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Experiential Learning:
AAIDD Delegations


AAIDD Delegations


AAIDD routinely offers opportunities for professionals in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities to conduct professional research and exchange in countries outside the US through its Delegations. For each Delegation, delegates participate in a professional and cultural program arranged by AAIDD. Through each Delegation, participants are able to:

World Map
  • research the structure and delivery methods of supports provided for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
  • learn firsthand about the nation's approach through meetings with representatives of health, education, and social service systems, including policy makers, academics, clinicians, and educators; and
  • participate in site visits to schools, clinics, and facility- and community-based services.

Activities and Arrangements

While all Delegations focus on IDD, each Delegation's activities are unique. Some Delegations have participated in international conferences and symposia, others have had in-depth interactions with families and direct service providers. The length of trips vary, but average about 10 days.

Typically, the Delegation opportunity for the year is announced in January, with the Delegation taking place in the fall. The costs associated with the opportunity are the responsibility of each Delegate.

Delegations are offered at cost; each program's fee includes travel, hotel, interpreters, and most meals. AAIDD does not offer scholarships to participate.

Delegation Destinations and Leaders


Delegations led by Margaret Nygren, AAIDD Executive Director:

  • Italy (2023)
  • Spain (2019)
  • Zambia and South Africa (2018)
  • Iceland and Ireland (2017)
  • Australia (2016)
  • Japan and Korea (2015)
  • Poland (2014), with Felicia Wilczenski, UMass Boston
  • Norway (2013)
  • Brazil (2012)
  • Cuba (2011)

Delegations Led by Doreen Croser, former AAIDD Executive Director; Joanna Pierson and Steve Warren, as members of the Board of Directors:

  • India (2010), Joanna Pierson
  • China (2008), Doreen Croser
  • Russia (2007), Doreen Croser & Joanna Pierson
  • South Africa (2005), Doreen Croser 
  • China (2001), Steven Warren
  • China (1996), Doreen Croser
AAIDD's travel partners have included Colibri Travel & Tours, People to People, Academic Travel Abroad, Tumlare, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), and the University of Massachusetts Boston.

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