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Welcome to the Center for Disabilities Studies

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Our Mission

The mission of the Center for Disabilities Studies is to enhance the lives of individuals and families through education, prevention, service, and research related to disabilities. We promote independence and productivity so individuals and families can fully participate in the life of their communities in Delaware and beyond.

Did You Know?

The Center for Disabilities Studies (CDS) celebrated its 20th anniversary with a celebratory event. Rita Landgraf, Delaware Health and Social Services secretary, served as the event’s honorary chair and noted CDS’s “pivotal role” in matters of inclusion. Featured speaker Keith Jones, who runs the organization SoulTouchin’ Experiences, spoke of the ongoing need to change attitudes held by many individuals concerning people with disabilities. Watch the commemorative anniversary video or read more about the event in the UDaily article, “CDS anniversary celebration.”

Get Social

CDS is on Facebook and Twitter! Like us and follow us there and engage in what's important to the disability community!

CDS Facebook Page     

CDS in the News

Media covers 10th annual Artfest event

Participant at Artfest.

Delaware’s NPR station and the University of Delaware’s online news site profiled Artfest 2016, the inclusive and accessible community workshop and celebration sponsored by CDS and Art Therapy Express. 6ABC in Philadelphia also trained its lens on the event, which attracted more than 150 participants, student volunteers and family members. You can read the WDDE story and UDaily article here. And check out this slideshow, featuring more than 30 glimpses of the artists and their artwork and information describing how many of the creations came together.

UDaily shines light on CDS’s AT resource centers

Karen Latimer during an AT consultation.

UDaily reported April 18 on the Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative’s (DATI) three resource centers, which UD’s Center for Disabilities Studies administers. Read the article here. The three centers, or libraries, collectively house more than 1,900 unique items of assistive technology, from laptops and tablets to elastic shoelaces and doorknob grips. Members of the public can try them out for free, and can learn from DATI staff about financial aid options, should they wish to purchase the AT they sample.

WDDE, WHYY and UDaily report on Artfest 2015

Participant at Artfest.

Delaware’s NPR and PBS stations, together with the University of Delaware’s online news site, ran features on Artfest 2015. You can view the WDDE, WHYY and UDaily stories here. Artfest 2015, a creative workshop and community celebration hosted by CDS and Art Therapy Express at New Castle County’s Absalom Jones Community Center, attracted more than 100 participants with disabilities, student volunteers, family members and friends. The free, accessible and inclusive event was the largest Artfest yet. You can view a slideshow of Artfest 2015 here.

CDS’s Eileen Sparling and DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf call for health equity in News Journal

In an op-ed that ran in the News Journal, CDS’s Eileen Sparling and DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf discussed how several health disparities experienced by people with disabilities should be reduced or eliminated once reforms recommended in a CDS-DHSS health equity plan are implemented – and after some changes in department policies are made. The health disparities are documented in The Current Landscape for Disability and Health in Delaware Public Health Assessment Report Summary 2015. The recommended reforms appear in The Plan to Achieve Health Equity for Delawareans with Disabilities. Read the op-ed here.

CDS’s Phyllis Guinivan promotes new emergency preparedness website, app on WDEL radio

In an interview with WDEL news anchor Allan Loudell, CDS’s Phyllis Guinivan discussed how the Center’s new allreadyde.org website can help people with disabilities better prepare for emergencies, and how its new delawaretips.org web app can aid first responders who assist people with disabilities. Guinivan, director of the Center’s Emergency Preparedness for Individuals with Disabilities Project, also recommended the 855-READY-DE helpline to WDEL listeners. Listen to the interview, read a transcript of the interview, and check out the radio station’s posting about the interview.

CDS Director Beth Mineo addresses new CMS rule, funding shifts in News Journal story

In this News Journal story, Beth Mineo noted how more community living is on the way for people with disabilities. "People have been held back from being able to make choices about where they live and where they work," she said. But the new federal CMS rule and shifts in funding "will open up doors to new kinds of choices that people have never had before." Beth added that the new rule “reflects what a growing body of research has shown – that people with disabilities thrive in community settings and should have much more opportunity to determine their own course in life. Things people were saying 10 years ago are beginning to show up in policy," Beth said. "The work in self-determination is now embedded in the CMS rule."

