International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Academy - Past Directors' Messages

April 25, 2012. The Academy recently held an event in Prince George in collaboration with University on Northern British Columbia, Canada and other local groups. An article describing the 3-day event can be found at this link.

During 2010 the Academy carried out 13 workshops. Three of these were stand-alone workshops in Holland, Greece and Macedonia while the remaining 10 took place at the regional IASSID conference in Rome, Italy. The content was wide-ranging covering such issues as policy and evaluation, quality of life, lifespan, and behavioural management. A full list may be found through the IASSID website or directly through http://www.iassidacademy. org/ where the reader can get full details of these activities along with the Academy's mission statement. The Academy, over its three years of operation in presenting workshops, has had well over 2000 registrations, a number of people attending several events.

During the year there were additions to the board of the Academy to encourage development in South America and also to facilitate the orientation and training of personnel providing workshops, particularly in LAMIC countries. This development results from a suggestion made by several presenters at orientations for presenters for larger courses. Some of them felt the information covering issues and challenges in preparing and presenting events would be useful in written format. This is currently being undertaken.

Considerable time was involved with issues relating to the independent Academy review, which was required from the outset once an initial developmental period had taken place. This review will be discussed in some detail during 2011.

The Academy now comes to a point where there needs to be discussion relating to its future activities. It is apparent that in LAMIC countries there is a high level of interest in the application of research to practice in a variety of areas, these range across intervention and support over the lifespan for all levels of personnel including parents involved in CBR (Community Based Rehabilitation). In addition in middle-income countries issues of service design and policy are also high on the list but often covering evaluation and intervention for a range of disability and developmental issues. Frequently in low and middle income countries (LAMIC), environmental issues, particularly those of poverty are critical. In Western Europe and other countries whose economic stability is relatively stable the need is for sophisticated approaches to behavioural management and the challenges of multiple diagnoses. Policy and implementation and evaluation are also high on the agenda, while issue of research design and application are increasingly mentioned as important issues. This suggests that Academy and IASSID need to develop different strategies for different geographical and economic areas and may lead to the development of two aspects or wings to Academy functions. This is likely to represent an important development in any discussions taking place as a result of the review.

Regardless of such an outcome it now becomes important, since a number of “platforms" have been developed in various countries, for further and expanded involvement. It is hoped that not only will the Academy develop additional workshops in these areas but is strongly inviting the special interest research groups of IASSID to submit proposals for specific workshops in particular countries. It is the Academy's view that in addition to Academy designed and solicited workshops particular Special Interest Research Groups (SIRGs) may wish to propose specific collaborative ventures between themselves and the Academy. However we also hope that individual SIRG members will continue to make proposals for workshops as we follow up requests and invitations made to presenters in Rome and elsewhere.

In the coming year it is hoped to develop workshops both in the Americas and the Pacific region, as well as in Europe. Several of these are in the preliminary stages of development. As these events take shape information will be posted on our website.

Roy I. Brown, PhD
Director IASSID Academy