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Leadership in IDD        

March 2022

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Leadership in IDD newsletter here.


Commentary from the Field


Rhonda Black

Focusing on Work-Life Balance

Rhonda Black, EdD, FAAIDD, Professor, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Balancing one’s professional and personal life can be challenging. The internet is teeming with advice on improving your work-life balance. I’ve been feeling acutely aware of how neglecting one’s personal life can adversely affect physical and emotional health. It happens to most of us at one time or another. After working way too much, something will happen that makes us we realize how important it is to spend time with friends, family, and people who care for us. 

In the Cloak of Competence (1971, updated in 1993), Robert Edgerton wrote about the lives of previously institutionalized individuals. He found that in the first few years after leaving the institution, it was vitally important for the former residents to “pass” as nondisabled. At first, finding a job and a place to live was the highest priority. Within a few years, however, relationships became paramount to their well-being. It was relationships, not work, that made for a full life.  When reflecting on this work, I realized that for over 50 years, we, as professionals have known that relationships, close interpersonal and intimate relationships, are critical to quality of life and well-being for people with IDD.  

We all get wrapped up in our work. But at the end of our lives, will we say, I wish I would have spent more time at work and less time with the people I loved? There is nothing wrong with focusing on employment and independent living for individuals with IDD. But are we focusing enough on natural supports, and on facilitating the formation and maintenance of friendships and intimate relationships? As I think about creating a better work-life balance in my own life, my focus turns to how we all need relationships; we all need support. We need to be with people who like being with us and who we like being with. We all need to spend more time with important people in our lives.  As we all take time to create more work-life balance for ourselves, can we also focus on work-life-relationship balance for people with IDD and their families?


Recent awards, accolades, appointments, and other honors

Nicole Jorwic named to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. 

Jennifer Kurth is co-editor of the new TASH journal, Inclusive Practices. The editorial board includes Heather Allcock, Natalie Andzik, Lindsey Athamanah, Jennifer Bumble, Meghan Burke, FAAIDD, Yun-Ching Chung, Karen Douglas, Grace Francis, FAAIDD, Amanda Lynn Miller, Sheida Raley, Zach Rossetti, Sami Toews, Virginia Walker, Kendra Williams-Diehm, FAAIDD, and Alison Zagona.

Laura Lee McIntyre, FAAIDD, named Interim Dean, College of Education, University of Oregon.

Jean Phelps, FAAIDD, honored for Women's History Month


Sheida Raley authored piece on AAIDD in KU Special Education Hawk Hopes Blog.


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

Study Seeks Participants to Validate a New Functional Outcome Measure Young Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Researchers at the University of Florida, including Jessica Kramer, FAAIDD are seeking young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to use a new web-based, self-reported outcome measure to report how they do everyday activities at home, school, work and the community.

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