NGSD Priority Areas

Aging and Life Span Issues

 Aging successfully evolves from exercising SD to create a successful and productive life. It is a dynamic process involving individuals in their environment including the historical and cultural context. Chair - Tamar Heller, University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Disability and Human Development (UCEDD).


SD is the essential element for enhancing individual control and involvement in employment, and ultimately job satisfaction and success. Chair - Michael Wehmeyer, Kansas University Center on Developmental disabilities (UCEDD) at the University of Kansas.



Self-advocacy skills are critically important if adults with disabilities are to become independent, self-determined people who participate meaningfully in the making major life decisions. Chair - Carl Calkins, University of Missouri Kansas City - Institute for Human Development (UCEDD).

Community Living

In many places people with disabilities are denied freedom and opportunity through institutionalization, excluding them from the fabric and mainstream of community life. Chair – Brian Abery, University of Minnesota.


SD has potential for improving the health of people with disabilities. People with disabilities are at greater risk for secondary and chronic conditions, have higher rates of preventable complications and premature death; are more likely to engage in poor health behaviors; and are less likely to obtain affordable and appropriate medical care, early disease identification or preventive screening, or access health promotion activities. Chair - Ansley Bacon, Westchester Institute for Human Development (UCEDD) at New York Medical College.

Family Roles

Families are the core unit in our society, serving as a source of support for each member. For individuals with disabilities, the role of family is unique and often central in the support and care provided across the lifespan. Family members play key roles in identifying and securing opportunities for one another to meaningfully participate in their community, beginning at a very young age and often continuing into adulthood. Families also play a significant supporting role as people within their family unit progress in their journey toward self-determination.