Name: Dotty Bell, FAAIDD
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Member since: 1985
Employment: RHA Health Services
Why did you join AAIDD? I was first introduced to AAIDD as a student at the University of Tennessee by one of my professors in the Department of Speech and Language Pathology. He shared the journals with me and introduced me to the mission of the organization. I knew from that point that AAIDD was the professional organization that aligned with my philosophy of services for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. This organization has and continues to lay the groundwork in research and service development across our country, with a focus of cutting-edge initiatives to influence legislation, policy development and innovative service options.
Why did you choose the field of intellectual disability? Growing up, I always knew I wanted to teach; to help people develop to their full potential. When touring colleges, I learned about the great need for educators with a specialty focus. So I entered the speech and language pathology field to promote the development of effective communication skills in children. I graduated at the time of year that school systems were not hiring so I accepted a position with a community provider, serving people with intellectual disabilities. My heart was stolen and I never looked back…I have been blessed with having life-long friendships with so many people with IDD and hopefully have made a difference in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
AAIDD Leadership Positions:
Tennessee Chapter Chairperson
Southeast Region (7) Chairperson
Gerontology Special Interest Group Chairperson