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2009 Member Spotlight

Name: Luc Lecavalier Columbus, OH

Member since: 1996   

Work: Clinically, I direct a unit at the Nisonger Center in Ohio and develop behavior plans for children with disabilities. In terms of research, I am interested in the measurement and treatment of behavior problems in children with intellectual disability and/or autism spectrum disorders.

Why AAIDD: I joined AAIDD because it is one of the leading organizations on disabilities in the country. It is a good way to meet colleagues and be aware of what is happening in the field.

Why Intellectual Disability: I find the intellectual disability field fascinating. It bridges biology and behavior in a unique socio-political context.

AAIDD Leadership: First AAIDD Early Career Awardee



Name: Anna J. Esbensen Madison, Wisconsin

Member since: 1998

Work: I am a Research Associate in the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. I conduct research on the lifespan development of individuals with Down syndrome and individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, and am interested in the mental health needs of individuals with intellectual disability. In a clinical capacity, I see patients and families of individuals with Down sydnrome.

Why AAIDD: I first joined as a student member in 1998 on the suggestion of my professor. After experiencing the benefits of membership and the large emphasis placed on encouraging junior members of the association, I continued as a full member. My membership with AAIDD has been invaluable for connecting me with leaders in the field and for keeping me informed about research and policy advances in the field. It has also afforded me several opportunities to have a direct influence on the direction of the Association.

Why Intellectual Disability: Since I was a child, I have always taken great pleasure out of my interactions with individuals with intellectual disability. It was a natural fit to pursue a career benefiting this population.

AAIDD Leadership: Member, Ad Hoc Committee on Students and Young Professionals


Name: Cathy Ficker Terrill, Downers Grove, ILcathy

Member since: 1978

Work: I am the CEO for the Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities, which is a local community agency that supports people.  I help people build social capitol so that they can be successful.

Why AAIDD? Thirty two years ago, a mentor told me that AAIDD is the premier professional organization in the area of disability.  I joined because I was able to use this organization as a forum in advocacy, research, best practices and systems change.

Why intellectual disability? As a student, I was doing project-based research.  I had myself admitted (very short term) to the Independence State Hospital in an attempt to understand institutionalization.  From that experience, I knew I wanted to support people with intellectual disabilities to live their life in the community.

AAIDD Leadership: Past President


Name: Cameron Neece, Los Angeles, CA

Member since: 2007neece

Work: I am a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. My interest is in developmental psychopathology and I focus on the mental health of children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Why AAIDD? I joined AAIDD because it is a large and well-respected organization that is truly committed to promoting the welfare of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in all aspects of functioning. Being a member of AAIDD has helped me network with senior colleagues who have mentored me in my career path. I have also connected with other graduate students who have offered me much support and advice through my graduate program.

Why intellectual disability? I joined the field of intellectual disability because it an area that is intellectually intriguing, has many questions that need to be addressed by research, and offers limitless opportunities to help people in need.

AAIDD Leadership: Co-chair, Ad Hoc Committee on Students and Young Professionals

 


Name: Louise Lord Nelson, IndianapoNelsonphotolis, IN

Member since: 2003

Work: I am the President of RAISE, Inc., a consulting firm which focuses on improving systems that serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Why AAIDD? My advisors, Ann and Rud Turnbull, encouraged my membership.  Their participation in the organization demonstrated to me how individuals can gain from membership in such an organization.

Why intellectual disability? While an undergraduate student at Wittenberg University, I took a required special education course from Dr. Virginia Lucas.  After a classroom observation, she pulled me aside and told me I should focus on teaching children with developmental and intellectual disabilities. My desire to support children and adults with special needs along with my respect for Dr. Lucas’ opinion set me on this trajectory.

AAIDD Leadership: Co-chair, Ad Hoc Committee on Students and Young Professionals


Name: Robert Schalock, CSchalockphotohewalah, WA

Member since: 1972

Work: Consultant

Why AAIDD? I have been a member since 1972. As a young, researcher-implementer AAMR (back then it was AAMR) provided me with opportunities for networking, impacting policies and practices, mentorship, collegiality.

Why intellectual disability? Initially, I got into the field as a researcher interested in brain mechanisms and behavior. Later, I stuck on as a professional who saw the area as one with tremendous growth and personal involvement opportunities.

AAIDD leadership: Past president; Chair, Terminology and Classification Committee; Member, Committee on the Diagnostic Adaptive Behavior Scale; Co-author, Supports Intensity Scale.


Name: Karrie A. Shogren, Austin, TX

Member since: 2001Shogrenphoto

Work: I am an Assistant Professor of Special Education at The University of Texas at Austin.  I teach and do research on self-determination in individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Why AAIDD? I decided to join AAIDD because it is the only professional organization that specifically focuses on intellectual and developmental disabilities.  AAIDD offers me opportunities to network with other professionals in the field, as well as be part of association committees and contribute to the organization and the field. Also, the association provides cutting edge information in its journals and other publications.

Why intellectual disability? I chose to join the field of intellectual disability to promote self-determination and quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities.

Leadership: Board liaison for Ad Hoc Committee on Students and Young Professionals


Name: Marc J. Tassé, Tampa, FL

Member since: 1989Tassephoto

Work: Associate Director, Florida Center for Inclusive Communities, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities; Associate Professor, Department of Child and Family Studies, University of South Florida.

Why AAIDD? I joined AAIDD when I was a graduate student because my advisor told me that I should join the Association and attend its Annual Meeting. Over the years, the AAIDD membership has provided me with the opportunity to exchange information with other researchers and professionals working in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Why intellectual disability?  As Dr. Bob Schalock spoke of several years ago in his AAIDD presidential address and like many others in the field, it was a matter of happenstance. I was looking for some work experience before starting graduate school and there was an opening to work with children with autism and other developmental disabilities. I have been in the field ever since.

AAIDD Leadership: Chair, Diagnostic Adaptive Behavior Scale Development Committee, President, Psychology division; Board Member-at-Large; Co-author, Supports Intensity Scale


Name: Steven F. Warren, Lawrence, KSWarrensphoto

Member since: 1978

Work: I study early communication development and intervention at The Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies

Why AAIDD? AAIDD provides me with an interdisciplinary forum for research and practice.

Why intellectual disability? My early experiences with children made me see them as people and join the field of intellectual disability.

AAIDD Leadership: Past president