The Developmental Disabilities Network Journal is an open-source academic journal focused on rigorous scholarship about disability systems and the value and impact of the Developmental Disabilities network. This network is comprised of organizations and programs that conduct interdisciplinary pre-service preparation, advocacy, research, community services, and information dissemination with and on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. We also welcome scholarship from programs with a similar focus on disability rights, community living, and interdisciplinary research. This journal specifically highlights programs, practices, and policies that encourage the full inclusion of people with disabilities in communities and all aspects of public life.

Call for Abstracts :Developmental Disabilities Network Journal (DDNJ) Winter 2023-2024 Special Issue: Mental Health Aspects of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Many individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities (IDD) who have mental health needs, receive ineffective services and supports. One dimension of supports that is often overlooked by both providers and researchers is wellbeing among persons with IDD. Without attending to a person’s strengths and addressing gaps in basic human needs, such as enhancing social relationships and helping one achieve meaning, it is quite difficult for persons with IDD to flourish. Discrimination and trauma also play a significant role in the lives of people with IDD, which can contribute to an increase in mental health needs. While new opportunities for integrated mental health services, improvements in diagnosis and treatment, and the advent of positive psychological and strength-based practices offers significant promises, greater research and dissemination of information on best practices is needed.
Our Winter 2023-2024 special issue will be dedicated to the wellbeing and mental health aspects of persons with IDD. We are interested in all facets of this topic, with a particular focus on engagement with people with IDD, integrated wellbeing and mental health assessment and treatment approaches, inclusive research, and positive mental health. We welcome abstracts that explore all aspects of wellbeing and mental health research within the context of the lived experience of persons with disabilities, their families, and the communities in which they live – in all states, territories, and tribal nations. This may include, but is not limited to: 1) measurement, 2) services, 3) treatments and approaches, 4) strengths-based research, 5) well-being and life satisfaction, 6) intersectionality, 7) program evaluation, 8) cohort and longitudinal studies, and 9) lived experiences. We need to know not only the problems, but also solutions moving forward. We welcome both quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as the intersection of the two through mixed methods.
We are specifically interested in seeing work on the following topics that involve persons with an IDD:
•How strengths are identified and activated
•The inclusion of persons with the lived experience of IDD in the provision of all aspects of their wellbeing, mental health treatment and support
•Effective program models
•How to engage persons with lived experience of IDD and their families in all aspects of wellbeing and mental health research
•Effective methods to improve wellbeing and mental health
•Intersectionality (e.g., race/ethnicity/spoken language) and its relationship to wellbeing and mental health
•Wellbeing and mental health in older adults
•Wellbeing and mental health in the LGBTQ+ community
•Crisis prevention and intervention services, including engagement with first responders

In general, we are looking for articles that demonstrate what works! We want to publish articles that have clear implications for enhancing engagement and partnerships, research, policy, and practice. Abstracts and final articles should reflect a commitment to research and ethics (Institutional Review Board Approval).
This special issue is a collaboration between DDNJ and the National Research Consortium on Mental Health in IDD. Please send a plain language abstract of 250-500 words to editor.ddnj@usu.edu by July 15th, 2023.

We will review abstracts in August and will invite articles for full submission by August 30th, 2023. Full articles will be due by November 1st, 2023 and will be reviewed again by peer reviewers and editorial staff prior to publication in February, 2024. If you have questions or concerns please contact us at editor.ddnj@usu.edu. A call for reviewers will be shared after we review abstracts, but if you are interested and know you will be available this winter, please email the editor with a short description of your area of expertise.

More on the National Research Consortium can be found here: https://centerforstartservices.org/mhidd-national-research-consortium. Promising projects, especially those that meet the Consortiums’ research priorities, will be invited for a grant submission to further their research. Grants can be funded up to $50,000 for 2 years. We look forward to your submissions and are thankful for this opportunity to focus on these important topics.

The Editors and Guest Editors

The DDNJ Author Insights podcast highlights select authors and articles from the journal. This podcast is for a broad audience and our intent is to increase the reach of disability research in an approachable, conversational, and accessible way.

Call for Reviewers

If you have questions about submitting a manuscript or becoming a reviewer for this journal, please contact the editorial office at .

Current Issue: Volume 3, Issue 1 (2023)



Paths to Equity: Parents in partnership with UCEDDs fostering Black family advocacy for children on the autism spectrum
Elizabeth H. Morgan, Benita D. Shaw, Ida Winters, Chiffon King, Jazmin Burns, Aubyn Stahmer, and Gail Chodron


Exploring Barriers to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Communication Sciences and Disorders Students
Elizabeth Cleveland, Maysoon Biller, Natalie Benafield, Abigail Moss, Mackenzie Jordan, and Mary Yang


Beyond Representation: Partnerships, Intersectionality, and the Centering of the Disability, Family, and Community Lived Experience
Lydia Ocasio-Stoutenburg PhD; Julieta Hernandez PhD, LCSW; and Douglene Jackson PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA


Disability Decolonized: Indigenous Peoples Enacting Self-determination
Nathan J. Rabang, Amy E. West, Eric Kurtz, Jim Warne, and Vanessa Y. Hiratsuka


An Interactive Training Model to Promote Cultural Humility For Early Childhood Professionals
Anjali G. Ferguson, Chimdindu Ohayagha, and Jackie Robinson Brock


Cultural Humility and Cultural Brokering in Professional Training: Insights from People of Color (POC) and Persons with Disabilities (PWD)
Victoria Filingeri, Heather M. Mendez, Alisa Ssu Yu Lin, Gyasi Burks-Abbott, Amy Szarkowski, and Jason Fogler


Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Developmental Disabilities: The Essential Role of Leadership for Cultural and Linguistic Competence
Tawara D. Goode, Oluwatosin Ajisope, Sharonlyn Harrison, Betelhem Eshetu Yimer, Deborah Perrry, and Wendy Jones