Commentary from the field
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.
Proactive Responses to Crisis Situations
Justin Kuehl, PsyD, FAAIDD, Chief Psychologist, Director of Psychology Training, & Director of Professional Training Programs, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, Wisconsin
As colleagues in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), we are keenly aware of the ongoing challenges in providing community-based support and encouraging genuine integration. The continuous struggle to recruit, train, and retain a sufficient workforce of direct support professionals is well documented. As a result, residential providers oftentimes experience difficulties assisting people with complex needs, which contributes to housing instability and frequent moves, and can result in even more problems. To further complicate matters, we remain in the midst of the ongoing pandemic and all of the associated stressors. Now more than ever, there is a need for the expertise of knowledgeable professionals.
Elizabeth Kurfiss Watts
Assistant Administrator for Delta American Healthcare, Inc
Member since 1994
Why did you join AAIDD?
I wanted to learn from the leaders in our field so that I could provide the best support possible to the people that we serve. I have also learned the value of networking and have made some awesome friends through my affiliation with AAIDD and my career in the field of IDD.
Why did you choose the field of intellectual disability?
When I was about 7 years old, our mom took us to the local fair and I saw a lady pushing a person with IDD in a wheelchair and I remember telling my mom that I wanted to work with people like that when I got older. When I was 18, I started my first job in the field of IDD as a lifeguard and even though I have changed agencies and positions, I have experience in large ICF ‘s, community homes, day programs and waiver services.
Recent awards, accolades, appointments, and other honors
Congratulations on the following new NIDILRR grant awards:
In celebration of its 50th anniversary, EP Magazine is honoring 50 Advocate Heroes. Honorees will be profiled across several issues; Isobel Hodge, Sharon Lewis, and Sheryl White-Scott were among those honored in the August 2021 issue.
David Ervin had an article published in the August EP Magazine, Why the Impact of COVID on People with IDD is so Devastating.
Shauna Mulcahy has become the Executive Director and Joanna Pierson has become the Director of Research at The Arc of Frederick County (Maryland).
Jerry Smith will be recognized by NADSP with its 2021 John F. Kennedy Jr. Award for Workforce Advocacy and Leadership on September 13th.
Sue Swenson has joined the Biden/Harris administration for a short-term appointment as a senior advisor in OSERS.
Opportunities to participate in research, projects, policy development, and other collaborations
Guest editors--including Giulia Balboni--accepting submissions to publish in a special issue of Research In Developmental Disabilities Journal on enhancing research practice in developmental disabilities.
Deadline: October 31, 2021
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