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Center for Disabilities 50 Year Anniversary

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Center for Disabilities at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. The Center for Disabilities was established in 1971 as part of a national network of federally-designated centers now known as University Centers for Excellence in Development Disabilities, Education, Research and Service (UCEDDS). 

The mission of the Center for Disabilities is to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families across the state of South Dakota, the region, and nationally. The Center for Disabilities carries out its diverse capacity building efforts through community education, clinical services, interdisciplinary training, technical assistance, research, information dissemination and policy/advocacy work.

In addition, the Center for Disabilities is a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders (LEND) site. For the past 30 years, the Center for Disabilities has been a leader in the state and nation in providing the highest quality interdisciplinary, culturally competent, family-centered care. SD LEND has successfully prepared hundreds of healthcare and related professionals to assume leadership roles and has also provided ongoing continuing education and technical assistance for thousands of practicing professionals.

Whether it is conducting a diagnostic clinic, engaging with state and national policy makers, or training the next generation of professionals, our work focuses on the strengths and contributions of people with disabilities and conceptualizes disability as a natural part of human existence. The Center for Disabilities believes that all people can achieve independence, self-determination, productivity and community inclusion.

We are excited to celebrate this milestone by sharing stories of those who have been positively impacted through the Center for Disabilities. Whether you are a parent, family member, professional, self-advocate or student, please click here to share your story, or reach out to Kendra Gottsleben at

Celebratory activities are planned for later this year. Once scheduled, information about our anniversary events can be found in the Upcoming Events section below, designated with the hashtag "#SDCFD50". Reserve your spot for our 50th Anniversary celebration on Sept. 29 during the South Dakota Conference on Developmental Disabilities! You can do so by clicking here. For more information follow us on social media.