Three adults' legs and one child digging dirt with shovels at a ground breaking.

A University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) Priority Area is a programmatic area of focus that is related to the mission of the UCEDD (to support inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities in all aspects of community life) and encompasses a range of activity across the UCEDD core functions of research, training and…

Go to About Priority Areas

Community Inclusion


Within the Community Inclusion priority area, the Waisman Center works to support individuals with disabilities and their families to establish meaningful connections within their communities. Beyond individuals, we work to support systems to design services that are connected with other systems and integrated with natural supports. With proper information, tools and training individuals are more likely to be successful in establishing the meaningful, purposeful, mutually beneficial connections that are the foundation of inclusive and healthy communities. Within this area of emphasis, University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) activities are focused on providing information and assistance on community resources, promoting understanding and utilization of natural supports integrated within the more typical system supports and exploring and supporting how technology and other methodologies can be utilized to promote independent living.

Our Programs

Communication Aids and Systems Clinic (CASC)
Smiling Young GirlThe Communication Aids and Systems Clinic provides augmentative alternative communication and computer access services. Interdisciplinary services include direct outcome-focused evaluation and intervention, consultation, technical support, student training, and outreach.

Communication Development Program (CDP)
The Communication Development Program provides augmentative and alternative communication and computer access services for individuals living in Dane County, Wisconsin. Interdisciplinary services include consultation, technical support, student training, and outreach.

Community TIES
The TIES (Training, Intervention, and Evaluation Services) program offers support to children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities who reside in Dane County and present challenging behaviors. Family members, guardians, and service agencies often report significant stress in supporting individuals with developmental disabilities who present challenging behaviors and thus may require additional support. The TIES program seeks to enable these individuals to remain in their natural environment. In doing so, the TIES program utilizes and teaches non-punitive ways to redirect or modify specific behaviors. The program provides support and consultation in the community based environment where a person’s challenging behavior occurs.

Crisis Response Program
Crisis response services for adult Dane County residents with developmental disabilities are designed to prevent or shorten stays in more restrictive settings. Services include crisis coordination with criminal justice and emergency mental health practitioners, additional support in the person’s home or work place through the Crisis Outreach staff, and/or temporary respite stay at Dane County’s Crisis Home (Safe House) for adults with developmental disabilities.

Longitudinal Study of Wisconsin Adult Long Term Care
The purpose of this study is to understand changes over time in services and quality of life for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who receive adult long term care supports in the state of Wisconsin. We aim to longitudinally follow individuals and family members by administering an online survey once a year for five consecutive years.

Wellness Inclusion Nursing (WIN)
Wellness Inclusion Nursing is a community based nursing program that is designed to provide assessment, consultation and training to agencies and staff providing care to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Completed Projects

  • Enhancing Participation in Employment Settings through Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
    This project aimed to explore the feasibility of using podcasting to increase the timely and consistent access to critical information and training related to supporting the communication of individuals who use AAC in the workplace.
  • Living Our Visions-Dane
    LOV-Dane is a grassroots organization of individuals with disabilities, families and community members building fulfilling, community centered lives for all citizens. LOV is engaging in collective action, mobilizing individual and community assets, increasing civic engagement, building reciprocal relationships of caring and mutual support, and developing inclusive and sustainable employment, recreation and living opportunities. To learn more visit: Living Our Vision-Dane
  • Natural Supports Project
    This project disseminated creative and promising approaches for supporting youth with disabilities to participate more fully and naturally in school, work, and community activities.
  • Sound Response
    Sound Response was created to supplement direct staff support through the creative use of technical/mechanical supports. The Sound Response program is now Night Owl Support Systems, LLC.
  • Rhythms Program
    The Rhythms Program is a cooperative effort between the Waisman Center and Dane County Human Services to further enhance the lives of individuals who experience complex sensory and movement differences and those who support them. The program serves a specifically identified group of focus individuals by working directly with them and their teams to gain a deeper understanding of how they experience the world, then to develop the accommodations and supports that allow them to have greater access to their own gifts and talents and to participate more meaningfully in their lives.
  • Wisconsin Let’s Get  to Work
    The Waisman Center UCEDD is a partner within the leadership structure of the Wisconsin Let’s Get to Work Project that led by the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities, with funding from the federal  Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  The purpose of this project design and test strategies  to improve community employment outcomes for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities in transition.  The project focuses on improving, developing and implementing policies and practices that raise community expectations and overall employment outcomes.
  • Wisconsin Self-Determination Conference
    In collaboration with the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities (WI BPDD), Waisman is helping coordinate this 2 ½ day conference with an emphasis on self-determination and self-advocacy skill development. Waisman provides content expertise on sessions, coordinates exhibitors, and provides scholarships for high school students with disabilities and their families and/or teachers to attend the conference.