Sonoran UCEDD Programs for Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities

The goal of the Sonoran University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) is to ensure full community participation by individuals with developmental disabilities through:

  • Interdisciplinary training of students and service professionals on developmental disabilities
  • Research and analysis aimed at developing new knowledge on disability which can be translated into model programs and public policy initiatives
  • Technical assistance and information sharing for the community at large on disability best practices and new information
  • Exemplary services and model program development to enhance and expand the systems of support for people with developmental disabilities

In our endeavor to meet this goal, we have three programs geared to meet the needs of young adults with developmental disabilities.  The Southern AZ Person-Centered Planning Model Program offers a positive approach for youth transitioning into adulthood to plan for their future.  Project SEARCH Arizona equips young adults with the skills for competitive employment.  The Medical Home within the Family Medicine Clinic at the University Physicians Healthcare Hospital provides coordinated and comprehensive primary healthcare for individuals with DD.  All three projects seek to provide the necessary stepping stones and supports for individuals with DD to lead meaningful and healthy lives.

Southern Arizona Person-Centered Planning Model Program
The Southern Arizona Person-Centered Planning Model Program is a federally-funded grant project conducted in partnership between the Arizona Department of Economic Security/Division of Developmental Disabilities (DES/DDD) and the Sonoran UCEDD. This grant is specifically geared towards young adults with developmental disabilities, ages 16 through 22, who are making their transition into adulthood. Some of the young adults involved in the grant may also be dually-diagnosed as having a behavioral health condition. The goals of the grant include:

  • young man and his circle of supports working on a chart during a group planning sessionTo create a Southern Arizona Person-Centered Planning Model program - piloted in Pima, Cochise and Pinal Counties
  • To develop Person-Centered Plans built on strengths, dreams and choices of young adults
  • To increase young adult knowledge about all the options available to them as they transition into adulthood (i.e. living arrangements, work, life, social networks and other services)
  • To build on strengths of informal supports (parents, family members), formal supports (support coordinators, educators, etc.) and community networks to help young adults in their transition into adulthood
  •  Use the tools and lessons learned to recommend a model curriculum for statewide training in Person-Centered Planning and issue a set of recommendations for a Person-Centered Planning model process that can be used and sustained across all of Arizona.

Person-Centered Planning (PCP) is a guided process assisting individuals to identify the steps needed to make their dreams become a reality. It is a proactive and positive approach which emphasizes the strengths and wishes of the individual and brings together many of the supportive people in this person’s life.  We train facilitators to lead the planning process to complete individual plans for participants.  We also offer opportunities for youth and their circles of support to participate in group planning sessions where they are able to meet and share with others in their area, increasing their social and community network.  We have an upcoming group planning session in Apache Junction, AZ on July 23 & 24, 2010 (Group PCP Info).

For more information about the Southern AZ PCP Model Program, trainings and planning opportunities in your area, please contact the Program Coordinator:
Jacy Bell
Phone: (520) 626-2207

Project SEARCH Arizona
Project SEARCH is a business-led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration.  The cornerstone of Project SEARCH is total immersion in a large business. Participants may be high school students in their final year of high school eligibility or they may be adults who have experienced significant barriers to employment. Each day, these interns report to the host business, learning employability skills in the classroom and job skills in the workplace as they rotate through 3 − 4 internships/experiences during the program year.

The current business site is the University Physicians Healthcare Hospital (UPH) in Tucson, AZ.  We had a successful pilot program for 6 young adults which ended with 2 job placements already; and the program will begin with the second cohort of another 6 interns this July 2010.  The High School Transition Program will begin with it's first cohort of 13 young adults this Fall 2010.  Project SEARCH Arizona partners are in the process of developing a plan to replicate the program in Tucson with the goal of expanding to other sites across Arizona.young man wearing full protective hospital smock, gloves, mask and hair net working at his materials resources internship

This program is a true community collaboration.  Braiding existing funding, Project SEARCH participants are supported through education funding, developmental disabilities supports, and vocational rehabilitation. The Sonoran University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the University of Arizona is the coordinating agency, bringing together these entities and other community stakeholders with potential business sites as well as serving as the point of contact with Project SEARCH National.

For more information, please contact the Project SEARCH Arizona, Sonoran UCEDD coordinator:
Laura Schweers
Phone: (520) 626-0677

Medical Home for Youth & Adults
the front of the UPH Hospital at Kino in Tucson, AZThe Medical Home is not a “place” where someone lives, but rather a set of services provided in a primary care clinic designed to offer accessible, continuous, family-centered, coordinated, compassionate and culturally sensitive health care services to patients with disabilities.  Our medical home teams up a clinician and social worker with access to other specialties and related services to provide families and individuals with disabilities comprehensive care.  This includes linking patients and families to medical and non-medical community resources such as: educational and vocational services, family support and specialty care to meet their needs as well as providing coordinated primary health care.  The Medical Home serves youth and adults with developmental disabilities, defined as long lasting physical, mental or sensory impairments occurring prior to the age of 22. Examples of disabilities meeting that definition include but are not limited to: Intellectual Disability, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Autism, and Spina Bifida.  For more information, please contact the Medical Home Coordinator:
Stacey Hersch, MSW
Phone: (520) 400-6751