Ruth Luckasson, JD, FAAIDD, Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Special Education, University of New Mexico
I find Michael Fullan’s framework of effective leadership in a culture of change useful in my work. Fullan framed leadership around five essential elements of moral purpose—understanding change, relationship building, knowledge creation and sharing, and coherence making—surrounded by a circle of enthusiasm, hope, and energy – which then generates commitment and leads to more good things and fewer bad things (2001, p. 4). I believe that AAIDD’s recently published 12th edition of Intellectual Disability: Definition, Diagnosis, Classification, and Planning Supports (Schalock, Luckasson, & Tassé, 2021) provides tools that mirror Fullan’s framework and can support effective leadership for each of us in the field of ID, whatever our current role.
The AAIDD manual combines both a conceptual thoroughness and practice guidelines. This manual provides the field of ID and others with a unifying definition of ID, five essential assumptions, and a systematic approach to diagnosis, optional subgroup classification, and planning supports that reflect Fullan’s moral purpose framework: an understanding of change, communication tools for stronger relationship-building, strategies for knowledge creation and sharing, and an integrated coherent whole. Finally, I believe that to have the good fortune to lead in the field of ID and be a member of AAIDD is to be surrounded by enthusiasm, hope, and energy.