January 2024
Frank Symons and Amy Hewitt.

Frank Symons and Amy Hewitt.

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) will honor the contributions of researchers from the Institute on Community Integration and the Department of Educational Psychology at AAIDD’s annual meeting in June, the organization announced.

ICI director Amy Hewitt will receive the 2024 Leadership Award, which recognizes courage, dedication, and outstanding contributions to the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Hewitt also directs the Research and Training Center on Community Living, and the Minnesota Leadership in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (MNLEND) program. A nationally recognized leader in the disability field, she became ICI director in 2018 and has also served as president of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities and of AAIDD, among other roles. She has led numerous federal and state research, evaluation, and demonstration projects in the area of community long-term services and supports for individuals with IDD and their families.

Frank Symons, senior associate dean for research and policy in the Department of Educational Psychology in the College of Education and Human Development, will receive the 2024 Research Award for investigations that have contributed significantly to the body of scientific knowledge in the field. Symons is also the Emma Birkmaier Education Leadership Professor, and Distinguished McKnight University Professor.

The purpose of AAIDD's annual awards is to recognize those who have made significant contributions that have influenced positive change in the IDD field over an extended period of time, the organization said in announcing the awards. Founded in 1876, AAIDD is the oldest professional association concerned with IDD.

ICI’s Brian Abery will receive the 2024 Service to the Field Award, recognizing his significant contributions to improved services for individuals with IDD. Abery is co-director of the Global Resource Center for Inclusive Education and the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on HCBS Outcome Measurement.

AAIDD also announced that Renáta Tichá will be recognized as a Fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FAAIDD).

Awardees will be honored at the 148th AAIDD Annual Meeting to be held June 10-12, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky.