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2016 Award Winners

2016 Student Award for Excellence in Knowledge, Support or Empowerment

Bobbi Hutson

2016 Empowerment Award for Excellence in Promotion

of Self-Advocacy

Archer Hadley

2016 Support Award for Excellence in the Provision of Direct Supports

The Patterson Family

2016 Knowledge Award for Excellence in Education or  Research

David Seaton

2016 Helen G. FitzSimmons Leadership Award

Lisa Shelby

2016 President's Award

Esperanza Bryan

Each year the Board of Directors for the AAIDD Texas Chapter recognizes individuals for their dedication and work in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Awards are given in the following categories:


The Student Award for Excellence in Knowledge, Support or Empowerment is awarded to college students who have shown significant potential for making outstanding contributions in the areas of knowledge, support, or empowerment.  Bobbi Hutson graduated in May from Texas State University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Family and Child Development.  She will begin the Master’s program in School Psychology at that same institution in the Fall.   As the daughter of a Special Education teacher in Dripping Springs, Bobbi decided at an early age that working with individuals with disabilities was what she wanted to do.  She volunteered in her mother’s PPCD (Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities) classroom from second grade throughout most of her public school career.  She would read to students, help them write letters and numbers, and various other activities, even during Extended School Years.  In this role, she gained first-hand knowledge and experience of intellectual and developmental disabilities, including the behavioral, emotional, medical and speech difficulties that often accompany these disabilities.  During her undergraduate career, she sought out courses and experiences that solidified her desire to work with this population. She took Introduction to Developmental Disabilities, a course that provided her with a survey of disorders, history, services, policies, and trends in the field.  In one course, she served as a court visitor for Travis County residents with guardians.  The duties of this placement included interviewing guardian, support staff, and wards to ensure that the ward’s needs were being met.  She had a caseload of 15 individuals during the semester that she took the course.  However, she has continued to volunteer more than a year after that course ended in order to gain more experience.  In addition, Bobbi has again volunteered this summer to assist her mother with summer camp activities, and has been hired as an Early Head Start Teacher for Del Valle ISD.  It is for all her positive energy and actions in working toward a professional career in this field that she qualifies for the Student Award for Excellence in Knowledge, Support or Empowerment. The 2016 Student Award for Excellence in Knowledge, Support or Empowerment is awarded to Bobbi Hutson.


The Empowerment Award for Excellence in Promotion of Self-Advocacy iis awarded to self-advocates and/or the professionals who support self-advocates for courage and dedication resulting in outstanding contributions to the self-advocacy movement. Archer Hadley is an enthusiastic 20-year old born with cerebral palsy.  He is an accomplished UT Austin student, Eagle Scout, role model and mentor to others with special needs.  Archer has never shied away from the challenges he faces, but instead endeavors to face them and solve them.  He strives for what he can accomplish next.  Archer is an avid public speaker and an inspiration to all who hear him.  He shares the story of his life willingly including the struggles, successes, adventures and exceptional experiences.  The 2016 Empowerment Award for Excellence in Promotion of Self-Advocacy is awarded to Archer Hadley.  


The Support Award for Excellence in the Provision of Direct Supports is awarded for exceptional work in the delivery or coordination of high quality direct services and supports in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Pattersons (Lorraine & Matt) have 3 biological children, Parker (age 19), Madelaine (age 18), and Sawyer (age 15).  Over the past several years they have adopted 9 additional children, most with various disabilities, including Down Syndrome, Autism, and Intellectual Disability.  One of these adopted children, Christyn, died of a Congenital Heart Defect, but she is still listed as a member of the family.   The other adopted children include Naomi (age 23), Mary (age 18), Lillie (age 15), Ella (age 11), Cooper (age 11), Conner (age 10, Keifer (age 7), and Ruby (age 2).  The children are of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.  Cooper and Conner, for example, were confined to cribs and received little stimulation their first 6 years of life in a Ukrainian orphanage.  Besides being born with Down syndrome they also now exhibit may symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  As another example, Ruby, the latest adoptee, was born in Trinidad of East Indian ancestry.  Perhaps because of having Down Syndrome she was abandoned at the hospital.  The family lives on rural ranch land a few miles from Wimberley.  Play equipment and a swimming pool blend in well with stock ponds, cattle, and horses.  The home is roomy and bustling with activity.  Service providers (Speech, Occupational, and Physical Therapists) come and go regularly.  Lorraine Patterson acknowledges that adopting and providing a real home for these children with disabilities has been a special calling.  She and her husband, Matt, decides a number of years ago that they had the resources to provide such support for often unwanted children.  The 2016 Support Award for Excellence in the Provision of Direct Supports is awarded to The Patterson Family.


