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September, 2021
Convention Report

Cheryl Petty, AAIDD Texas Chapter President Elect and Convention Committee Chair

We did it!


After missing our 45th Anniversary, we were pleased to have a live, in-person convention this year!  I want to thank all those who attended, presented, sponsored, exhibited, and volunteered at the convention this year.  It is always a pleasure to visit Corpus Christi and this year was no exception!  The view of the water and the bay from the Omni Hotel is always special. We had a total of 208 in attendance for the convention.

We were pleased to have had a welcome video from Maggie Nygren, CEO of National AAIDD, who gave a brief overview of national developments and thanked the AAIDD Texas Chapter Board members and Committee members for all of their hard work. Toye Babb, AAIDD Board Member-at-Large and Director of Local IDD Authority Services from Spindletop Center in Beaumont introduced our keynote speaker.  We were fortunate to have a nationally recognized speaker with over 20 years’ experience in serving persons with IDD, Dr. Craig Escudé.  He gave examples from his personal experiences working in the IDD field and delivered his address with an interesting PowerPoint presentation depicting his journey working with persons with IDD. In addition, Dr. Escudé also presented a Plenary Session about Clinical Perils in IDD Healthcare.

There were many breakout sessions that offered a wide variety of current topics for attendees. Some topics that were covered included healthcare for people with IDD, services for COVID-19 Pandemic, issues with aging, dimension and persons with IDD, and music therapy.  At the closing session on Friday morning, a panel of state leaders discussed current legislative issues and upcoming changes for service providers in the IDD system.

The Exhibit Hall was a busy place to meet and greet sponsors, exhibitors, and other convention attendees. Not only were refreshments available, but door prizes were announced. The silent auction remained a popular place to pick up a gift for yourself or others. This year was no exception.  We were pleased to have 9 exhibitors and 14 sponsors. The Award’s Luncheon was very special this year, 13 Past-Presidents attended and were recognized for their contributions working for people with IDD and AAIDD Texas Chapter. The following people were recognized for their contributions to the IDD field in the following areas:


President’s Award – Lupita Alfaro, Mexia SSLC  and Pat Holder, Texas Chapter AAIDD Convention Manager


Helen G. FitzSimmons Leadership Award – Ellis "Pat" Craig, Texas Chapter Convention Committee Member and Jacob Ulczynski, San Antonio


Knowledge Award for Excellence in Education or Research – Laura Stough, Ph.D., Texas A& M University


Support Award for Excellence in the Provision of Direct Supports – Nicole Dawkins, Director of Live Oak Ranch


Empowerment Award for Excellence in Promotion of Self-Advocacy – Ashley Cupples, AAIDD Texas Chapter Board


Student Award for Excellence in Knowledge, Support or Empowerment - Shraya Pandey, Texas State University


Finally, I want to thank the AAIDD Texas Chapter Board of Directors and the Convention Committee for making our 45th+ convention such a success!  The convention could not happen without the hard work and dedication of all these people who are listed below.  Our organization would not function well without the planning and direction provided by our wonderful Convention Manager, Pat Holder, who is a key component to having a successful convention each year.  We also could not be successful without the organizations and people who continue to support AAIDD Texas Chapter by being sponsors, exhibitors, contributors, and attendees. Thank you all so much!


Be sure to visit our Convention Recap page for complete coverage, including a list of sponsors, award winners and a photo gallery. Planning for next year’s convention is in progress, stay tuned!

45th AAIDD Texas Chapter Convention Committee

Cheryl Petty
AAIDD Texas Chapter President-Elect and Convention Committee Chair

Program, Silent Auction, Awards/Nominations
Integral Care


Toye Babb

Silent Auction, Program

Spindletop Center

Connie Cisneros

Local Arrangements, Silent Auction

Tropical Texas Behavioral Health


Pat Craig, Ph.D.

Program, Past Presidents Project


Ashley Cupples (John Harper)

Silent Auction

Lawrence Davis
Integral Care

Kevin Kern

Silent Auction

Center for Pursuit

Charlotte Kimmel, Ph.D.
Local Arrangements, Program, Awards/Nominations, 

Past Presidents Project

Rachel Medina

Silent Auction, Program

LiveOak Living Community


Ollie, Seay, Ph.D.
Program, Awards/Nominations, Stipends
Texas State University 

Robert Steronko


Dion White
Exhibitors/Sponsors, Program
Center for Life Resources 

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