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Leadership in IDD
December 2021


Leadership in IDD        

December 2021


Commentary from the Field

Sarah Hall

Developing a Sense of Belonging in Faith Communities
Sarah Hall, PhD, FAAIDD
Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota

My oldest brother, Charlie, has multiple disabilities. Growing up, he loved to swing, listen to music, hum "Silent Night" year-round, and eat donuts at church. When Charlie was no longer welcome to attend Sunday school because of his differences, we switched to a church where my mom could teach him individually in their supply room. 

Differences can be difficult to understand. That is why I love the collaborative work of the AAIDD Religion and Spirituality Interest Network. The steering committee values diverse voices from a variety of faith traditions and reaches out to learn from them by inviting them to speak and join our group. Last year, we hosted the Black Lives with IDD and Their Faith Communities webinar series and the Including People with IDD in Faith Communities forum. This year, we want to really connect the disability field with faith communities through a webinar series featuring speakers from diverse faith traditions about ways to support belonging in situations where it can be challenging. 

This work highlights the need for a greater connection and collaboration between disability and faith communities to support inclusion. It’s all about belonging – for my brother and anyone with diverse abilities, cultures, and faith traditions.

View the archive of the
Leadership in IDD newsletter here.


Recent awards, accolades, appointments, and other honors

Margaret Giannini, MD,
past AAIDD President (1977–1978), dies at 100

Khalilah Johnson, PhD, honored with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Equity Scholars for Action Award

Philip McCallion, PhD, Professor and Director Temple University School of Social Work, has been inducted as a Fellow by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare 


Opportunities to participate in research, projects, policy development, and other collaborations

Switzer Research Fellowships Program
New funding opportunities from ACL's National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) have been announced for the Switzer Research Fellowships Program

Member Spotlight

 Jennifer Jones photo

Jennifer L. Jones, PhD, FAAIDD
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Science at Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, Oklahoma

Member since 2007

Why did you join AAIDD?

From my very first conference as a graduate student in 2007, I fell in love with the work of the association and the positive, collegial spirit of members. It is my professional home.

Why did you choose the field of intellectual disability?
In 1995, I started my first “real” job as a medical social worker at an institutionalized care facility for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Looking back, I can see how my introduction into the field of intellectual disability via an institution significantly shaped my personal and professional life. My time at the institution highlighted the need for better systems of support for individuals and families as well as meaningful opportunities for community inclusion, two areas that continue to be primary foci of my research. My time there also introduced us to our oldest son, Garrett, who has been my greatest teacher for the past 22 years.

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