Name: Mark D. McManus, PhD, MSSW, LCSW, FAAIDD
Location: Akron, OH
Member since: 2014
Employment: MSW Coordinator, School of Social Work and Family Sciences, The University of Akron
Why did you join AAIDD? I was invited to join AAIDD by one of my professors.I was encouraged to network with other students and pursue academic work in the field of developmental disabilities.
Why did you choose the field of intellectual disability? As an undergraduate, I had a class assignment to visit an agency where individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities were just beginning to move from institutions to the community. There I met Carl; a young man who had been institutionalized since he was 3 years old. Everything in the community was so new to him and I got to introduce him to it. He soon was a regular at the A and W Root Beer Stand, ordering his newly discovered treat of a banana split. However, this paradigm shift revealed many in the community were resistant to establish residential options, educational placements, vocational supports, transportation services, human relationships, and health care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. All these areas are fundamental to one’s quality of life. They all had to be developed for/with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to become valued citizens in their communities.
Today, there are many residential options, including home ownership. Educational options now exist in neighborhood schools with full inclusion. Vocational supports enable individuals to hold valued community jobs. Public transportation services and walkable neighborhoods, established through the Americans With Disabilities Act, greatly increased access to the community. Health care is now integrated in our communities. All these new opportunities have led to increased human relationships with family, friends, professionals, and community acquaintances. In the course of my career, these changes have enabled families to care for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities at home and open new opportunities to be more independent as they aged to adulthood. My relationship with Carl continued over the years and I was able to see him gain independence and enjoy life to the fullest in the community. My practice and research motivate me in my teaching. I hope to inspire and encourage students to be strong advocates in order to make the changes that will improve the quality of life for those they support.
AAIDD leadership positions: Co-Chair of the Social Work Special Interest Group with Dr. Lynne Tomasa in 2015; Chair of the Social Work Interest Group from 2016 – 2021.
Join The AAIDD Email List