QualityMall.org, a showcase of promising
practices and innovations that promote quality of life for persons with
intellectual/developmental disabilities, was developed by the Research
and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesotas
Institute on Community Integration (RTC/ICI),
the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities
Services (NASDDDS), and Human Services Research
Institute (HSRI). It receives its primary funding through a grant
from the federal Administration on Developmental Disabilities.
Purpose of QualityMall.org
The primary purpose of QualityMall.org
is to collect and disseminate information related to or useful in promoting
quality of life for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities. It is not
a retailer or vendor of products or services, but uses the theme of a
shopping mall to help connect visitors to the best products and services
available. People involved with, experienced with, or simply aware of
such services are invited to visit QualityMall.org, shop the many "stores,"
and make recommendations for new products and services.
How QualityMall.org Works
Stores at QualityMall.org represent broad
topic areas while departments provide more specific descriptions of available
products and services. The Family Place store, for example, is divided
into the departments on Family Support and Respite, Family Advocacy, Whole
Families, Financial and Estate Planning, New Parents, and Parents with Disabilities.
Products represent efforts to enhance
the quality of life for persons with disabilities, and may be exemplary
programs, publications, video and sound recordings, training curriculum,
CD ROMs, or Websites. Product pages contain detailed descriptions, contact
information, and web links. Managers at both the store and department
levels national experts in their areas ensure the best and
most comprehensive array of products is listed and maintained.
Other components of the mall include the
Quality Cinema, where users can view video clips, slide shows, and interactive
presentations; the News Stand, where breaking information regarding quality
in services to people with disabilities will be posted; and The Coffee
Shop, which features bulletin boards and live chats on issues in person-centered
The "mall" is a metaphor with
two meanings. The first is the idea of a single place where you can find
just about anything you are looking for, like the conventional suburban
shopping center. The older meaning of a mall is a public gathering place.
QualityMall.org satisfies both meanings, using the latest technological
innovations to make new ideas and information more visible, accessible,
and understandable, while encouraging full participation from its users.