The goal of the Community of Practice (CoP) is to increase the number, diversity, and capacity of formal and informal leaders to transform their state/territorial developmental disabilities (DD) systems by: (1) advancing and sustaining cultural and linguistic competence (CLC) systemically through changes in values, policy, structures, and practices; and (2) responding effectively to the growing cultural and linguistic diversity among people with DD and their families who reside in states, territories, and tribal nations. The CoP has two primary objectives.
The CoP is funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through a five-year Cooperative Agreement.
The AIDD describes community of practice as “a group of people who share a common interest and a consistent professional perspective. In a community of practice, individuals work together on an ongoing basis to share ideas, provide technical assistance and support among peers, and discuss solutions to shared challenges.”1 The NCCC embraces this philosophy and has designed a multifaceted CoP focused on state/territorial leadership for CLC and cultural diversity that results in system transformation.
In collaboration with AIDD, up to 10 states/territories will be competitively selected for membership in the CoP. Each state/territory will be required to make a five-year commitment to this system transformation initiative and to develop a transformation plan.
Designated lead entities. Each state/territory will be required to have a designated lead entity for the CoP. The lead entity is responsible for organizing a consortia of participating constituents.
Transformation Leadership Team. The consortia will select 6 individuals to serve on a Transformation Leadership Team that is responsible for guiding state/territorial level cultural diversity and CLC efforts. This team must include representatives from the state/territorial DD agency, the three AIDD-funded programs (University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities – UCEDD, Protection and Advocacy Agency - P&A, and Developmental Disabilities Council), and two other stakeholders as deemed appropriate. Transformation Leadership Teams will convene a Stakeholder Group in their state/territory to elicit buy in and collaboratively plan and do the work of system transformation that will advance cultural diversity and CLC. The composition of Stakeholder Group and how it operates will be determined based on the interests, needs, and contexts of each state/territory.
Transformation Facilitator. Each consortia will be supported by a Transformation Facilitator, a NCCC faculty member, who will host bi-monthly calls with the Transformation Leadership Team. These calls are designed to be responsive to specific areas of interest and need of states/territories that will advance their cultural diversity and CLC journeys, achieve their stated goals, document benchmarks, and adhere to the timelines in their transformation plans. The Transformation Facilitators are skilled in CLC, organizational and behavioral change strategies, and supporting such processes with individuals and groups.
CoP peer exchange, technical assistance, training.The CoP will offer an array of opportunities for shared learning, consultation, technical assistance, training, and information exchange to state/territorial consortia. The NCCC will collaborate with the following national organizations to conduct these activities:
Transformation Forums. The CoP will convene annual forums in Washington, DC. The forums are designed to: (1) create a vision and a transformation plan to be implemented over time at either the system and/or program levels; and (2) enhance knowledge and skills to lead complex behavioral, organizational, and system change that promotes cultural diversity and advances and CLC. All travel and lodging will be incurred by the NCCC for Transformation Leadership Team members to participate in annual forums. The agenda for each forum will be developed based on the needs and interests across the 10 participating states/territories. Forum activities will adhere to principles of adult learning, meet accessibility requirements for people with DD in need of accommodations, and adhere to language access requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Quarterly Peer Exchange and Learning Forums. Quarterly forums, using web-based technology, will be offered to 10 state/territorial consortia and focus on peer exchange, emerging themes and their implications for policy and practice, and salient topics relevant to the interest and needs of state/territories. The CoP will offer a password protected web-based interface to encourage dialogue among state/territorial consortia.
Consultant Pool. The CoP will feature a Consultant Pool comprised of an invited cadre of individuals with subject matter knowledge and experience relevant to achieving the project goal and objectives. This pool of consultants will provide expertise, on a time limited basis, to states/territories on unique issues, specific populations, or other areas of interest and need. The Consultant Pool is an additional resource that the NCCC is making available to augment the CoP. States/territories will be responsible for costs associated with consultation.
1Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Overview of AIDD’s Community of Practice Projects. Retrieved on 11/4/16 from