Hawaiʻi University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

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Project Dates

2023 – 2028

Funding Source

Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


The Center on Disability Studies (CDS) is a change agent and valuable resource in Hawai’i. Established in 1988, core funding for CDS comes through the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act). The mission of CDS is to build the capacity of individuals, organizations, and agencies and to bring about systems change so that individuals with disabilities of all ages may lead fuller lives in and contribute to their communities. CDS is to use core funding to engage in research, training, demonstration, evaluation, and dissemination activities to bring about new opportunities in varied contexts – education, early intervention, employment, health, housing, transportation, child care, recreation, and other areas of community life for persons with disabilities, especially those with developmental disabilities. Most importantly, CDS also is encouraged to use some of its core funding to leverage other funding opportunities.

There are 67 centers like CDS, specifically designated to do the work described in the DD Act. These 67 centers belong to the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). This association is a platform from which centers share with each other, collaborate, and advocate for individuals with disabilities. The power of this collective effort influences federal policy and funding priorities for federal programs that benefit individuals with disabilities.

Principal Investigator

Lauren Lum Ho, EdD, MSW, is the Interim Director of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) Center on Disability Studies (CDS), a research unit in the College of Education. Lum Ho has a background in social work and obtained a doctorate in education in 2023 from the University of Memphis with a focus on instructional design and technology. Lum Ho works across a variety of projects at CDS as an instructional designer to create effective, meaningful online learning environments in alignment with the course content and target audience. Lum Ho is also the instructor for a foundational course in…



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