About the Dissemination Initiative

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Old time sketch of people working together on a new creation.

We're working together to get resources to more users.

January 2011

Who We Are

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) serves the nation as a centralized source of information on children with disabilities from birth to age 22. We take pride in writing easy-to-read publications in English and Spanish on:

  • disabilities,
  • early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities,
  • special education services for school-aged children, and
  • how to help youth with disabilities plan for their future after high school.

We also believe strongly in connecting you with resources within your own state that can help you address the disability-related issues of personal or professional concern to you.

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Why We’ve Created This Initiative

Clearly, the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities is deeply involved in disseminating information about disabilities in children and much, much more. We’ve been asked by our funder—the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education—to share what we know about effective dissemination with others. Hence, this initiative.

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Who Else Is Involved

Our primary partners are also funded by OSEP—the Technical Assistance and Dissemination (TA&D) network of projects. More than 40 projects strong, the TA&D network’s mission is to provide expertise to the nation on specific disability issues. We all have our own areas of emphasis, and the National Dissemination Center’s is disabilities in children and dissemination.

As such, we are currently working with the TA&D network of projects to examine, improve, and coordinate the network’s dissemination efforts. Working together and individually, we’re looking at:

  • what types of information and assistance our users need,
  • how we plan products and services to address those needs, and
  • how we get that information into the hands, mind, and actions of our users.

Many people and groups beyond the TA&D network are also involved. Take a look at who’s participating in the Dissemination Community of Practice, and you’ll see a wide range of audiences concerned with the welfare of children who have disabilities and the systems that support them.

Together, we can do so much, as Helen Keller said years ago.

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Specific Activities and Outcomes

Ahh, this is where the rubber meets the road. What are the specific activities associated with this Dissemination Initiative? Well, lots! Here’s a brief overview of what we’re up to.

  • Reviewing the research: No better place to start! What research has been conducted on effective dissemination practices? What has been found? The National Dissemination Center is distilling the literature and using it as the foundation for this initiative. (See the next bullet…)
  • Communicating the research: We’ve created a new series called Disseminating for Impact to pass along the fruits of research to others. The series is available in print, in PDF, and as blogs and discussion forums online. (Now see the next bullet!)
  • Starting a Dissemination CoP: Communities of practice (CoPs) can be a powerful way for like-minded folks in different locales to gather and get something of mutual interest done. Accordingly, the National Dissemination Center launched an online CoP on dissemination in 2009, and it currently serves as a gathering place for those interested in how to be effective disseminators. At the CoP, you’ll find the Disseminating for Impact series, connections to helpful tools and info—and an ever-growing discussion and exchange among community members.
  • Creating a Dissemination Toolkit: Together, the CoP members are creating a toolkit that we all can use to improve our dissemination efforts. At the moment, the toolkit is in its infancy, but it will steadily grow over the next months. We invite your participation. Tell us what types of tools and tips you’d find useful. Here are our preliminary thoughts on possible topics and how-to’s:

— assessing audience needs

— communicating with your audience

— involving your audience in planning, development, and dissemination efforts

— matching your product to user needs

— lowering the reading level

— universal design

— writing in plain language

— creating translations

— using social media

— disseminating products in different formats

— using trusted intermediaries to reach users

— evaluating dissemination efforts

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How You Can Become Involved

If you’re reading this, you probably are already involved! At least interested… and somehow the Dissemination Initiative intersects with your own life. You can take part in the initiative however much you’d like or have time for. You’re welcome to read our materials and share them with others (none are copyrighted), put the information into practice in your own neck of the woods, join the Dissemination CoP, tell others about the CoP, or simply drop in and see what people are discussing. It’s all up to you. Remember, though, together we can do so much.

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Keep Reading about the Dissemination Initiative

NOTICE: NICHCY is going away, but its resources are not. Find hundreds of legacy NICHCY publications, as well as our training curriculum on IDEA 2004, in the Center for Parent Information and Resource’s Library at http://www.parentcenterhub.org/resources. This website will remain available until September 30, 2014. After that date, web visitors will be automatically redirected to http://www.parentcenterhub.org.