This year marked the 20th Annual Conference of Qualified Developmental Disabilities Professionals held August 4-7th at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. Founded in 1996, The National Association of QDDPs (NAQ) is a discipline-based professional association whose goal is to promote, protect and advance the interests of disability professionals in service, application, research and other means of improving human welfare. Each year, the NAQ sponsors an annual conference that draws more than 350 QDDPs/QIDPs, case managers, program directors, executive directors, medical practitioners and other human service professionals from across the United States.
In attendance at the national conference this past week was Elizabeth Goldman, Quality Assurance Coordinator for Mosaic of Indiana. Elizabeth represented Mosaic when she was a speaker at the NAQ Conference last year in Nashville, Tennessee where she discussed the modern challenges faced by Q’s in the area of deinstitutionalization. Her presentation was so positively received that Elizabeth was contacted by conference organizers again this year and asked to come back as a return presenter at their 2015 conference in New Orleans!
This year’s theme celebrated “Everyday Well-Being” which encouraged attendees to think about how they can establish well-being in their personal lives in order to promote healthy living for people with disabilities. Elizabeth’s presentation was entitled “GOALS: Writing Meaningful Programs to Produce Meaningful Outcomes.” As identified in her session description in the conference booklet, “’Meaningful’ is more than just a human service buzzword. A valuable opportunity exists to promote the everyday well-being of the individuals we support by constructing programs whose integrity of content isn’t weakened by the requirements of regulations.”
The aim of Elizabeth’s session served three main purposes: (1) Examine the civil rights litigation history of developmental disability services and the impact that the Wyatt v. Stickney (1971) federal court ruling had on shaping the design and delivery of contemporary services, (2) Discuss how the contextual paradigm of goal-writing has evolved over the past four decades towards one that is person-directed, and (3) Understand how to format those goals using the SMART goals concept.
Elizabeth comes to Mosaic with an extensive background in programmatic developmental disability services. She started out as a direct support professional and has worked in a multitude of different types of residential settings in several different states. Her graduate study from California Baptist University is in Disability Studies with a concentration in Disability Policy where much of her research-based interests focused on services affecting individuals with dual-diagnoses (an intellectual disability and coexisting psychiatric disability). She is able to share her experiences and expertise in these areas with others at Mosaic as a regular instructor for The Connection: Supervisor Essentials training.
When asked what her favorite part about attending the conference was, Elizabeth replied that “getting to network with professionals who share a common purpose via meaningful dialogues and information sharing” was the highlight of her trip. She further added, “I was even joined at the conference by Mosaic employees from other states! It was a very pleasant surprise to hear that we had representation from different agencies because it really reinforced that idea of One Mosaic. I hope that taking a more vested interest in training opportunities for our Q’s continues to be a trend moving forward as we all continue to work together to deliver quality supports and services.”