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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.

THE ROLE OF NACDD

  • 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

NACDD Statement on Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure deal is a big deal for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities,” said Erin Prangley, Director of Policy, National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities. “This historic investment in clean energy, clean drinking water, and other measures is a necessary step to mitigate systemic health disparities among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities including the occurrence of secondary conditions caused by exposure to pollutants.”  

Approximately 1 in 6 children in the United States has a developmental disability which includes physical or mental impairments that begin before age 22 and are likely to continue indefinitely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state the specific cause of most developmental disabilities is unknown and may result from an interaction between genetic, environmental, and social factors. While negative health outcomes are associated with exposure to certain pollutants for everyone, this is especially for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are more likely to have pre-existing health conditions and lower incomes making them more susceptible to negative health outcomes due to exposure to pollutants 

“This deal promises a cleaner environment which will lead to better health outcomes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Ms. Prangley. “By reducing exposure to harmful chemicals, air pollution, and other man-made drivers of climate change, we are taking a step in the direction which could lower incidence of intellectual and developmental disabilities and most importantly, provide a safer, cleaner environment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities so they can live their fullest lives in the community.” 

NACDD Mourns the passing of Senators Mike Enzi and Carl Levin

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) is saddened by the passing of two stalwart members of the United States Senate. Both Michigan Senator Carl Levin (Democrat) and Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi (Republican) worked tirelessly to protect people and ensure that all Americans had the best opportunities for a healthy and successful life.  Both were bipartisan leaders who put people first and both had a deep caring for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions.

Senator Enzi, who served from 1997 – 2021 served as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) from 2005-2007. It was in this role that he really stepped forward to ensure that people with disabilities were getting the supports they needed to live a healthy life. Senator Enzi agree to have a Disability Policy Fellow from the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation work in his office who would advise him and his committee on the needs of people with disabilities. This JPK Fellow was Aaron Bishop, who later became Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities (AoD).

Senator Levin, who served from 1979 – 2015 was a great leader of Civil Rights for all people and put most of his efforts into supporting our military and veterans. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Levin brought principle and patriotism to his work, understanding that America’s strength is found not only in our military might, but in our faithfulness to our values. He believed that government can and should play a strong role in supporting people to live their best life, and he was known to hold his congressional colleagues accountable for ensuring that government was doing its job supporting the people of this nation.

We mourn the passing of these two congressional giants and our condolences go out to their friends and families. NACDD hopes that their leadership in congress reminds all that we too must ensure that every voice counts.

NACDD Celebrates the 31st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) is proud to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA, passed and signed into law on July 26, 1990, was our nation’s seminal law that finally said that people with disabilities are equal citizens of our country and therefore deserving of legal protections.

The ADA remains the backbone for much needed societal and attitudinal change toward people with disabilities. President George H.W. Bush, who signed the bill into law, praised the Act as “the world’s first comprehensive declaration of the equality for people with disabilities, and marked it another Independence Day – one that is long overdue.” The ADA has guaranteed access to public venues, employment opportunities, housing options, more accessible roads, curb cuts and transportation. The ADA has redefined the importance of community and living where we choose in order to live our best life.

Sadly, each year we continue to see threats made to the ADA through congressional legislation, and lack of understanding by others who do not know that the ADA means that people are entitled to services and supports to help them navigate and fully access their community. The ADA helped us to think more about universal design – a term that means that when we design sidewalks, buildings, homes, and other parts of our community to be accessible for those with disabilities, we are creating the best communities for all. The “curb-cut effect” means that not only do curb-cuts help those who use wheelchairs, but also parents with baby strollers, people with skateboards, delivery personnel with dollies, and elderly people with canes or walkers. In other words, we all benefit from such universal design and consideration of those with disabilities.

But the ADA is about more than just accessibility to physical spaces. It is about equal opportunities for meaningful employment, the right to participate equally in civic responsibilities such as voting for our elected officials, and the right to live where we choose and with whom we choose. Over the last few years, we have experienced significant threats to many of these rights codified in law 31 years ago. The right to vote is under threat in the United States – especially for people with disabilities. NACDD’s web-based voting resource www.onevotenow.org serves as a resource to help people with disabilities know their rights, important information about how to register to vote and important deadlines in their state or territory. OVN is here to help make sure that everyone can exercise their right to vote and that all elections are accessible.

Additionally, the ADA reminds us that we have the right to be healthy and live safely. This includes the right to a COVID-19 vaccine administered in a culturally competent and accessible setting. NACDD’s webpage www.getoutthevaccine.org includes resources and information to help people with disabilities get the vaccine wherever they are and NACDD is proud to partner with its 56 State and Territorial DD Councils to ensure that all who want the vaccine are able to get it.

