NAQ: A Place to Learn, Connect & Share 

Congratulations to our Spotlight Award Winners!


Kristen Conard - February 2021

Kristen Conard, Assistant Director and Adult Day at the J, was nominated for the Spotlight Award by Ashley Stockman, Director of Adult Day at the J.

Anyone who knows her, personally or professionally, will undoubtedly agree that Kristen is among the warmest, most sincere, and caring people on this earth. She exudes dedication, compassion, and positivity in every interaction and all that she does. A true team player, Kristen is down-to-earth, genuine, and always readily available to give of her time, talent, and energy to the benefit others. Kristen has an otherworldly sense of awareness and extraordinary ability to anticipate when another person needs an extra show of support and always knows exactly how to fulfill that need. Kristen brings substance to the concept of kindness with her unwavering selflessness. She possesses an abundance of love and compassion and does not hesitate to share these with anyone who crosses her path. If ever there was a person who could be defined as truly kind, it is most certainly Kristen.

Kristen advocates for families to ensure access to necessary resources and services, including coordination and facilitation of medical and speech therapy virtual appointments for onsite participants while attending ADJ. Whether securing a new walker to improve a participant’s posture, spear-heading fundraising efforts or volunteering through ITN to personally transport an older adult to medical appointments, Kristen’s commitment to serving others is unwavering. Within the first week of reopening our ADJ program Kristen recognized that many of the participants with Down Syndrome, despite a multitude of tying options, were struggling with properly fitting masks. Kristen, readily stepped into action to address this resource gap and develop a plan for resolving this very real struggle for our participants. Over the course of a few months and input of a lot of time and talent, Kristen has successfully developed customized face masks that comfortably fit and stay on the faces of nearly all of the participants who needed them. This is but one of countless examples of the subtle, behind the scenes yet tremendously impactful ways that Kristen makes an enormous difference in ADJ, The J and her community.

 NAQ would like to thank Kristen for her advocacy, innovation, and dedication. Her contribution to the field has not gone unnoticed!


image of derek in front of red background wearing gray shirt smiling at camera

Derek Quesada - January 2021 

Ashley Wilcox, Director of Day Services at Active Visions, Inc. nominated Derek Quesada. Derek is the QIDP/Residential Director at Active Visions, Inc.

Derek has been working at Active Visions for over 3 years now. Originally hired on as a DSP, he quickly moved up to QIDP, and now has the role of Residential Director. Derek's motivation and joy for this work is easy to see upon meeting him. Derek brings an extraordinarily positive attitude to work with him every day. Derek brings his gift of performing arts to share with those he serves-- he can often be found singing and dancing with them at their homes or in the car, bringing joy to monotonous activities like going to the doctor. The individuals are always thrilled to see him and spend time with him. Derek takes extra time to get to know them, and finds ways for them to pursue their passions and interests. Derek understands and exceeds in advocating for his clients, so they can live the way they want. He has assisted clients in learning to use online dating apps and facilitated discussions to advocate for a safe "dating" plan. He has helped individuals apply for community employment-- when other supports haven't been effective.

Derek has mastered the endless paperwork that our QIDPs need to complete, but most importantly he has exceeded in building trusting relationships with even the most difficult clients, who may not typically form bonds with staff. Derek is also great at working with parents-- which is another difficult part of the job. He is able to give comfort and reassurance to parents who are new to CILAs and learning to trust an agency with their loved ones. Derek has often been assigned to newly opening CILAs for these reasons, as he has extraordinary skills in helping clients transition and get comfortable in the residential setting.


 NAQ would like to thank Derek for his compassion, leadership, and joy in serving others.  After all, where would we be without outstanding disability professionals like him?     

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



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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.


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Food for Thought:

If we hope to go anywhere or develop ourselves in any way, we can only step from where we are standing. If we don't really know where we are standing... We may only go in circles...

Quote by Jon-Kabat Zinn