The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at UNC
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Interdisciplinary Clinical Training

The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities is dedicated to providing interdisciplinary leadership training in the field of neurodevelopmental disabilities and related disabilities. Our primary education/training initiatives are funded through the Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Program.  

The training program welcomes students from undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral levels from 10 different disciplines including, Audiology, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics, Education, Nursing, Nutrition, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Psychology, Social Work and Speech-Language Pathology. The CIDD provides short-term and long-term interdisciplinary educational opportunities for individuals at the masters, pre-doctoral, doctoral, post-doctoral, and professional levels.  

The training program includes the development of an individualized training plan that incorporates clinical experiences, a Problem Based Learning class, a didactic Grand Rounds series, and a mentored research or community based project, all within an interdisciplinary environment. These elements enable trainees to enhance their potential and discover their unique strengths in order to become future interdisciplinary leaders in the areas of research, policymaking, teaching and clinical practice with individuals with developmental disabilities and their and families.

  • Clinical Experiences : This component of the program provides trainees with faculty mentored opportunities to apply discipline specific skills in an interdisciplinary environment.  The interdisciplinary clinical experience is essential for trainees to be exposed to a variety of diagnoses and apply their clinical knowledge of assessment and care plan development. The clinical experience component can be completed within the various CIDD clinical teams as well as affiliated clinical community sites. Learn more about the CIDD Clinic or see a list of our clinics.

  • Developmental Disabilities Across the Lifespan- An Interdisciplinary Approach:    Through a blended learning format and problem-based style of inquiry, students are exposed to evidence-based clinical practices and translational research.  Systems-level and clinical case scenarios will be solicited from faculty and community partners with questions designed to facilitate active learning regarding the full scope of the service system for individuals with developmental disabilities.   Targeted investigation related to case scenarios expose participants to key aspects of the field such as screening protocols, assessment methods, self-determination, person-driven services, and transition; with case problems progressing in complexity, to encompass vast DD content areas, including clinical, policy, community-based and individual foci. Course topics focus on challenges related to direct care services, including clinical screening, assessment, intervention plans, and clinical outcomes, and  population services and health system infrastructure including public policy and advocacy challenges related to individuals with DD and their families. This course is uniquely designed to be student-driven, faculty mentored, and family -centered.

    This course is offered as a 2 credit course in both the fall (PHYT 862) and spring (PHYT 864) semesters for trainees and fellows at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD). This course is offered as a required course in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders (LEND) training curriculum and as an elective course for a limited number of additional students interested in the field of developmental disabilities (DD).  The focus of this problem-based course is on preparing interdisciplinary graduate students to acquire advanced knowledge of DD and preparing them to be evidence-based clinicians, advocates, leaders, and change-agents relative to contemporary practice issues in the DD arena.

  • Grand Rounds: This component of the program is a monthly lecture series with the goal of exposing CDL trainees to the various aspects of DD practice. Emphasis is upon presentations by clinicians and researchers in the DD field exposing participants to current evidence-based practices and translation of research into community practices. Speakers feature CIDD faculty as well as researchers and clinicians from various parts of the UNC system. In addition, trainees and fellows are encouraged to present at Grand Rounds related to their fellowship research and clinical endeavors.  

The CIDD Interdisciplinary Training program has a special focus on leadership skills for practice in the field of developmental disabilities.Selected trainees are able to participate in a year-long program that includes students from other interdisciplinary Maternal and Child Health (MCH) funded training programs at UNC Chapel Hill. The interdisciplinary student cohort brings together masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral graduate students from multiple UNCSchools and Departments that have included the Schools of: Social Work, Government, Public Health, Education, Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences. This leadership development program curriculum provides participants the opportunity to explore personal leadership styles as well as focus on particular maternal and child health competencies in the areas of conflict resolution, group facilitation, cultural competence, family/professional collaboration and peer coaching.  The mission of this program is to train the next generation of leaders to better serve the MCH population.


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