National Historic Recognition Project


2019 represents the 20th anniversary of a National Historic Preservation Project that recognized 36 of the most influential people of the 20th Century in our field.  The project culminated with awards, a national ceremony at the AAMR (now AAIDD) annual meeting, and a publication highlighting the contributions of each person/effort recognized.

The period between the 1990s and today have resulted in significant development of community based options; a strengthening of person centered ideals; greater respect for choice and personal rights; and the continued process of deinstitutionalization across the country.  This was accomplished through an array of personal, professional, and organizational efforts that empowered people with I/DD and other disabilities.


We are now at another period of change, moving from “legacy supports” to more personalized individualized supports that actualize choice and self-direction.  We are also experiencing significant retirements of leaders who made important contributions to the field.  As a result, it is a good time to stop again, collect the history of the last 20-25 years, and highlight significant contributions to the field as a collection for historical purposes and research.

Because we live in a technology age, individuals and efforts recognized will be part of a web based booklet, highlighting contributions and who contributed.  Everyone included in the process will receive a Certificate as an Honoree of the 20th Anniversary Historic Preservation Project.  Awardees will also receive a pin designating their inclusion in the process.  Instead of a single award event, we are hopeful that people will be recognized locally and/or in state and regional settings that are closely aligned with their work.


The application for nominations can be found here. The nomination deadline is December 15, 2019. No late submissions will be accepted.

Submit by mail: Ed Matthews, CEO, ADAPT Community Network, 80 Maiden Lane, New York, New York 10038
Submit via email:

For more information, contact:  Peg Gould, ADAPT Community Network, Chair,  or text 917-226-4433

  1. March – June 2019 — engaged national associations in the process
  2. July 31, 2019 — Nomination application and process distributed
  3. Criteria — person made a significant contribution to the field that enhanced personal quality of life options and opportunities; developed creative supports for people with I/DD and other disabilities; engaged in significant advocacy efforts that enhanced options and opportunities for people with disabilities; impacted public policy to affect positive change; pioneered new support options; researched or engaged in academic efforts that resulted in significant gains and insights in the field; was a leader in the areas of self-advocacy and family advocacy
  4. December 15, 2019 — Last day to submit nominations
  5. December 2019 – January 2020 — Nominees selected based on a “rubric;” selection committee utilized
  6. January 31, 2020 — Nominees notified of acceptance
  7. March 31, 2020 — Awards prepared and recognition process begins
  8. June 2020 — Target date for publication of on line recognition booklet