The Lee Mitchener Tolbert Center for Developmental Disabilities was founded in 1995 for the purpose of disseminating information, expanding knowledge, and promoting "best practice" service delivery to enhance the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families. The Center was named in honor of Lee Mitchener Tolbert, a young man with a developmental disability, and his many accomplishments.
The Tolbert Center started as a library and resource center, which remains a primary function. The Center’s collection includes books, journals, other documents, videotapes, evaluation tools, and a computerized database related to people with developmental disabilities from an interdisciplinary life span perspective. Materials are available to anyone with interest in people with developmental disabilities.
Educational activities are another focus of the Tolbert Center. Center faculty and clinical staff participate in the professional programs in occupational therapy and physical therapy, in the postprofessional doctor of science degree program in rehabilitation sciences, and in the interdisciplinary doctor of philosophy program in allied health sciences. Faculty and staff also provide educational outreach through professional development workshops and conferences for service providers and families of people of all ages with developmental disabilities.
Research is also another important Tolbert Center activity. Center faculty and clinical staff conduct research related to improving services and supports for people at risk for or with developmental disabilities and their families.
Service activities are an important part of the Tolbert Center. Center faculty and clinical staff provide service models for students and service providers that meet the service delivery needs of people with developmental disabilities and their families. This includes direct services, providing resources, technical assistance, training, and related services through contracts and grants.
Tolbert Center faculty and staff incorporate ten service principles into all education, research, and service activities. The principles include: application of state and federal regulations, cultural sensitivity, evidence-based practices, person and family-centered services, functional outcomes, inclusion, natural environments, people-first language, self-determination, and team-oriented service delivery.