Current NDCPD Projects


The North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities at Minot State University conducts a wide range of projects serving the disability community. Many of these projects are funded through grants and contracts with outside agencies. NDCPD's active projects are listed below alphabetical order.


Adult Student Transition Education Program (ASTEP)

This project provides an inclusive postsecondary transition option for students with intellectual disabilities (ID) at MSU by engaging students, university partners and area agencies. Year 1 will enroll 5 students and the 4 subsequent years' goal is 10 students per year. All graduates will have an A-STEP Certificate of Completion.
CONTACT: Amy Armstrong,


APPLE Project Subcontract from Dakota College of Bottineau

This project will restructure the current Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Paraeducator Program at Dakota College and focus its attention toward working with children and youth with disabilities in K through 12.

CONTACT: Stacey Anderson,


Achieving Success by Promoting Readiness for Education and Employment (ASPIRE)

The ASPIRE project is a collaboration among multiple agencies in six states, North Dakota included, to combine expertise and share resources in order to improve the quality of life of many of our most vulnerable families. The collaboration will coordinate activities for the PROMISE national initiative. Specifically, the ASPIRE project will be invested in the participants to enable them to move beyond a life of poverty and unemployment, disadvantage and devalued lives to increased self-determination, independence and financial self-sufficiency.

CONTACT: Amy Armstrong,


Autism Spectrum Disorders Evaluation & Diagnostic Team (ASD)

The ND Autism Waiver Evaluation/Diagnostic Team is responsible for evaluating children ages birth to five to confirm a previous autism diagnosis or to provide an initial autism diagnosis of autism for children referred through North Dakota's Autism Waiver Program. The team is comprised of highly qualified professionals in the following disciplines: Pediatricians, psychologists, occupational therapists, physicals therapists, speech language pathologists, early childhood educators, special educators/autism specialists, and behavior analysts.

CONTACT: Lori Garnes,


Community Staff Training Program (CSTP)

This project provides training services for staff members employed by agencies/facilities serving individuals with MR/DD. MSU has been providing this service since 1983.

CONTACT: Mary Mercer,



The Connections activities include several services provided using distance technology. They have evolved from previously successful grant-funded programs, and are now self sustaining. "Connections" provides our clients the tools and technical assistance to offer Remote Realtime Online Captioning, Speech-Language Tele-therapy, Psychiatric counseling, and other Telehealth and consulting services. In 2009, NDCPD's "Connections" clients will provide over 5000 hours of service to students with disabilities.

CONTACT: Steve Peterson,


Experienced Parent Region 1 & 2

This project provides information and support to parents with a child enrolled in Developmental Disabilities services in Region I (Williston area). Dianne Bossert,


Experienced Parent Region 4 & 5

This project provides information and support to parents with a child enrolled in Developmental Disabilities services in Region I (Fargo area). Hilory Liccini,


Great Plains Interdisciplinary Autism Diagnostic Clinic (GPIC)

This project provides diagnostic services to North Dakota children and youth. The clinic houses an interdisciplinary team who conducts arena-style assessments in collaboration with the child's local team and family.
CONTACT: Hilory Liccini,


Inclusive, Affordable, Accessible Housing Options Project

This project will assist individuals with developmental disability live more independently within a community of their choice by successfully completing our five objectives: (1) develop, print and disseminate 500 booklets on inclusive, affordable, accessible housing options; (2) develop, print and disseminate 500 copies of a one page Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)/Resource guide; (3) develop and present a training module for an array of audiences on inclusive, affordable, accessible housing options; (4) collaborate with local and statewide agencies and providers to deliver educational opportunities; and (5) collaborate with agencies to promote the expansion of low income housing options. 

CONTACT: Cheryl Merck,


Medical Home Education in ND (MHEND)

This project will meet the health care needs of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) and their families by educating healthcare providers, human service providers, educators and families about the essential components of Medical Home systems and care coordination for CYSHCN across ND.

CONTACT: Rhonda Weathers,


Minot Infant Development Program (MIDP)

This project identifies infants (birth-3) who are developmentally delayed, high risk, or at risk. In addition, this contract provides for in-home programming and infant stimulation activities for eligible children.

CONTACT: Dianne Bossert,


Money Follows the Person Housing Program

This project seeks 1) to develop and maintain an effective, consumer-directed, accessible and comprehensive housing resource system for persons wishing to transition to the community from an institutional level of care and for persons at risk of institutionalization; 2) to effectively reduce the stigma of persons with disabilities or the aging population statewide, while working to change community attitudes and misconceptions regarding community housing for persons with disabilities or aging persons; and 3) to assist in the statewide effort to develop and expand the number of safe, affordable, accessible, quality and permanent housing options.


NDCPD Core Grant

NDCPD is a University Center of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities, Education, Research and Services. It is part of a network of similar programs at universities throughout the US. University Centers of Excellence (UCE) such as NDCPD serve the disability community by 1) providing interdisciplinary training to students who are seeking professions in the human service arena; 2) providing inservice training for professionals and others serving people with disabilities and their families; 3) disseminating information about effective best practices regarding services for people with disabilities; and 4) providing technical assistance to agencies and programs serving the disability community. NDCPD develops funding to carry out these functions by obtaining grants and contracts. These functions in turn become the 'core' of NDCPD's activities.

CONTACT: Brent Askvig,


ND Disability Health Project II

This project will provide support to the ND Department of Health and other health related entities to develop and strengthen health-related disability programs in ND. The support is intended to increase capacity and action in health promotion, health care access and emergency preparedness activities for people with disabilities.

