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Call for Awards

The nomination process for the 2022 awardees is now closed. 

Award Guidelines

The purpose of AAIDD's annual awards is to recognize those who have made significant contributions that have influenced positive change in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities over an extended period of time. 
The following general guidelines apply to all AAIDD awards:

1. Membership in AAIDD is not a prerequisite for an award.
2. A candidate may not nominate himself or herself.
3. Recipients may receive an award in only one category in any given year.
4. Decisions of the Awards and Fellowship Committee will prevail.
5. Activities of recipients must have a national or international impact.
6. No posthumous awards will be given except for a person who died within the current year.
7. No national AAIDD board member is eligible for an award during his or her term of office.
8. Individuals may not be considered if they have received an award within the last five (5) years.  
(Download list of past awardees).

Required Documentation

The following nomination guidelines apply to all AAIDD awards, refer to the document below to for a complete list of award types with additional requirements.  Incomplete nominations will not considered by the Awards and Fellowship Committee.

All nominations must include the following documentation, in English:

1. Nominator’s name, affiliation, title, address, phone number, and email. (this information should be entered into the nominations form)
2. Nominee’s name (or contact person for a nominated organization or program), affiliation, title, address, phone number, and email.
3. A narrative, not to exceed 500 words, in support of the nomination, addressing the following areas:
   a. Significance of contributions.
   b. Quality and impact of contributions.
   c. Years (duration) of significant effort.
   d. Geographic range of contributions (must be national or  international)
4. Resume or vita of nominee.
5. One (1) letter of support* from a person familiar with the nominee's achievements.
*Please note the letter of support cannot be written by the same person writing the narrative.  The narrative is written by the nominator.

 Awards Timeline 

September 13 - Call for Award Nominations is open
October 27 - Deadline for submitting nominations
November /December- Committee reviews all nominations and make their selections

January - All nominees are contacted and notify of the status of their nomination
January - Recipients are announced on our website/social media
June 15  - Awardees are recognized during our Annual Meeting in Jacksonville, FL

Please direct any questions to Maria Alfaro.

Evaluation Guidelines


The process of evaluating nominations is:

Step 1: Determination of eligibility for consideration.

  • Does the nomination satisfy the overall and award-specific guidelines for eligibility? Yes/No
  • Is the nomination complete?  Yes/No

 Step 2: Determination of merit.

If a candidate is deemed eligible through Step 1, the merit of his or her nomination should be evaluated with respect to the following categories through the narrative, letter of reference, resume/vita, and any additional required supporting documentation.

Step 3: Selection.

A score of at least 80 is required for further consideration. The committee’s deliberation must result in a slate of award winners. Not all awards will be made in all years. Barring truly extraordinary circumstances, no more than one (1) award shall be made per award category in any year.




Significance of contribution
Not significant (0)
Minor significance (10)
Significant (15)
Very significant(20)
Essential (30)


Quality and thoroughness of contributions
Normal effort (1)
Above normal effort (5)
Skilled effort (10)
Excellent in every way (20


Duration of significant effort
3 to 4 years (4)
5 to 7 years (8)
7 to 9 years (12)
10 or more years (14-20)


Geographic range of contribution
Local (2)
State (4)
National (20)
North American Continent (25)
International (30)





The following definitions apply:

  • Service to the field means contributing to service improvement for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Leadership means performance that has guided or directed others in improving the quality of programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Policy means contributions in public and social policy directed toward improving the quality of programs and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
  • Scholarship means performance that reflects a systematic application of scientific inquiry techniques to a problem of significance in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.