February, 2017

Convention Report

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

The AAIDD Texas Chapter Convention Committee has begun 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.  Some preliminary decisions have already been made on the Convention theme (Exploring Possibilities – Creating Opportunities), structure of the sessions (e.g., requests for more classroom style seating), and selection of a keynote speaker.  The Committee has carefully reviewed the evaluations submitted by last year’s attendees in an effort to improve the Convention experience.

The Call for Papers has been distributed, with a deadline of March 3, 2017.  We hope that many of you will submit proposals.  While regulatory issues, effective behavior interventions, and other professional-focused presentations are the most frequently submitted, we also encourage presentations directed at self-advocates and family members. We have actively encouraged the participation of the latter groups with consumer stipends that pay much of the cost of attendance.  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.

We have also focused recently on continuing education credits, including some special Pre-Convention workshops. 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

Texas State University – San Marcos



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