David Mank Interview
"I think it's extremely important that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities be a continued and increasingly strong voice in developmental disability issues of the day. And be in the rooms where decisions get made about funding, services, and issues for people with developmental disabilities." When David Mank was interviewed in 2015, he had been director of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University (IIDC) since 1996. David describes the history of University Centers for Excellence on Disabilities in the U.S. and, more extensively, the history of the IIDC. He focuses on the quarter-century directorship of his predecessor Dr. Henry Schroeder, and on the Institute's work in the areas of special education (with its movement towards integrated and inclusive practices), as well as the areas of supported employment, autism, early childhood, and aging. He talks about the Institute's relationship with its sister organizations (the Indiana Governor's Council for People with Disabilities and Indiana Disability Rights) in promoting self-advocacy and livable communities.
David shares an anecdote about the occasion when vocal attendees at a 2008 national self-advocacy convention in Indianapolis led to the removal of the "R" word from the name of an Indiana commission. Recognized as an expert in the area of employment for people with disabilities, David discusses best practices in transition from high school to adulthood, promoting integrated employment, and the growing opportunities for post-secondary education of individuals with intellectual disabilities. As a former member of the "317 Commission," he recalls its origins during a time when an expose of abusive conditions at New Castle State Developmental Center was broadcast, and the good outcomes that developed out of the commission's report in 1998. David Mank retired as director of the IIDC in 2016.
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