NAQ: A Place to Learn, Connect & Share 

Congratulations to our Spotlight Award Winners!


Hannah Eldridge - September 2020 

Laura Mitchell, CEO of Grand Care Systems, nominated Hannah Eldridge.  Hannah is a Change Manager at LADD, Inc. in Cincinnati, OH.  

When LADD started exploring a new and better service model for the disabled, we knew there would be challenges. One of the challenges that is often overlooked is having the right people, with not only the right skills but the right attitude. If you have a real "doer" who believes in the vision, the project will be unstoppable. If you do not have such a person, the project is in jeopardy from the start. Hannah Eldridge is exactly the right person to pioneer these new ways of supporting the developmentally disabled. She embraced the technology on day one and is always asking how each and every piece of it can benefit the people they serve. She is an inspiration, and all people who are subsequently helped by the success of this project have her to thank for it.  When there are technical challenges, and with ambitious projects there are always challenges, most non-technical people fold. They give up and put it on the technologists to figure it out. Not Hannah. She's part of the solution every time. This kind of team player is exactly the kind of person you want to work with.

Amber Carey-Navarrete - August 2020

Dawn Beigel, Executive Assistant with Easterseals Southern California, nominated Amber Carey-Navarrete.  Amber is the Director of Person-Centered Services at Easterseals Southern California.  

Amber supports the entire Adult Day Services program at Easterseals Southern California.  During COVID-19 and distance programming, she and her team developed a "Safer at Home" newsletter that goes out to our ADS Program Directors & Associates twice a week and a newsletter that goes out to our ADS participants and their families twice a week.  The newsletters provide a wide variety of programming resources curated for all different interests, abilities, and environments.  Resources for Associates provide them with fun and interesting ways to connect with their participants, whether the person is tech-savvy or not.  Also provided are opportunities for professional education.  The resources for the Participants and Families are for the individuals to do on their own, with their families.  There have been virtual museum and geographical tours, poetry slams, sing-a-longs, concerts, trivia games, standup comedy, plays, readings, crafts, exercise opportunities resources on voting, nutrition, managing stress, advocating for self and others, games, magic, conversation starters, fashion, body image, visual and performing arts, history, and MORE! 

In addition, Amber created an Empower Hour meeting on Zoom for participants and families on topics that they have requested.  It is a chance to connect with others who might have similar questions or challenges.  Often there are guest speakers with lived experience sharing what they have learned in order to support others.  While attendees are encouraged to ask questions, they may listen or contribute in any way that is comfortable for them.



Melissa Skappel - July 2020

Colleen Haley, Director of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, nominated Melissa.  Melissa is a House Coordinator with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota in Winona, MN.  

Melissa has attracted a loyal staff to the program for which she is the house coordinator, so there is low turnover. The individuals in the group home for which she is the house coordinator are treated sensitively and in a nuanced way. Melissa makes sure staff are maintaining an environment that is most helpful for the individuals they support. Melissa is expert at identifying what does not work well for individuals who have sensory issues.

Melissa handles challenging behaviors of individuals she supports expertly, including behaviors that get pretty extreme physically. She has good instincts and a good rapport with individuals she supports. Melissa regularly helps individuals to de-escalate and to get to a better and safer state, so they are not harming themselves or others. Melissa's staff trust that Melissa will assist them if they are scared or cannot handle providing support on their own.  



NAQ would like to thank Melissa, Amber, and Hannah for their dedication, innovation, and positive attitude.  After all, where would we be without outstanding disability professionals like them?     

Do you know a QIDP or case manager that consistently goes above and beyond – someone who deserves a little extra recognition for a job well done? If so, please nominate them for NAQs Spotlight Award - an honor given each month to an exceptional disability professional.  

Nominate Now!
View Past Spotlight Award Winners



Featured Reading

A New Plan

A New Plan renews the promise of person-centered planning with powerful research-based positive psychology skills and tools. Authors Dykstra & Dykstra build on the foundation of historical contributions to advance their 10 Principles of Person-Centered Planning. They reflect on the reasons people don’t plan and stress the importance of addressing personal outcomes. A New Plan introduces the role of the Champion in the life of a person who has disabilities and includes a new implementation framework, along with the specific action steps needed to enable a person to flourish and live their best life possible.

The authors stress the importance of cultivating a positive organizational culture. The book includes the Organizational Inventory of Person-Centeredness that allows readers and providers to assess their person-centered efforts and find areas to address for continuous improvement.


Purchase Book


Other Recommended Readings

Food for Thought:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover.

Quote by Mark Twain