News & Media

Developmental Disabilities Professional Day Set for July 15

Article originally published at qddp.org.

For the second year in a row, July 15 will be recognized nationally as Developmental Disability Professionals Day. The day was founded by the National Association for Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professionals (NAQ), the leading national association recognizing developmental disability professionals. Aside from QIDPs, these professionals are known as case managers or service coordinators, and may go by other titles, depending on which state in which they work.

Regardless of their formal title, developmental disability professionals assist people with developmental disabilities through facilitating the provision of residential services, creating employment opportunities, serving as behavior analysts, coordinating medical services and much more.

"These professionals are a lot like other workers in the field of human services in that their work often goes unrecognized," said Connie Melvin, director of NAQ. "However, people doing this love what they do. They've found a passion for doing it. It is important to remember that these are incredibly valuable professionals."

Developmental disability professionals stepped up to face challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and to find creative solutions to help the people they support stay engaged and connected, Melvin added.

"Now, more than ever, it is important to recognize everything these folks do," she said. "If you think about what people are sacrificing to keep people safe during the pandemic, it's coming at a price to themselves and their families. NAQ wanted the opportunity to formally recognize the work developmental disability professionals are doing each day."

NAQ encourages people who know, work with or receive support from a developmental disability professional to individually recognize that person on July 15 by writing a thank-you card, recording a video thanking them or sending them a small, meaningful gift. 

NAQ also encourages employers of developmental disability professionals to individually recognize their staff members; have celebrations for them, if possible; and provide them with or send them to training opportunities so that they may grow their skillsets.

"Developmental disability professionals provide services to some of the most vulnerable people in our country," Melvin said. "They do so because they recognize that all people are an inherently valuable and important part of the fabric of our communities. Developmental disability professionals are resilient in times of challenge, uncompromising in the provision of outstanding supports and tenacious advocates for positive change. They have played a critical part in advancing the rights of people with developmental disabilities and deserve recognition for their tireless efforts to this end."

The National Association of Qualified Intellectual Disability Professionals was formed in 1996 by Trinity Services staff to meet the needs of QIDPs. Complex challenges combined with limited resources made it evident that a national organization dedicated to addressing historical, conceptual, methodological and ethical issues was needed. 

Today, NAQ is the go-to organization for QIDPs — providing an avenue for connecting with other professionals, sharing evidence-based best practices, and serving as a resource for learning and continued education. 

For more information about Developmental Disability Professionals Day and NAQ, visit www.qddp.org.

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