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May, 2017

Convention Report

Ellis M. (Pat) Craig, Ph.D.
AAIDD Texas Chapter Convention Committee Chair

The AAIDD Texas Chapter Convention Committee has finished much of its work in planning the 2017 Convention.  This year’s Convention will be held July 25-28 at the Westin Galleria in Houston.  The Convention has been held at this hotel several times in the past.  It offers free parking, ready access to one of the most well-known malls in the state and excellent meeting rooms.  Our Convention Coordinator has negotiated very reasonable room rates.

The Planning Committee includes all the Board members and other involved members of the organization.  The Convention theme (Exploring Possibilities – Creating Opportunities) very appropriately reflects the key role Houston has played in space exploration.  The Committee has attempted to respond to past convention evaluations regarding the convention structure (e.g., requests for more classroom style seating) and presentation topics.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Beverly Chiodo from Texas State University, comes highly recommended.  The theme of her presentation will be “What Makes Companies and People Successful.”  Two 3-hour preconvention sessions, one on ethics and another on issues in aging will provide in-depth information in those essential areas. 

While the deadline for the open Call for Papers has passed, a few remaining slots are being filled with special interest topics (e.g., HHSC staff & self-advocate).  We have again obtained the sponsorship of the Texas Psychological Association for offering Professional Development credit hours.  Both preconvention sessions will offer such hours, as will 17 other 1-hour presentations.  Every break-out session will have at least two alternatives with PD credit.  It will be possible to earn 13 hours of PD credit.  These credits are also recognized for Social Workers and LPCs.  Further, Austin Travis Integral Care will provide Continuing Education credits for many of the sessions.

Once again, stipends for self-advocates and their family members are being offered through a grant from the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities.  This year we are additionally offering interpretation assistance for individuals with limited English skills.

The exhibit area will again be a center of activity, with refreshments, a variety of exhibitors, and silent auction items that have been donated. Several networking opportunities will include food and beverage availability.

The panel of state leaders on the final morning of the Convention should once again prove stimulating, as well as informative.  Two key representatives of HHSC will provide the most current updates on policies, regulatory issues, and funding.  Other representatives from major professional and advocacy groups will offer their perceptions on likely developments in the field over the next year.   

Our Convention regularly receives high marks from the attendees for the quality and timeliness of the presentations. I hope you will join us this year!   

42nd Annual Convention Committee

Pat Craig, Ph.D., Chair

Program/Consumer Stipends/Awards/Nominations


Eva Aguirre 

Local Arrangements

The Center 


Connie Cisneros

Awards/Nominations/Silent Auction

Tropical Texas Behavioral Health


Margo Childs

Chair, Local Arrangements

The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD


Jermaine East


MHMRA of Brazos Valley


Steve Fitzner


Spindletop Center

Charlotte Kimmel, Ph.D.

Local Arrangement

Cheryl Petty

Consumer Stipends/Silent Auction

Austin Travis Country Integral Care


Melissa Rasco

Chair, Silent Auction



Ollie Seay, Ph.D.


Texas State University 


Lisa Shelby

Consumer Stipends

Austin Travis County Integral Care


Dion White


Center for Life Resources


Melissa Whitworth

Chair, Exhibitors/Sponsors

Bluebonnet Trails Community Services 

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