The 2019 Alexander J. Tymchuk Awards Presented at the 2019 TASP International Conference
These awards were handed out at the TASP 2019 Conference in honor of Dr. Tymchuk, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine. Dr. Tymchuk was a pioneer in the field of supporting parents with intellectual disabilities. These awards honored individuals who have demonstrated excellence in their work in supporting parents with intellectual disabilities and other learning difficulties at the 2019 TASP International Conference – Turning the Tide: Improving Outcomes With Inclusive and Interdisciplinary Practices.
The 2019 recipients of the 2019 Alexander J. Tymchuk Awards were:
LEADER for her vision, dedication, advocacy and leadership in the field of supporting parents with intellectual disabilities
EMERGING LEADER for her vision, dedication, advocacy and leadership in the field of supporting parents with intellectual disabilities
CHAMPION for his vision, leadership and guidance to the TASP Board of Directors as they explore the advancement of their Mission
The Carrie Ann Lucas Disability Rights Legal Advocate Award for her vision, dedication, advocacy and leadership in on-going systems change and best practices for parents with disabilities
Below is a brief overview of the accomplishments of each Award Winner.
Dr. Susan Yuan (Susan) – LEADER AWARD
Dr. Yuan is retired Professor Emerita from the University of Vermont – many of those years as a member of Vermont’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Center on Disabilities and Community Inclusion.
Dr. Yuan is the owner of Yuan Associates, LLC. Contracts include external evaluations of Family Support projects in the state of Georgia and the territory of Guam; training for Saipan, South Dakota, Georgia, Oklahoma, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, preparing materials for Open Doors for Multicultural Families, Seattle, consulting and training with Vermont Child Welfare Training Partnership, 2009 to present.
She also serves as a member of the Parenting Assessment Team with Save Haven Associates to do Competency-Based Parenting Assessments for use in court hearings.
Dr. Yuan has 24 Professional Appointments that include:
- Invited Participant, White House Summit on the Rights of Parents with Disabilities, August 2016
- Consultant to US Department of Justice and the Office of Civil Rights, Health and Human Services, helping prepare technical assistance guidance for child welfare agencies around serving parents with intellectual disabilities, 2015
- External Evaluator, VI Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, 2016-present
Susan is current Peer Reviewer for the following Journals:
- Journal of Public Child Welfare
- Child and Youth Services Review
- Rural Special Education Quarterly
Susan has authored and co-authored numerous publications; she is active in several National and International Professional Organizations and lastly Susan serves on many organizations governing bodies for organizations that include the University of Vermont, the state of Vermont and National and International Boards and Committees.
Susan was one of the founders of THE ASSOCIATION FOR SUCCESSFUL PARENTING and served as President for the past three years.
Susan is definitely deserving of the ALEXANDER J TYMCHUK LEADERAwardfor her vision, dedication, advocacy and leadership in the field of supporting parents with intellectual disabilities.
BETSY MISCH – EMERGING LEADER AWARD
Betsy for the past two years has been the Program Manager for The United Arc’s Positive Parenting Program. She oversees the day to day operation of one of the agencies satellite offices in Holyoke MA. She supervises 7 staff and oversee and management’ services for 40 + parents through referrals from 3 different Department of Children and Families offices. Through her hard work referrals have increased allowing the program to be available to more families. Through her work with each of the offices she has increased the awareness of social workers of the needs of families headed by a parent with an intellectual disabilities or other learning difficulties.
Betsy as sister of an individual with I.D. has a strong commitment to all individuals living with a disability be given the opportunity to live their lives to the fullest and not be limited by their diagnoses. Regarding parents, Betsy has been involved in the early TASP conferences and facilitating parenting groups for parents with I.D. She was an integral member of the team for several conferences for professionals and parents held within MA.
Betsy day to day work is fulling the mission of TASP. She oversees in home parent education, supervised visitations, and parent education groups. Her offices is the first within our service area that is receiving funding from The Department of Developmental Disabilities funding an ongoing parenting group.
Betsy has given presentation throughout the state of MA. Presentations have included UMASS/Amherst, New Social Worker Training for Department of Children and Families, The Department of Disability Services and local community programs. She has recently been nominated to The Association for Successful Parenting Board.
Through her work with the DCF offices Betsy works tirelessly on ensuring the families she works with are given a chance to demonstrate their parenting abilities and not be judged on the assumption of incompetence.
Throughout her day to day work and training of her own staff, community staff, workshops across the State, Betsy is a strong voice for parents and their families.
Betsy’s role is changed over the years. She is now in a management role and is known throughout her service area as a strong champion for parents and families. She is emerging as a leader in the state of MA when working with parents with disabilities. She is also part of a committee in MA working with Department of Developmental Disabilities on developing a conference across agencies on how to best support parents.
NICOLE BRISSON (Nikki) – The Carrie Ann Lucas Disability Rights Legal Advocate Award
Nikki has become the recognized “national expert” on parenting assessment for parents with intellectual and other disabilities. She first became interested in the early 2000’s when she requested an assessment for a family she served in her role as case manager with a developmental service agency. She then participated in training with Maurice Feldman and partnered with me in the creation of the Vermont Parenting Assessment Team. She formed her own company, Sagehaven LLC, and the quality and fairness of her assessments has resulted in her leadership in the field, training several others to conduct these assessments. Her work on the Sara Gordon case, resulted in that case extending the application of the ADA further over parenting. She worked with Carla Carter to give input into the 2015 guidance to child welfare agencies from the Office of Civil Rights of Health and Human Services.
Nikki was instrumental in the resolution of the ground-breaking Sara Gordon case in MA, was i was invited and participated in the President’s Summit on the Rights of Parents with Disabilities under President Obama, and this year, 2019, was chosen to be a Fellow of AAIDD in recognition of her service to people with intellectual disabilities and to parents with disabilities.
In addition to her assessment work, Nikki served as Clinical Director of NCSS, her local Developmental Service agency, and provided counseling services for individuals and families. Nikki also has served on the Human Rights Committee for Developmental Services in Vermont, where she upholds the ethical treatment of people with disabilities.
In addition to advancing the field for the protection of rights of parents with disabilities, Nikki has served on the board of directors of TASP, where she chairs the Education Committee. She is chairing the Conference Committee and is largely responsible for the quality of the 2019 conference held in Seattle.
Nicole has also served people with intellectual disabilities who have co-occuring mental health concerns. Her advocacy for their rights is both effective and unending!
AARON BISHOP – CHAMPION
Aaron met with the TASP Board of Directors and stakeholders in the summer of 2017 to facilitate the exploration of how TASP could best serve parents with disabilities.
The TASP Board of Directors once again come together for a one-day retreat before the 2019 TASP International Conference and Aaron graciously agreed to facilitate this TASP Futures Action Planning Day.
We are very pleased that we have Aaron’s experience, skills and knowledge to lead us in this important endeavor.
Aaron’s professional experience includes:
- Association of University Centers on Developmental Disabilities.
- Executive Director of the National Council on Disabilities — Aaron was the Executive Director of the National Council on Disabilities when the ground-breaking report ROCKING THE CRADLE; ENSURING THE RIGHTS OF PARENTS WITH DISABILITIES AND THEIR CHILDREN was written and submitted to the President and Congress (2012)
- Commissioner — Administration on Disabilities within the Administration for Community Living (ACL) at the U.S. DHHS
Currently, Aaron is Associate Executive Director, Public Interest Government Relations at American Psychological Association
Aaron is certainly TASP CHAMPION for his vision, leadership and guidance to the TASP Board of Directors as they explore the advancement of their Mission.
THANK YOU AARON!