“On this 31st Anniversary, I am reminded that these rights have not been with us all that long,” said Donna Meltzer, CEO of NACDD, “we have seen many rights eroded over the years and threats to voting and access to important community services and health care are constantly under attack. On this 31st anniversary let us reflect on this short history of the ADA and re-dedicate ourselves to protecting the ADA and civil rights for all.”

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) Supports the Introduction of the Transition to Competetive and Integrated Employment Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) expressed its strong support for the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act, which provides states, service providers, subminimum wage certificate holders, and other agencies with the resources to help workers with disabilities transition into competitive, integrated employment.

“By introducing TCIE, Representatives Bobby Scott and Cathy McMorris Rodgers have shown extraordinary bipartisan leadership to once and for all end the antiquated and unconscionable practice of paying people with disabilities less than minimum wage,” said Donna Meltzer, CEO, NACDD. “We need TCIE to make sure that workers in sheltered workshops receive the support they deserve to reach their employment goals, attain greater financial security, and be paid the same wages for the same work as their co-workers both with and without disabilities. To do this we must provide support for the providers and states who need to do the hard work transforming their business model so no one is left behind.”  

Since 1938, Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act authorizes employers, after receiving a certificate from the Wage and Hour Division, to pay wages less than the Federal minimum wage to workers who have disabilities. Originally envisioned to give training to people with disabilities to build employable skills, over time it has become a way to segregate people with disabilities and deny them fair wages.  

“Thirty years ago, we passed the Americans with Disabilities Act giving everyone an equal right to the American dream which should have ended this practice of employment discrimination. This 1938 law is inconsistent with current disability law and we must end this practice now,” said Steve Gieber, Executive Director for the Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities. “To end this misguided practice will require additional resources for providers and the states to make sure workers with disabilities have the support they need to transition to the jobs they deserve.”    

Many states have moved to end the practice of paying subminimum wage and funneling workers with disabilities into segregated assembly line work regardless of the workers desires and economic needs. New Hampshire, Maryland, Alaska and Oregon have enacted policies to eliminate this unfair labor practice, and many other states have similar legislation pending.  

“Workers with disabilities want real jobs making real wages alongside their peers without disabilities.,” said Rachel London, Executive Director for the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council. “It is not their choice to be paid less than other workers. This federal legislation will help all states do the right thing and end 14(c) for good.”  

For more information, please contact Erin Prangley at eprangley@nacdd.org or (818)456-6517.  

NACDD Launches #GOTVaccine Campaign Encouraging People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to Get Vaccinated

GetOutTheVaccine.org Provides Resources on COVID-19 Vaccinations

WASHINGTON – Today, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) debuted the Get Out The Vaccine website and called on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), their loved ones, and caregivers to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines. On GetOutTheVaccine.org people with I/DD can find trusted resources and information on finding the COVID-19 vaccine in their area. The pandemic has altered the lives of many and while vaccines offer protection against the virus, people with disabilities may be feeling anxious or unsure about the vaccine and its safety. NACDD is providing the site GetOutTheVaccine.org to help quell the anxieties about the vaccine and provide trusted, reliable, factual information for users.   

Donna Meltzer, CEO of NACDD stated, “we want people with disabilities to get back to living their fullest lives. So many people have been isolated from their friends, families, coworkers and their community because of this pandemic. The way to safely re-enter the community is to ensure you and the people around you are vaccinated. We hope people with disabilities, their families, caregivers, and Direct Support Professionals who work closely with people every day will take the steps necessary to protect themselves and each other from COVID.”

“We want our community to understand the benefits of the vaccine and feel empowered to make the decision to get vaccinated on their own,” continued Meltzer. “The entire process of getting access and information on the vaccine can be overwhelming. People with I/DD are also facing transportation and internet access problems which can keep them from getting an appointment for a vaccine. Councils across the nation are advocating for greater access to the technology and working across communities to solve transportation problems to help get more people to vaccine sites. We hope GetOutTheVaccine.org will give people high-quality information from trusted sources, so they and their families can make the right decisions for themselves.” 

“I am excited that NACDD has launched GetOutTheVaccine.org. I know when I was questioning whether to get the vaccine that finding trusted sources was very important to me and my family,” said Emmanuel Jenkins. “Now, others can use this site to learn about COVID-19 vaccines and find out where they can be vaccinated in their community.”

If you have questions about vaccine safety, we encourage you to visit GetOutTheVaccine.org and watch the NACDD Vaccine Safety Education Webinar on Facebook.

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GOTVaccine is a project of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD). 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. Follow the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at #GOTVaccine. 

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. OneVoteNow.org 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

Sponsors

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