2018 AUCD Special Recognition Award

Madeleine Will, MA

November 23, 2018

The AUCD Special Recognition Award is presented to an individual, group, or organization outside of the AUCD network, to recognize outstanding contributions toward creating more inclusive communities for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Madeleine Will, MA

Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination (CPSD) Washington, DC

“Madeleine, since the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in the mid-1990s, played a key role in convincing Congress to stop the usual legislative process that was heading towards a very negative reauthorization, and instead to develop and pass IDEA 97, which significantly improved educational opportunities for students with disabilities. Madeleine’s leadership in improving disability policy and services began long before that when her son, Jonathan, was born with Down syndrome. She has led, and continues to lead, successful bipartisan efforts at the local, state and national levels to improve services for children and adults with disabilities. She has the unique ability to bring together diverse stakeholders to create a vision of improved services and systems, and the pragmatic ability to develop strategic plans and carry out specific action steps in collaboration with others to achieve that vision. Madeleine’s leadership in the development and expansion of inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities is particularly important. While at NDSS, she obtained a major grant to establish two model programs in New Jersey and developed and carried out a successful strategic plan that lead to NIDRR research funding, Department of Health and Human Services technical assistance funding, and the HEOA funding for model programs and a national coordinating center. This was done in partnership with AUCD, in collaboration with George Jesien. Madeleine continues this work as a member of the Inclusive Higher Education Committee, co-author of a recently released comprehensive report on the use of IDEA and VR funds for IPSE students, and as a member of the Think College Accreditation Workgroup that is developing model accreditation standards for these programs. She also serves as a member of the National Down Syndrome Congress Policy and Advocacy Advisory Council.”