Katie Arnold, IL UCEDD, Receives Leadership Award

May 2, 2013


Katie Arnold received the National Leadership Award from The Arc of Illinois on April 24th at their annual convention.  This award is given to a leader that has influenced positive change and whose contributions have significantly impacted the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  For over 10 years, Katie has worked at the Institute on Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois' University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

Her work serves as a bridge between academia and the disability community. In the past year alone, Katie has educated over 1,000 individuals with disabilities, family members, and professionals.  Her work is anchored to her experience growing up with her sister with intellectual disabilities.  Katie has been instrumental in creating the Sibling Leadership Network (SLN), a national nonprofit that provides siblings of people with disabilities the information and support to advocate with their brothers and sisters.  At the state level, she has been a leader of Supporting Illinois Brothers and Sisters (SIBS). 

Tara Conley, the visionary of SIBS, nominated Katie and wrote: "Katie truly immerses herself in the disability community to listen deeply, learn from others and guide her work.  Katie is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of leaders and she shares her leadership knowledge and skills by teaching students at UIC and mentoring young people with and without disabilities. Katie's passion for creating a more empowering environment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live full and meaningful lives makes her a true leader." Tony Paulauski, Executive Director of The Arc of Illinois, said that he has learned a lot about the importance of siblings and Katie has really grown the sibling groups at both the state and national level. 

In accepting the award, Katie stated, "I learned that it is really all about relationships...Growing up, I had no idea that this would become my calling.  All I knew is that I wanted my sister and all people with disabilities to have the same rights and opportunities as I have to create the lives that they want."