KYLEND Trainee Spotlight: Morgan Turner

Morgan Turner works as a Program Education Assistant at the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute. He is a self-advocate with both cognitive and physical disabilities with experience in leadership and peer education. 

Turner hosts Morgan’s Musings, a video series dedicated to supporting individuals to become strong leaders and self-advocates using their unique assets and skills.

Turner also has a passion for athleticism and an extensive background in universal design and disability inclusion in health, wellness, and sports. He has co-facilitated over 75 trainings on Universal Design in health and disability inclusion for professionals, self-advocates, and community members. Turner also serves as ambassador of Special Olympics and participates in the National Special Olympics Inclusive Health Work Group. He was recently appointed to Kentucky’s Employment First Council by Governor Andy Beshear.

Turner is currently enrolled as a trainee in the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute’s (HDI) Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program. LEND is a five year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau in partnership with the University of Louisville and Eastern Kentucky University. 

These programs share the overall mission of improving the health of infants, children and adolescents with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. LEND aims to increase the number of professionals with the knowledge and skills to provide evidence-based screening and diagnosis, as well as support to individuals and families. 

HDI is currently accepting applications across disciplines for the 2022—2023 academic year. A total of nine trainees will be accepted in the LEND fellowship. The fellowship includes leadership coursework and an array of clinical and community placements each semester. Trainees commit to 15 hours of LEND activities each week.

Applications for the 2022—2023 academic year must be submitted on or before March 4th, 2022. Complete the online application here: www.tinyurl.com/lend2223 

Finalists will be interviewed before the selection of nine trainees for a nine month fellowship. All applicants will be notified by April 15th, 2022. Trainees must be one of the following: 

  • Enrolled in a graduate or post-graduate training program in a LEND discipline
  • A family member of an individual with an intellectual/developmental disability
  • An individual with an intellectual or developmental disability

Visit www.hdi.uky.edu/kylend to learn more and apply online. Contact the Kentucky LEND Project Director caroline.gooden@uky.edu with any questions or to schedule an informational session for your department and interested students!

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.