The Knowledge Award for Excellence in Education or Research is awarded for significant contributions to the dissemination of knowledge in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities through education and/or research. Since 1986, David Seaton has been President of the Seaton Foundation, which provides education and training programs in LifeLong Living for professionals and organizations working with individuals with cognitive disabilities.  He is the Founder/CEO of Therapeutic Communities, LLC, since 2002, which operates three person-centered, LifeLong Living residential programs in San Marcos and Austin, Texas for adults with cognitive disabilities.  These include LiveOak Living Community, RidgeOak Living Community, and San Marcos Community Living Community.   He has provided internships and part-time employment for numerous Texas State University students for several years.  Some of these students have become his valued employees.  Last year, David approached the Psychology Department at Texas State University  with an incredible idea.  He proposed that a partnership be formed between the Psychology Department and several providers of services to persons with cognitive disabilities.  The goal of this partnership was to prepare students for a career in long term care specializing in cognitive disabilities.  AAIDD Texas Chapter also became a partner in the endeavor that starts this Fall.   Students in the Learning Community for Cognitive Disability Leadership and Innovation will take 3 core courses that cover history, syndromes, models of practice, and policy issues, as well as those with hands on learning and practice in working in the field.  The students will culminate their experience by conducting a research project and presenting it at the AAIDD Texas Chapter convention.  It is because of innovators and leaders such as David Seaton that our field will have the leaders of tomorrow.  The 2016 Knowledge Award for Excellence in Education or Research is awarded to David Seaton.


The Helen G. FitzSimmons Leadership Award is awarded for outstanding leadership in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. This recipient has put her heart into the field of developmental disabilities since she was an undergraduate at Texas A&M.  Working there in direct care for the Brazos Valley center, she found her career path.  Later, she moved to Austin where she started working at Patterson House, the first group home opened by what was then Austin Travis County MHMR Center, now Austin Travis County Integral Care.  In addition to her paid duties at the Center, she was a volunteer at Travis State School, helping individuals move to the community.  She quickly rose through the ranks to more administrative roles within the Center.  Her organizational skills and abilities were recognized and she became a valuable quality assurance coordinator and contracting manager.  Throughout her career, she has been a member of AAIDD Texas Chapter, serving on the Board in several positions over the years.  Even though she is no longer on the Board, she continues to assist in coordinating consumer stipends for the annual conventions.  She can always be counted on to advocate for the individuals we serve and to ensure ethical practices.  She embodies the qualities of a leader.  The 2016 Helen G. FitzSimmons Leadership Award is awarded to Lisa Shelby.



The President’s Award

is awarded at the discretion of the Chapter’s President and is an award for Excellence in the Promotion of Research, Knowledge, Empowerment, Support, Leadership, and Advocacy in the field of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Esperanza was a special Education teacher for 25 years.  During her career, she would encourage parents to be involved in their child’s education especially in the development of their IEP.  She would ask the parents to take the IEP information home, review it and to be involved in the development process because they were the ones who knew the strengths and weaknesses of their child.  Esperanza knew first hand because she was heavily involved with the development process of her daughter who was receiving IDD services.  Esperanza was not only advocating in the classroom, she would give presentations to individuals just starting their careers in the field of IDD to let them know about her experiences and about expectations.  She was also a special Olympic coach for twenty years. As a parent, she would support her daughter’s dreams and desires.  Esperanza has given a large part of her life to support and advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and is deserving of this award.  The 2016 President’s Award is awarded to Esperanza Bryan.

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