CALL US NOW (202) 506-5813

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities

NACDD is the national association for the 56 Councils on Developmental Disabilities (DD Councils) across the United States and its territories. The DD Councils receive federal funding to support programs that promote self-determination, integration and inclusion for all people in the United States with developmental disabilities.


  • To provide technical assistance to all DD Councils
  • To advocate for the national public policy agenda
  • To advocate for DD Councils’ appropriations in Congress
  • To convene DD Councils for leadership and development training


The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) honors two outstanding self-advocates as national advocacy awardees.  Heidi LiebWilliams of Alaska is the winner of the Betty Williams Champions of Equal Opportunity Award, and Jessica Barrett of Nebraska is the winner of the April Dunn Start Your Journey Award.   

Both awardees will be honored during the NACDD Annual Conference online kickoff Thursday August 6, 2020 at 2pm ET via Zoom.  Awardees will join the 2020 Class of Self-Advocate Leadership Circle. 

Donna Meltzer, Executive Director of NACDD, stated, “NACDD is pleased to honor these great advocates who do so much to create real change in their communities and across the country, helping every individual with intellectual or developmental disabilities to live their best life. I am confident that both recipients will carry on the memory of both extraordinary women and advocates.”   

The Betty Williams, Champions of Equal Opportunity Award recognizes a leader and self-advocate who has a long record of accomplishment of advocacy success.  Named in honor of Betty Williams who received the Champion of Equal Opportunity Award in 2016, and passed in 2018, this award honors the extraordinary work that Betty had done in her career and her life.   

Heidi Lieb-Williams is currently the Vice Chair of the Alaska’ s Governor’s Council for Disabilities and Special Education and also serves as the Chair of the Autism Ad Hoc Committee. She has been a lifelong advocate for individuals with disabilities, especially working to empower other self-advocates with Autism.  Heidi is an artist who owns her own business, she is also an author and was crowned Alaska State Fair Duchess. In addition to being a longstanding advocate and mentor in her community, after being crowned Alaska State Fair Duchess, Heidi worked with State Fair officials to design an entire day dedicated to individuals with disabilities and their families at the state fair 

The April Dunn Start Your Journey Award recognizes an up-and-coming advocate who has been making their mark in the state and is now engaging more on the national scene.  Ms. April Dunn was the NACDD 2019 Start Your Journey awardee.  We sadly lost April in the Spring of 2020 to the COVID-19 pandemic, this award honors her memory and her work.   

Jessica Barret is a promising young self-advocate in the Nebraska disability community. When she was in elementary school, Jessica was diagnosed with ADHD and Organic Brain Disorder. Through her self-advocacy, Jessica joined leadership roles on both the Nebraska Council on Developmental Disabilities and People First of Nebraska’s State Board. People First of Nebraska (PFN) is Nebraska’s only state organization run by and for people with disabilities. When COVID-19 hit Nebraska and the legislature adjourned early, Jessica was able to pivot her advocacy work to provide information to people with disabilities about what the coronavirus was and how to stay healthy.  

NACDD CEO Donna Meltzer on the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

“Together, let’s use the platform of DD Councils to fill gaps, innovate change and end discriminatory practices.”

Press Release

One Vote Now

This National Disability Voter Registration Week, we are so excited to re-launch One Vote Now, our resource website on voting and the Presidential Election. is here to help make sure you can exercise your right to vote because nothing should block your ability to participate in our democracy. Elections should be equally accessible for all Americans—including the disability community. Elections are more fair when they represent all of us. 

Press Release

Census Bureau 2020

Data of people with disabilities being added to the Census Bureau is crucial. The Census Bureau will collect the data to make statistics for America to see how disability is handled in the 50 states and additional territories. The statistics about American citizens will make way for government programs, laws and policies.

With the 2020 election, it is crucial now than ever to be added. The statistics will show where the voices of American citizens lie and how loud they are.

Go on the Civic Engagement page to see all of our resources.

Lost Our Census? Getting an Accurate 2020 Count During the COVID Pandemic.

On Thursday, July 9, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. (ET), The Census Project is cosponsoring a briefing, “Lost Our Census? Getting an Accurate 2020 Count During the COVID Pandemic.” The briefing, which is being sponsored by the Population Association of America, will feature presentations by experts, including Mr. Al Fontenot, Associate Director for Decennial Census, who will update participants on the status of the 2020 Census and how the proposed extended schedule could affect the count of certain populations with specific attention to college students and American Indians–especially those living on rural, remote tribal lands.

RSVP at: [email protected].

COVID-19 Resources

Many people with developmental disabilities are at a higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 (the coronavirus). DD Councils have been playing an important role in helping to share important and timely information from our government health agencies to individuals in their communities.

NACDD strongly recommends that you contact your state or territory DD Council for outbreak information specific to your community.

What is COVID-19? Why is it important? Read this plain-language guide from the Green Mountain Self-Advocates and the Vermont DD Council.

We also have a short list of COVID-19 federal agency resource pages. Most of these pages are being updated daily with new information created directly by government health officials, so we consider these pages to be the most accurate sources of information currently available. Please email [email protected] if you know of more resources that you think should be included.

Guidance for Direct Service Providers, Caregivers, Parents, and People with Developmental and Behavioral Disorders

Guidance for Direct Service Providers

People with Developmental and Behavioral Disorders

Guidance for Group Homes for Individuals with Disabilities

Black Lives Matter.

“NACDD stands with the disability community in demanding justice for Black Americans killed by unjustified use of force by law enforcement,” said Donna Meltzer, CEO, NACDD. “We pledge to continue our work to fight discrimination, hate and racism that disproportionately affects people of color, and in particular people of color with disabilities.”

Statement from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Board of Directors

Protect the IDEA.

NACDD has joined with various disability rights groups to remind Congress and the Department of Education that COVID19 is not a reason to ignore IDEA protections for students! Read the statement here.


NACDD would like to thank our sponsors for their support and partnerships.