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The New Professional: Leadership in Science, Practice, Policy and Advocacy
Submission Deadline: January 18, 2008

The New Professional: Leadership in Science, Practice, Policy and Advocacy is the international conference on state of the art research, policy, advocacy and practice for professionals working with and for people with intellectual disabilities. This leading edge conference will examine professionals' roles in disseminating the latest research findings, expanding best practices and supports, advancing progressive public policies, and advocating for and with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

There will be four special Plenary Sessions followed by several breakout sessions that will address each plenary topic in greater detail and from a variety of perspectives. Practitioners, senior researchers, early career researchers and practitioners, advocates, family members and policy professionals will participate in each of the breakout sessions. We are making a special attempt to reach out to professionals in the early phases of their careers. We invite practitioners, researchers, especially those early in their careers, families, policymakers and advocates, to discuss new ways to move ahead in our communities and the world.

The specific themes that will be addressed in the conference include:
    What are the challenges and opportunities presented by the Human Genome projects?
    What are the latest advances in supporting people? How can we remove roadblocks and build real communities? How can we maintain good physical, spiritual and emotional health?
    How can we meet the increasing challenge of professional recruitment, training, retraining and retention in a person-centered, consumer driven world?
    Our world grows smaller with every passing day and we have learned that disability knows
    no geographic boundaries. What are the issues and challenges being faced our by international colleagues as they strive to support people with disabilities?
Abstract Solicitation:

Abstracts are now being solicited for Interactive Poster Presentations and for Workshops. Submissions should be generally related to one of the conference themes mentioned above.

Interactive Poster Presentations:

Interactive Poster Presentations will offer presenters opportunities to discuss their work with interested conference participants (e.g., research data, support techniques, training procedures, best practices, innovative policy directions, systems advocacy). There will be a dedicated presentation time for these interactive sessions.

Young Professionals & Students:

Poster submissions from early career professionals and students are strongly encouraged. Conference participation by these constituents is important and highly valued by AAIDD members and all conference attendees. This conference will provide a unique opportunity for students and early career professionals to be involved in discussions related to the future of the field and strategies for developing leadership in the areas of science, practice, policy and advocacy.

AAIDD will also be awarding student scholarships to encourage student participation at the conference. To be considered for a scholarship, students must be the first author on a poster submission and indicate in the online submission form that they would like to be considered for the competitive scholarships. A panel of experts will review student submissions and select awardees.

AAIDD will sponsor workshops immediately following the conference, on Friday, May 30, 2008 and they may be either half or full-day sessions. The workshops should address an important issue in a tightly focused manner. Individuals wishing to offer a workshop should follow the same submission guidelines as the Interactive Poster Presentations and they will be forwarded to the workshop coordinator.
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