Director: Cindy Thomas
Since 1967, the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) has worked to ensure that people with disabilities have the same opportunity to dream big, and make their dreams a fully included, integrated, and welcomed reality. As a leader not only in Massachusetts, but also nationally and internationally, ICI strives to create a world where all people with disabilities are welcome and fully included in valued roles wherever they go, whether a school, workplace, volunteer group, home, or any other part of the community. All of ICI's efforts stem from one core value: that people with disabilities are more of an expert than anyone else. Therefore, people with disabilities should have the same rights and controls and maintain lives based on their individual preferences, choices, and dreams.
ICI was established in 1967 at Children's Hospital Boston by Dr. Allen Crocker and was originally known as the Developmental Evaluation Center. The Center was one of the first in the country, established as a direct result of President Kennedy's recognition of the national need for increased support and training for citizens with mental retardation. Through the years ICI has expanded its scope, and today ICI's services focus on the entire life-span of people with all types of disabilities.
"For over forty years, our focus has been to figure out ways people with disabilities can participate in everyday activities and all aspects of the community," explained Bill Kiernan, former director of ICI. "There is still the perception out there that people with disabilities cannot work, cannot move on to higher education, and in general are limited in their activities." ICI, now based at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Boston Children’s Hospital, helps change that reality with a wide range of initiatives including: training, research, consultation, community outreach, and clinical and employment services.
ICI projects and programs involve local, state, and national agencies, schools, institutes of higher education, national service programs, rehabilitation providers, multicultural organizations, employers, and many others. All of these partnerships work to further goals of independence and inclusion.