September, 2017

Convention Report

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

The AAIDD Texas Chapter Convention Committee once again put together an excellent Convention held July 25-28, 2017 in Houston.   The Convention theme (Exploring Possibilities – Creating Opportunities) very appropriately reflected the key role Houston has played in space exploration.  While Convention attendance (194) was down slightly from recent years, the attendees definitely got their money’s worth. 


There were two 3-hour pre-convention sessions, one on ethics and another on issues in aging that provided in-depth information in those essential areas.   The keynote speaker, Dr. Beverly Chiodo from Texas State University, spoke on “What Makes Companies and People Successful.”  Her motivational address, along with songs by the Voices of Harmony from the Harris Center for MH and IDD certainly kicked things off in a rousing fashion.


Once again AAIDD Texas Chapter obtained the sponsorship of the Texas Psychological Association for offering Professional Development credit hours.  Both pre-convention sessions offered such hours, as will 17 other 1-hour presentations throughout the convention.   It was possible to earn 13 hours of PD credit.  These credits are also recognized for Social Workers and LPCs.  Further, Austin Travis Integral Care provided Continuing Education credits for many of the sessions.


Once again, stipends for self-advocates and their family members to attend were offered through a grant from the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities.  The exhibit area was a center of activity, with refreshments, a variety of exhibitors, and silent auction items that had been donated.    Several networking opportunities included food and beverage availability.


Attendee reviews of the quality of the presentations were usually quite high.  The panel of state leaders on the final morning of the Convention again proved stimulating, as well as informative.  A representative of HHSC provided the most current updates on policies, regulatory issues, and funding.  Other representatives from major professional and advocacy groups offered their perceptions on likely developments in the field over the next year.

  
Our Convention will move to Corpus Christi for the next three years in succession.  We have obtained special hotel rates and have found through our history that this site has some of the best attendance.   Many people take advantage of an additional beach vacation.  I hope you will join us there next year!  

42nd Annual Convention Committee

Pat Craig, Ph.D., Chair

Program/Consumer Stipends/Awards/Nominations

ecraig1@austin.rr.com

 

Ashley Butler 

jtharpe61@hotmail.com 

 

Connie Cisneros

Awards/Nominations/Silent Auction

Tropical Texas Behavioral Health

ccisnero@ttbh.org

 

Margo Childs

Chair, Local Arrangements

The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD

margo.childs@mhmraharris.org

 

Jermaine East

Exhibitors/Sponsors

MHMRA of Brazos Valley

jeast@mhmrabv.org

 

Steve Fitzner

Exhibitors/Sponsors

Spindletop Center

sfitz2000@sbcglobal.net

Charlotte Kimmel, Ph.D.

Local Arrangement

cmkimmelphd@att.net

Cheryl Petty

Consumer Stipends/Silent Auction

Integral Care

cheryl.petty@integralcare.org

 

Melissa Rasco

Chair, Silent Auction

CALAB

mrasco@calabinc.com

 

Ollie Seay, Ph.D.

Awards/Nominations

Texas State University

ollieseayphd@austin.rr.com 

 

Lisa Shelby

Consumer Stipends

Integral Care

lisa.shelby@integralcare.org

 

Dion White

Exhibitors/Sponsors

Center for Life Resources

dion@cflr.us

 

Melissa Whitworth

Chair, Exhibitors/Sponsors

Bluebonnet Trails Community Services

melissa.whitworth@bbtails.org