The Center for Disability Research and Service (CDRS) has been a part of Auburn University’s campus since 2010 developing a research agenda and establishing a reputation for quality outreach that impacts the lives of people with the most significant disabilities. The CDRS is affiliated with the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling (SERC) within the College of Education. CDRS conducts research to identify services, strategies, and creative approaches to increase employment, independence, and community integration of individuals with the most significant disabilities. This year, the CDRS provided program evaluation to improve services and working alliances of organizations that assist people with disabilities, such as consumer satisfaction, comprehensive needs assessments, and service delivery transformation. The CDRS is delivering continuing education and technical assistance to increase knowledge translation of evidence-based practices for rehabilitation and education professionals. Research opportunities exist for graduate students within the SERC Department.
This year the CDRS also consulted with several local area school systems to implement individualized education plans, to conduct functional behavior assessments, and to develop behavior intervention plans for students when their behavior impacted educational progress. The CDRS has personnel trained in administering the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale (ADOS). The CDRS also assisted adult programs to expand established treatments (as outlined by the National Autism Center) from the educational setting to the workplace. The CDRS is pursuing grants to fund social skills programming for adolescents with developmental disabilities to assist them as they transition to adult roles as well as grants to implement evidence-based practices to increase employment opportunities for people with the most significant disabilities, such as Individual Placement and Supports model of supported employment and using Discovery to determine career choices.
The CDRS will host its annual Alabama Assistive Technology Expo and Conference (ALATEC) for consumers, service providers, and professionals, showcasing cutting edge technology that fosters independence for people with significant disabilities October 22 and 23, 2014. The CDRS/SERC Department continues its partnership with the Industrial Design Department at Auburn University to create innovative assistive technology (AT) addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities that simultaneously benefit everyone (i.e., universal design) through interdepartmental instruction and product development.