CONTACT: Kari Schmidt,



This project works towards reducing the loss to follow-up after failure to pass newborn hearing screenings in ND. ND is identifying, treating and referring fewer infants with hearing loss than expected bsed on national incidence levels. Onsite training, technical assistance, public awareness, data analysis and infrastructure support are key features of this project.

CONTACT: Neil Scharpe,



ND has a fully developed EHDI (Early Hearing Detection Intervention) program which collects unduplicated individual identifiable data on every occurring birth thru the EHDI process. Despite this system, barriers of redundancy continue to exist. This EHDI-IS project will focus on reducing the duplicate data entry burden and reduce rates of loss to recommended follow-up services.

CONTACT: Jerusha Olthoff,


ND Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP)

This project assists all ND seniors, including those in our most rural counties and those with disabilities review their Medicare bills to assure that no errors, fraudulent charges or abuses have occurred by using local volunteers, regional volunteer coordinators, and disability adapted curricula to educate beneficiaries.

     SMP Expansion:

     NDCPD's existing ND SMP project will expand their capacity to recruit, screen, train, manage, and
     support an increased number of volunteers to effectively expand outreach to beneficiaries in local
     communities in a more comprehensive manner throughout the state.

CONTACT: Linda Madsen,

Nursing Home Suicide Prevention Project

NDCPD will design suicide prevention training and train eight nursing home and rehabilitation facilities across the state. Specifically, NDCPD staff will train and educate staff on how to screen for depression and how to make appropriate referrals when needed. NDCPD staff will also assist sites to develop a policy suicide awareness and referrals.

CONTACT: Christine Bridgen,



The Peer-Advocates’ Voices Empower Project will address bullying of students with DD through advocacy by encompassing 4 integral components to engage, educate, and empower participants with leadership and advocacy skills. The four components include 1) Peer-Advocates - training typical students to support students with DD who are being bullied; 2) Self-Advocates - equipping students with DD with leadership skills to counter bullying themselves; 3) Adult-Advocates - preparing influential adults in the students’ lives to recognize bullying and to mentor the Peer and Self-Advocates; and 4) Project Coordination - facilitating collaboration among the PAVE partners comprised of Site Coordinators, members of the school advocacy team, technical assistance providers, sponsors, NDCPD’s Consumer Advisory Council (CAC), and the PAVE Project Curriculum Consultant/Evaluator to ensure effective management of the PAVE Project.

CONTACT: JoLynn Webster,


Pathfinder Parent Center External Evaluation Agreement

NDCPD provides the external evaluation component of the Parent Training and Information center for North Dakota. This will entail periodic data collection and reports on the Pathfinders Parent Center activities.

CONTACT: Brent Askvig,


Perceptions Project

The Perceptions Projects works towards combating the issue of negative public attitudes towards individuals with developmental disabilities by developing sustainable practices and activities which will deliver positive educational communication.

CONTACT: Steve Peterson,


Positive Behavior Supports and Therapeutic Responses

The project will support the development of a curriculum that emphasizes positive behavior supports, pro-active responses, therapeutic relationships, crisis prevention, de-escalation, and safe, appropriate responses to dangerous behaviors. Using a Train-the-Trainer model, the course will be taught twice per year in multiple locations. After the initial beta test and revisions to the curriculum, the course will be open to a variety of support agencies serving individuals with challenging behavior. Participants who successfully complete the Trainer-the-Trainer certification in Positive Behavior Supports and Therapeutic Responses, will receive an instructor’s manual, student workbook, instructional DVDs, and assessments to use when they teach the class in their home agency. NDCPD is receiving assistance in the development of the curriculum from a workgroup of staff from North Dakota DD providers, Department of Human Service agency representatives, and consultants from mental health, aging, and ID service agencies.

CONTACT: Mary Mercer,


Right Track

This project identifies infant and toddlers that may be at risk for DD, provides developmental screenings, refers to other services as appropriate and provides developmental information to families.

CONTACT: Dianne Bossert,


Suicide Prevention, Middle School - Kognito

The Kognito Middle School Teacher Training program prepares teaches, administrators and staff to identify, approach and refer students exhibiting signs of psychological distress, including anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide. This is done through an online, avatar-based training program.

CONTACT: Brent Askvig,


Support Autism in North Dakota (SAND)

The SAND project will implement the strategies outlined in the ND ASD Task Force Strategic Plan by collaborating with relevant stakeholders.

CONTACT: Lori Garnes,


Training Contracts

This project manages various face-to-face and online workshops. Evidence-based practices and value-based services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities are emphasized.

CONTACT: Mary Mercer,


Training for Autism Spectrum Disorders Service Coordinators

NDCPD will provide web-based self-study instructional modules; online assessment for staff contracted through the North Dakota Department of Human Services ASD Program; and documentation of test completion in the DD Division staff training data base. The following modules from the Community Staff Training Projects (CSTP) curriculum will be delivered through an online directory of pdf copies of the module: Autism; Working with Families; Writing Behavioral Objectives and Measuring Behavior; Assessment and Setting Goals; Designing and Implementing Positive Behavioral Supports; Guidelines for Qualified Developmental Disabilities Professionals; and Working in Family Support Settings. Participants will be able to print the module or read the online copy from a password protected site. If online instructional videos and audio files were developed through the CSTP contract, these will also be available on the site. Participants will complete an online exam for each module through the Minot State University online course platform.

CONTACT: Mary Mercer,


Transition Awareness III

The Transition Awareness project is designed to provide families, youth with disabilities and professionals with information about secondary transition options in housing, education and employment. The ND DD Council, ND P & A, ND Dept of Public Instruction - Special Education and KAT communications have partnered to develop website materials, and training materials for these audiences. 

CONTACT: Brent Askvig,