The Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI) and the Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (VT-LEND), have been selected to host an ADA International Fellow during the month of May. We are honored to host Dr. Renata Costa de Sá Bonotto of Brazil as part of a five-week intensive program. Dr. Costa de Sá Bonotto works as an independent consultant for several disability rights advocacy groups and as a compliance advisor, including the ABRAÇA (Associação Brasileira para Ação por Direitos das Pessoas com Autismo - Brazilian Association for Action for the Rights of People with Autism), which participated as amicus curiae in a court case on Inclusive Education in 2015/2016 for the UN’s Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). Rounding our Renata’s strengths as a fellow, she has more than a decade of experience as a teacher and as a parent advocate for children with autism.

The ADA International Fellowship Program selects 20 individuals to participate each year. Every individual is matched with a university-based research and education center for disabilities in the United States. This fellowship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and provides participants the opportunity to learn about inclusive education practices in the United States. Fellows are comprised of mid-career professionals from Brazil, Kenya, Peru, and Tanzania and are selected through a competitive application process. These leaders take the information and practices learned during their time at the host site to implement change in their own communities.

CDCI is housed in the University of Vermont’s College of Education and Social Services. Since its inception in the 1970s, CDCI has been instrumental to the formation of innovative practices, positioning Vermont as a national exemplar in inclusive education. Vermont LEND is housed in the University of Vermont’s College of Medicine. It has been successful in improving the health of infants, children, and adolescents by preparing trainees from diverse professional disciplines and backgrounds in leadership roles, ensuring high levels of interdisciplinary clinical competence. We look forward to working with an international fellow and providing the tools needed to effect change in other areas of the world.