News Journal, 6ABC, WDDE cover Artfest 2014

Participant and volunteer at Artfest.

The annual creative workshop and community celebration hosted by CDS and Art Therapy Express attracted considerable media attention, with the state’s largest newspaper, broadcast TV and Delaware’s NPR station all reporting on the Oct. 25 event. Artfest drew more than 100 people with disabilities, their family members and friends, professional artists, and student volunteers from the University of Delaware (and a few from Temple University in Philadelphia). Read the News Journal story here. Read the WDDE article here. You also can read a report on Artfest that posted to UD’s UDaily website.

CDS’s Brian Freedman, state officials tackle unemployment in News Journal

In an Oct. 14 letter to the editor, CDS’s director of Transition and Employment Programs challenged community leaders to make employing people with disabilities a priority. Today. Only 30 percent of young adults with a disability currently participate in the workforce. Other signatories to the letter included Delaware Sec. of Education Mark Murphy, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Sec. Rita Landgraf, and Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Director Andrea Guest. Read the letter here.

Beth Mineo brings clarity to new CMS rule on News Radio 1410 WDOV and 1450 WILM

CDS Director Beth Mineo made the complex new federal rule that will boost community living and employment opportunities for people with disabilities understandable for her radio audience April 24. On News Radio 1410 WDOV and 1450 WILM, Beth explained that because of the new CMS rule, “Medicaid funding that used to go to paying for institutional care can now go to supporting people to live and work in the settings of their choice.”  Hear the entire interview, here: Beth Mineo Radio Interview. You can also read the text version of the interview.

CDS Town Hall on new CMS rule attracts News Journal coverage

News Journal reporter Beth Miller covered CDS’s April 21 Town Hall on the new federal rule that promises more integrative community living and better employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Read the news story here.

Andy Imparato speaking at Town Hall Event

Andy Imparato, executive director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, and Jennifer Mathis, director of programs with the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, headlined the town hall.  Attendees from Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, D.C. also heard CDS Director Beth Mineo call the new rule “a real turning point.”

Brian Freedman discusses benefits of CLSC program in News Journal

In a March 12 story by Kelly Bothum, CDS's Brian Freedman discussed the UD program that allows people with intellectual disabilities, including individuals with Down syndrom, to explore their interests and potential careers in a university setting. Bothum’s story focused on positive news and advances involving individuals with Down syndrome. See the News Journal story here.

Beth Mineo and Jamie Wolf speak out on PBS

CDS Director Beth Mineo and former CDS Disabilities Specialist Jamie Wolfe were interviewed on PBS about the coming reforms to Delaware’s paratransit service. Several of the reforms could prove devastating for people with disabilities who depend on the service for transport to their chosen destinations. The piece aired on First, a program broadcast by local PBS affiliate WHYY, on Jan. 31, 2014, and is available for viewing on the WHYY website.

Support Us

As a research and public service center at the University of Delaware, the Center for Disabilities Studies relies on public and private support from individuals, corporations, foundations and state and federal entities to operate its programs.  All gifts to the Center for Disabilities Studies are tax deductible to the extent provided by law. Learn how you can help fulfill our mission by contributing to CDS.

More about CDS >>


Administration on Developmental Disabilities logo Association on University

What's New?


CDS 2014-15 annual report cover

Nowhere Else to Turn, a new home modification & assistive technology program from CDS, DATI and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, is available for eligible individuals who are unable to live safely and comfortably in their homes because of a paralysis-causing condition, who cannot afford needed renovations to their residence, and who have exhausted their search for funding from other sources. Read this UDaily article and review this sheet for more information, and complete and send us this application form if you’re eligible and interested.


