About the IDDRC

Scientific discovery is the mission of the Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Research Center–discovering why child development goes awry, discovering ways to prevent developmental disabilities, discovering treatments and interventions–so that children and adults with disabilities can live, learn, work, and enjoy their lives with their families and friends in their own communities.

Established by Congress in 1963 as "centers of excellence" for research in intellectual and developmental disabilities, IDDRCs represent our nation's first sustained effort to prevent and treat developmental disabilities through biomedical and behavioral research. Today, the Waisman Center IDDRC is a dynamic, state-of-the-art research center with a long history of accomplishments. Its outstanding physical facilities reflect continual improvement and reinvestment, and its diverse scientific programs reflect multidisciplinary research spanning the biological and behavioral sciences relevant to Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities.

The Waisman Center is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, academic center at the UW-Madison, devoted to the advancement of knowledge about human development, developmental disabilities, and neurodegenerative diseases. The Waisman Center supports investigators who conduct research in the biological and behavioral sciences, trains scientists in fields relevant to Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities, trains clinicians in the delivery of clinical and educational services for persons with developmental disabilities, and conducts continuing education and technical assistance programs on behalf of national, state, and local agencies and organizations.

Scientific Groups

The IDDRC at the Waisman Center involves 51 investigators from 24 University of Wisconsin-Madison departments in 76 research projects. These projects are organized into three Groups, each with a unifying theme:

The Communication and Cognitive Sciences Group focuses on speech, language, communication, cognitive, and sensory processes in children with disabilities and those who are typically developing;

The Molecular and Genetic Sciences Group focuses on the developing nervous system and the etiology and treatment of developmental disabilities and neurodegenerative disorders;

The Social and Affective Sciences Group focuses on affect and social interaction across the life span in individuals with disabilities and typically developing individuals and their families.