Supporting Families at the NASDDDS 2016 Director’s Forum and Mid-Year Conference in Kansas City, MO, June 7-10

The National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS) convened its annual Directors Forum and Mid-Year Conference last week, June 7-10, 2016, at the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

The theme of this year’s event was Reframing Policies and Practices to Support Families. Among the highlighted speakers was Michelle (Sheli) Reynolds, Ph.D., Director of Individual Advocacy and Family Support at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Institute for Human Development (UMKC IHD), University Center on Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD).

Reynolds, also the co-director of the National Community of Practice (CoP) for Supporting Families of Individuals with I/DD, provided an overview of the LifeCourse framework and how it can be used at the individual and family level, as well as how it may be used to organize programming as well as policies with the conference attendees. She teamed up with Ben St. John, a self-advocate from Missouri, who shared how he and his family have used LifeCourse tools to help them support him in his vision of a good life.

Representatives from each of the Community of Practice states, and even some of the expansion states, presented on their efforts to enhance supports to families and apply the LifeCourse framework to policy and practice over the two days of the conference. More information about the presentations, as well as the slides and additional photos, may be found at the NASDDDS Mid-Year Conference website at


Rachel is the Media & Design Specialist on the Family to Family team at the UMKC-Institute for Human Development, UCEDD. She completed her Master's in Public Administration with an emphasis in nonprofit management at UMKC. She is proud to say she is a second generation AmeriCorps member! Her passion is where social justice and technology meet. Her specialty is making projects, programs, and organizations look good.

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