Psychology Interest Network


AAIDD promotes progressive policies, sound research, effective practices, and universal human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

As part of AAIDD, the Psychology Interest Network (PIN) promotes wellbeing and quality of life among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through advocacy, research, and identifying and promoting effective behavioral health practices. PIN aims to connect psychologists, researchers, practitioners, educators, and self-advocates in the field to further the wellbeing and quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Research Spotlight

Check out the research project our 2023 AAIDD Psychology Interest Network Scholarship Recipient is working on!

Diana Ugalde

Name, current position, and current place of work:

Diana Ugalde, Ph.D. Student in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, College of Arts Education and Sciences, Florida International University.

What is your research area of interest?

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on various research projects at the moment focused on initiatives promoting competitive integrated employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and the impact family-supportive work initiatives have on families of people with IDD.

When you are not engaging in research, what are some things you like to do for fun/relaxation?

I enjoy crocheting and knitting, going on adventures with family and friends, playing video games, and traveling during my downtime. 

If people are interested in contacting you to learn more about your research, how can they reach out?


Conference Highlights

Attending an upcoming conference? Look out for these posters/presentations from our group members!

Interested in having your project highlighted on the website? Email 

Gatlinburg Conference

Kansas City, MO

April 10-13, 2023

Manisha Udhnani, M.S., our PIN Co-Vice Chair, is a recipient of the Gatlinburg Conference 2023 David Zeaman Student Award. She will be presenting her thesis project, which involved the development and validation of an outcome measure, called the Accommodations and Impacts Scale for Developmental Disabilities, for caregivers of individuals with developmental disabilities on Tuesday, April 11th at 3pm. 

Jenny Mai Phan, Ph.D., our PIN Secretary, is a recipient of the Gatlinburg Conference 2023 Theodore Tjossem Postdoctoral Award.  She will be presenting her collaborative work with the Autism Centers of Excellence GENDAAR Research Consortium on the pubertal effects on executive functioning among autistic and non-autistic youth, on Tuesday, April 11th at 4:30pm. 

Wolf Wolfensberger Valor Award 

The Wolf Wolfensberger Valor Award is presented by the Psychology Interest Network (PIN) of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). The award recognizes a mental health professional who is committed to empowering clinical practice or research that amplifies the inherent dignity of all people. This award may also be used to recognize mental health and/or psychology professionals that have faced significant adversity in their pursuit of justice for all people. Each year, the award will honor a demonstrated commitment against discriminatory and oppressive practices through research, clinical practice or political activism that advances social inclusion for people with developmental disabilities.

The award is named for Wolf Peregrin Joachim Wolfensberger, PhD (1934-2011), a leader in PIN and AAIDD whose research and practical skills influenced the discipline to focus on the fact that life has value. The award is meant to reflect the bravery of Wolfensberger who as a psychologist challenged the field with his innovative work and as a youth overcame a corrupt fascist system by immigrating to the United States.

***Call for Nominations for the Valor Award 2024***

On behalf of the Psychology Interest Network (PIN), we are asking you to consider nominating someone for the annual Wolf Wolfensberger Valor Award.  All nominations are due by Friday, March 1, 2024. Detailed information regarding the intent of the award, which will be presented at the AAIDD Annual Meeting in June 2024, is in the following link where nominations can be submitted:

Wolf Wolfensberger Valor Awardee 2023

Tim Barksdale, Psy.D., LMSW, NADD-CC

Dr. Tim Barksdale is the Senior Executive Director of Clinical Services for Merakey. There he supervises ten Clinical Directors and over fifty behavior professionals for adults with IDD/MH across the five states of PA, DE, NJ, VA & CA . He is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology, Licensed Master Social Worker, and a Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Dr. Barksdale serves on the NADD Board of Directors, He is the co-chair of the NADD- Clinical Certification Committee, on the Board of Governors for Friends Hospital and Board Vice President of Chosen 300 Homeless Outreach.  He is currently the  President-Elect of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association whose presidency starts June  24, 2023.  Dr. Barksdale has worked with Adults with Intellectual disability since he was 16 years old when most still lived in institutions. He developed  Clinical Programs for Adults with IDD for two different agencies, which includes Merakey. He is a devout Christian, and his greatest achievement is being the proud dad of a 19- year- old artist & musician son.

Wolf Wolfensberger Valor Awardees 

Hall of Fame

2022 Cameron Neece, Ph.D.

2020 Karyn Harvey, Ph.D.

2019 Carol Salas, Psy.D.