CDS 2014-15 annual report cover

Discover what CDS accomplished in the past fiscal year by visiting this digitally enhanced version of the Center's annual report. It features videos, slideshows, news items, research, PowerPoint presentations and more. Open the report here. For optimal viewing, use the Firefox web browser.


Screenshot of DMD video.

Watch University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons praise community efforts that provide employment and growth opportunities to people with disabilities. The video was shot in Newark at ceremonies marking Disability Mentoring Day.


Screenshot of the DNEA video.

The Delaware Network for Excellence in Autism (DNEA) will provide more and better training and resources for professionals and providers. This video tells you why it's needed, and how it's expected to operate.


Jennifer Mathis at CDS's CMS town hall.

The Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program will offer training sessions to the community, including clinicians, family groups, organizations and schools. This video explains it's anticipated benefits.


delAware cover

Steps Ahead: Disability Studies at UD, our latest edition of the delAware, is available by mail and online. In it, you’ll learn what drives the success of the university’s top minor and why students from so many backgrounds are enrolled. You’ll also discover how those who graduate from UD with a disability studies minor are able to apply what they’ve learned to enhance the lives of people with disabilities and their families. To request a copy of Steps Ahead: Disability Studies at UD, contact CDS at cds-info@udel.edu.


CDS Inclusion Blog

Visit our Inclusion blog at http://blog.cds.udel.edu. We launched it to engage the disability community, public and policy makers in a provocative discussion of issues with the potential to bring about positive changes in the lives of people with disabilities. Please read the blog posts, and comment on them!

What’s Next?


Apr 7 - Behaviors and Boundaries

Apr 13 - Access:Abilities

Apr 21 - Artfest

Visit the Events Calendar for more information about these and other events.

CDS Videos


Governor Jack MarkellGov. Jack Markell calls on employers to give people with disabilities a shot at jobs in this CDS video.

Disability Mentoring Day participant. The power of inclusive work environments
is on vivid
display in this
other CDS video.
Both videos were shot on Disability Mentoring Day in Newark.


A participant and volunteer work together on an art project.

This joyous video of Artfest 2014 showcases creativity, community and inclusion. You can view the video of the CDS- and Art Therapy Express- hosted event, here.


Jennifer Mathis at CDS's CMS town hall.

In March, Delaware sent federal officials its plan on how the state intends to comply with the new rule that increasingly steers Medicaid funding to home- and community-based settings and away from institutional settings. This UD video of a CDS town hall explains the “CMS rule” and explores how it will usher in authentic community integration for people with disabilities.


Picture of ADA 25 video

This UD video captures what made the ADA25 festival in Dover so special, and what makes the ADA so special, 25 years after it became law. Even with the ADA, however, people with disabilities need better health outcomes. DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf vowed at the festival that government in Delaware, with the help of CDS and other partners, will make that happen next.


THIS MOVING VIDEO features recipients of UD's Career and Life Studies Certificate. The students, exceptional young men and women with intellectual disabilities, will make you want to cheer them and their accomplishments. Click here to learn more about CLSC.

ANOTHER COMPELLING VIDEO showcases the iCanConnect program, which offers free communications technology and training to qualified people with combined hearing and vison loss. Please call 1-800-870-3284 or email rathel@udel.edu for more information.


CDS 2014-15 annual report cover





For more issues of our Annual Report, visit our archive.

Project Bridge Newsletter

Read about CDS projects, staff, and internal and external events in Project Bridge. Click here.

Resources & Links

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CDD) has a website about the critical importance of the Social Security disability, survivor and retirement insurance programs for people with disabilities and their families.

Guide to the Division of Develop-mental Disabilities Services in Delaware. See the "Want to Know How DDDS Works" page.

HealthCare.gov helps consumers take control of their health care. It includes a section for people with disabilities and a Spanish version of the site. Find more information about being healthy with a disability at GoHDWD.org.

For news and updates on the Commission on Community-Based Alternatives for Persons with Disabilities, visit the Commission web page.


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