Ellis M. (Pat) Craig, Ph.D.
Former AAIDD Texas Chapter Membership Chair
Membership in the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) offers many benefits for those working in or interested in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Educational opportunities include presentations at the state and national conventions of the latest information in the field. The recent Annual Texas Convention provided a variety of presentations of broad relevance. The Texas chapter has also developed several regional trainings focusing on specific topics (e.g., one recently focused on the impact of Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters on people with IDD, their families, and staff). Additional regional trainings are under development. AAIDD’s professional journals and books contain the latest research, best practice guidelines, and policy developments in the field. National educational web forums and electronic newsletters provide key information on a regular basis.
Networking opportunities include Interest Network Groups for various professional and special interest groups that communicate new information and in which on-line participation is invited. The Interest Networks include Communication Disorders, Creative Arts, Direct Support Professionals, Education, Families, Gerontology, Health and Wellness, International, Leadership & Management in Community Living, Legal Process and Public Policy, Multicultural Concerns & Humanism, Psychology, Religion & Spirituality, Research, Sexual and Social Concerns, Social Work, Student and Early Career Professionals, and Technology. AAIDD membership automatically makes one a member of the Texas chapter. The Student and Early Career Professionals Interest Network Groups offer career and networking links to assist new members to make important contacts. All members can access a Career Center for posting or searching for a job. As a financial benefit, members receive discounts on book store purchases (AAIDD publishes some of the leading books and assessment instruments in the field), webinar courses, and convention registration (including the AAIDD-TX convention and regional trainings).
There are a variety of membership categories. Students receive a 20% discount for any membership category. Students and Direct Support Professionals are eligible for support grants for attending the national AAIDD convention as well. The annual dues for the Basic membership are $85 ($68 with a student discount). This includes access to an electronic version of one of the two journals, the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AJIDD) or Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). All members have access to an electronics-only journal, Inclusion. A Classic membership (electronic access to both journals) is $135. The Standard category, which includes print and electronic copies of the journals, is $185. A Premium category, which includes special gifts of Association books, is $260. A Corporate membership for $600 is also available, with 20% discounts for the memberships of an unlimited number of employees On-line or printable membership registration is available at www.aaidd.org.
Although AAIDD has thousands of members from over 55 countries, our current Texas membership, according to the most recent report, is only 85 now, a slight decline from the last newsletter report of 94. Given that attendance at the annual state convention usually exceeds 200, it is obvious that many attendees are not members. Although AAIDD-TX welcomes all attendees, we are looking for new strategies for attracting people to membership. We are especially focused on younger people working in or students in the field. However, we also need to re-attract the professionals and administrators who have traditionally comprised the bulk of the membership.
Membership in many professional organizations is declining, including AAIDD. There are many reasons for this, including increased competition, lack of agency support, and even the trend of many people accessing information only electronically.
Nevertheless, I hope that you will join the organization and help continue its long tradition. The Texas chapter is always seeking ideas about how to increase the membership. As I am planning a move to another state, this will be my final membership report. The new Membership Chair will be Lawrence Davis at Integral Care in Austin. If you have any ideas or recommendations on membership, please contact him at Lawrence.firstname.lastname@example.org.