The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at UNC
The Carolina Institute includes:



The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities in the UNC School of Medicine was established July of 2007 to provide the citizens of North Carolina with world class services, research, and training for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The Institute is one of only a small number of comprehensive centers for developmental disabilities in the United States that bring together three federally-funded programs of national significance – the UCEDD, LEND, and IDDRC programs. The over-arching aim of the Institute is to provide cutting-edge services, research, and clinical and research training to benefit individuals with developmental disabilities and their families and to play an important role in and planning for services, education, and research on developmental disabilities in the state of NC.

The focus of the CIDD is on all neurodevelopmental disorders, and underlying pathogenetic mechanisms that cause these disorders, affecting children and adults. This Institute brings together multidisciplinary research teams focusing collaboratively on a range of disorders and underlying pathogenetic mechanisms. Our overarching aim is to translate basic science and clinical research findings with real-world interventions in the clinic and community. In this way it is our hope that we can make the greatest impact on improving the lives of individuals with these conditions and their families. By comparing and contrasting findings from multiple perspectives and on multiple conditions we hope to maximize our ability to discover new knowledge about the causes and treatment of these disorders. Research at the the Carolina Institute currently focuses on the following conditions:
The Carolina Institute addresses these developmental disabilities:
Angelman Syndrome
Cerebral Palsy
Congenital Deafness
Down Syndrome
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Fragile X Syndrome
Hurler’s Syndrome
Intellectual Disability
Krabbe’s Disease
L1 Syndrome
Lysosomal Storage Diseases
Muscular Dystrophy
Prader Willi Syndrome
Rett Syndrome
Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome
Specific Language Impairment
Tuberous Sclerosis
Turner Syndrome
William’s Syndrome
X-Linked Adrenoleukodystrophy
22q Deletion Syndrome


There is increasing recognition of the high prevalence of developmental disabilities in our communities as well as the substantial costs to individuals, families and communities. For example, studies from the Centers for Disease Control have indicated that one in 150 school age children has an autism spectrum disorder. Other research has suggested that the lifetime costs to the community for an individual with autism are estimated to be $3.2 M (Ganz et al 2007). Fifteen percent of children in the U.S. meet criteria for a developmental disability and there is widespread recognition of the inadequacy of services and research for these conditions. Nowhere is this problem more apparent than in NC where the crisis in mental health care is now widely recognized.


The existence of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities will promote the integration of existing programs in a new Institute where service, research, and training programs act synergistically to produce: (1) integration of cutting-edge primary, secondary, and tertiary care level services; (2) state-of-the-art translational research; (3) interdisciplinary training, and (4) leadership in the statewide conversation on development of innovative, cost-effective policies for individuals with developmental disabilities (e.g., health care, education, interface with legal systems). These steps will ultimately lead to discoveries in the prevention of developmental disabilities, and cost-effective treatments and interventions that will substantially enhance the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families throughout the state of North Carolina.

The dedicated faculty and staff of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities depend on private financial support to advance our mission to provide world class services, research and training for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

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