TCDS had a strong presence at the 2023 AUCD Conference, held from Sunday, November 5, 2023 to Wednesday, November 8, 2023 in Washington, D.C. The TCDS team participated in concurrent sessions, the poster symposium, and special interest group meetings.
The PODER team held a concurrent session called, Culturally Tailored Health Education for Latinx Families of Children With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD).
It was delivered by Sandy Magaña, PhD, Director of the Texas Center for Disability Studies, UCEDD/LEND, with the co-presenters including:
- Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar, PhD, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL, Institute on Disability & Human Development, UCEDD/LEND
- Adriana Crostley, The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work, Austin, TX, Texas Center for Disability Studies, UCEDD/LEND
- Amy Pei-Lung Yu, MSW, The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work, Austin, TX, Center on Disability and Development, UCEDD
- Jasmine Brown-Hollie, MS, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL, Institute on Disability & Human Development, UCEDD/LEND
- Stephany Brown, MSW, The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work, Austin, TX, Texas Center for Disability Studies, UCEDD/LEND
This panel included three components of a culturally tailored health education program for Latinx families of children with I/DD. First, they focused on strategies for developing a culturally tailored intervention, including linguistic, contextual, and cultural elements. Second, they described their peer mentoring Promotora model, the training process, and how to utilize this model for intervention delivery. Third, they elucidated the curriculum and evaluation results of the intervention.
Larissa Minner, General Studies in Liberal Arts, COLA Secretary Co-Chair, Texas Center for Disability Studies, UCEDD/LEND, also presented her project, Leaders Unlocking Potential: Fostering Meaningful Cognitive Inclusion in Research and Organizations. Her co-presenters included:
- Melanie Davis, Omaha, NE, Munroe-Meyer Institute of Genetics & Rehabilitation, UCEDD/LEND
- Sandra Vanegas, PhD, Austin, TX, Texas Center for Disability Studies, UCEDD/LEND
- Darien Todd, Atlanta, GA, Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University, UCEDD/LEND
- Ashley Salmon, Atlanta, GA, Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University, UCEDD/LEND
With a focus on emerging leaders, the presentation emphasized including individuals with diverse neurological and cognitive abilities in research, organizations, and at conferences. The panel blended research with lived and professional experiences, sharing valuable insights and tools for cultivating inclusion, belonging, and leadership roles, allowing attendees to identify practical strategies for ensuring the meaningful participation of all.
Numerous posters from the TCDS team were presented at the conference. Among them was Service Utilization Among Racially/Ethnically Diverse Children with Autism and Developmental Delays in Low-Resource Households, presented by Sandra Vanegas, PhD, Director of Research, Texas Center for Disability Studies, UCEDD/LEND. The co-presenter on the project was Sandy Magaña, PhD, Director of the Texas Center for Disability Studies, UCEDD/LEND.
Understanding the state of service utilization among young racially/ethnically diverse children with autism and developmental delays (DD) can help support advocacy efforts for improved policies and increased resources. The study reported on services received by children with autism and DD and their families who reside in low-resource households and the associations between service utilization and family outcomes (e.g., family empowerment, parenting stress, family quality of life).
Yehyang “Hanna” Lee, MA, Special Education Doctoral Candidate, Texas Center for Disability Studies, UCEDD trainee, presented on Understanding the Informal and Delivery Format Needs of Families with Children with Autism on Transition Topics. The co-presenter on the project was Nina Zuna, PhD, Associate Director of the Texas Center for Disability Studies, UCEDD/LEND.
This study examined the informational and delivery format needs of families with children with autism on transition topics. The results highlighted differences in informational needs and delivery format preferences across a variety of areas (e.g., social/emotional; emotional well-being, transition skills) based on race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and child’s functional characteristics, emphasizing the need for culturally responsive and equitable formats to deliver information to families.
Finally, autistic researcher and self-advocate Larissa Minner, General Studies in Liberal Arts, COLA Secretary Co-Chair, Texas Center for Disability Studies, UCEDD/LEND, delivered a presentation on her project S.H.A.P.E. in Healthcare: Supporting Helpful Accessible, Person-Centered Environments for Autistic, and Non-Autistic Adults.
This pilot study delves into healthcare experiences and universal design for both autistic and non-autistic adults. The research strives to improve healthcare education for healthcare workers and equity for adults with disabilities. Preliminary findings underscore significant disparities: autistic adults reported lower quality healthcare, diminished respect from providers, and limited access to care compared to non-autistic peers.
Larissa was able to put some of her research into practice. “I was able to request live accommodation of having people wave their hands instead of applauding,” she reported later, “which not only served as a simple sensory accommodation but also highlighted the respect and understanding demonstrated by the conference attendees.”
Activities and Awards
Other TCDS team members attended the many Special Interest Group (SIG) meetings offered at the AUCD Conference. Public Health Outreach Program Coordinator, Nico Nelson, attended the Assistive Technology SIG and the Spanish Language Workgroup. Similarly, ACT LEND Administrative Program Coordinator Leslie Jackson attended the SIG on Home Community Based Services (HCBS). She also connected with many other LEND programs while attending the conference.
TCDS team members attended several Council meetings such as the Council on Leadership and Advocacy (COLA) meeting and the Community Education and Dissemination Council (CEDC). The purpose of COLA is to advise and assist the AUCD network to enhance the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. Larissa Minner served as a co-secretary and actively participated in a leadership capacity during the Sunday meeting. The purpose of the CEDC is to identify and discuss issues regarding community education and information dissemination; this Council serves as a representative voice of the community education interests and concerns within the network; and influence the development and implementation of national community education and information dissemination policies and initiatives. Kathleen Hernandez attended this Council meeting and actively participates in quarterly calls.
Finally, Larissa was honored with the AUCD Core Trainee award at the AUCD Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, November 7th. She was nominated by Dr. Sandra Vanegas, who also presented the award to Larissa.