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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.


  • 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 Launches #GOTVaccine Campaign Encouraging People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to Get Vaccinated 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 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 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 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 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 and watch the NACDD Vaccine Safety Education Webinar on Facebook.


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. 

NACDD Celebrates Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month 2021

By Donna Meltzer, NACDD CEO


As we mark the halfway point of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) is excited to continue to celebrate the great strides made by so many people with I/DD. Everyone wants and deserves to enjoy life, feel productive and secure. But this month, we take extra steps to raise awareness about the supports and rights of people with disabilities and to celebrate their contributions to our society.


On February 26, 1987, President Ronald Reagan officially declared Proclamation 5613 making March National Disabilities Awareness Month. The proclamation called for people to provide understanding, encouragement, and opportunities to help persons with disabilities to lead productive and fulfilling lives. Hundreds of organizations across the U.S have joined NACDD to highlight the contributions people with I/DD have made in communities around the country and to share their continued support of people with I/DD to move toward change. From all the social media posts we have seen since we started the 2021 DD Awareness campaign, we can see that despite the pandemic, many people with I/DD have continued to work, participated in online school, or join friends and colleagues online to stay connected.

This month so far, we have focused on highlighting people within the I/DD community, shared resources and data on COVID-19 and the vaccine, and celebrated employment and education opportunities. We have spotlighted DD Councils across the U.S and its territories and shared state governors’ proclamations celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

This has been such a challenging year, and we still have a lot of work ahead of us. But during DD Awareness Month, I ask everyone to also take time to recognize what we have accomplished together. NACDD applauds the dedication and advocacy that we see every day across the I/DD community. Despite the pandemic, we continue to advocate for better healthcare, more jobs, and career opportunities, and equal access to education at all levels, and more. Though March will end soon, our advocacy work will continue and people with I/DD will be at the forefront on re-imaging what things will look like after the pandemic ends. We will all continue celebrating our individual and collective achievements and working toward new and improved opportunities in the future to help us all live our best life possible.


Get Involved! Submit your resources to be featured in our #DDAwareness2021 Guide

We want to use this campaign to showcase the excellent work that is being done to celebrate and improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities. If you have resources or materials that you think should be included and shared with this campaign, please send them to us! We will feature the submissions in our resource guide and they will be shared with audiences all across the country. Examples of resources include, but are in no way limited to, videos, toolkits, news articles, photos, personal stories, promising practices, etc.

Resource Guide – DDAM Resource Guide 2021

If you have resources that you would like to submit or would like your artwork to be featured, please send them to Rafael Rolon-Muniz at [email protected]. Unlike past years, we are not recommending or organizing any themed weeks, so please feel free to share any whatever materials whenever and however you want. Just remember to use the hashtag #DDawareness2021.

NACDD celebrates Jewish Disability and Inclusion Month

Each year in February, the Jewish community comes together to focus on JDAIM – Jewish Disability and Inclusion Month. In past years, this month has brought together Jewish people from across the country to Washington D.C. to learn together, share their experiences, needs, and concerns for themselves or loved ones with disabilities. This event happens in Washington, DC because it involves visits to Capitol Hill. This year will need to be different with events taking place virtually. While I will miss being in person with many friends and colleagues this year, being virtual has allowed the Jewish Federation of North American (JFNA), the sponsor of JDAIM to spread out its events and activities across the entire month of February. I enjoyed attending several of the wonderful opportunities to learn more about how Jewish organizations and entities are working toward full inclusion. I also look forward to presenting on NACDD’s advocacy agenda and my personal experiences as an advocate on Monday evening February 22 along with several of my colleagues in the disability community. During the Monday evening presentation, I will also be joined by Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). On a personal level, I have been involved in working to make Jewish institutions including synagogues, camps, youth groups, and other community events, inclusive and accessible for all. I have served as a chair of my synagogue’s inclusion committee, organized speakers for previous JDAIM celebrations, and continue to work across our local region and nationally to help our teen leadership programs be more welcoming and inclusive of all. As we work across our country to address intersectionality and disability, my efforts in the Jewish community have never felt more urgent. With the rise of anti-Semitism in our nation and around the world, I know that I need to do more to speak up against injustice and to work toward the Jewish goal of Tikkun Olam – repairing the world. It is important that we work to make all aspects of our American society more inclusive for Jews of our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities. Yes – Jewish people also come in all colors and backgrounds! I, and the leadership of NACDD are proud to work with JFNA as we come together to harness the collective power of the disability community and work hand in hand to break down barriers that exclude people with disabilities from being included in important aspects of life such as participating in faith communities. I hope you will join me in celebrating Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month and work together with NACDD to bring people of all faiths together to honor our diversity and right to be fully included in aspects of society.

NACDD Releases Paper Examining the Critical Role of State DD Councils During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the lives of Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) on many levels. In every state and territory developmental disability systems including federal agencies, state developmental disability agencies, and an array of non-profit disability membership and advocacy organizations; have pivoted to meet crisis-related needs of people with disabilities in all parts of their lives. Within these systems, state developmental disability councils (DD Councils) are critical to providing innovative solutions that will address emergency threats to health, education, employment, and community living for people with I/DD. NACDD with support from United Healthcare Community and State is pleased to release “Pushing Policy Levers: Examining The Critical Role of State Developmental Disabilities Councils During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Pushing_Policy_Levers_digital_FINAL_0221(1)

NACDD on Black History Month

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) celebrates Black History Month this February. Each year NACDD is proud to take this opportunity to celebrate and highlight the achievements of African Americans and honor the substantial role and impact Black Americans have made in all facets of life and society throughout U.S. history. Black History Month began as Negro History Week in 1926 after historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Woodson chose the second week of February for the commemoration to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and President Abraham Lincoln. The week was expanded to a month in 1970 and was formally recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976. According to the CDC, 1 in 4 African Americans has a disability. During Black History month we honor those Americans who have fought hard to build a path for equity in healthcare, employment opportunities, access to food, housing and childcare. NACDD understands that we are still fighting the same fights today as we did many years ago – the fight to ensure that all Americans, regardless of their skin color, native origins, gender, religion, age, and other differences deserve and must have the same access to basic needs all humans need to live a safe and healthy life. “NACDD pledges to continue working with our partners across the nation to ensure that every person in our country, regardless of their skin color, is treated equitably. “Sadly, the pandemic we are currently living through has brought inequities again to the forefront,” said Donna Meltzer, CEO of NACDD. “We must and will do more to end this injustice.”

NACDD on the Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Kamala Harris

NACDD is proud and honored to join with millions across our nation today as we celebrate the inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr. as president and Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States. We hope that the day will be one of respect and safety as we honor an event that for hundreds of years has given us the opportunity to witness the “changing of the guard” and is representative of our democracy. I have always found the pomp and circumstance of the events and activities of the inauguration thrilling and exciting regardless of the candidate or party they represent. It is a time to publicly watch democracy in action and to take stock of what Americans expect from their government leaders at all levels of service. It is a time when should all be thinking about what we ask of our government leaders to make sure that as people we have equal access to important services and systems such as education, employment, healthcare, housing, and transportation to name a few. Our government provides the backbone of this important work and every four or eight years we, the people of America, get to choose who we want to lead our government. NACDD is proud that over the last year we worked hard to encourage more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to take part in their civic duty to vote. We hope that many more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities will continue to work with their federal, state, and local governments to continue the hard work of ensuring that all systems push forward our goal of ensuring that all people have access to living their best life in the community regardless of race, religion, gender, age, cultural background, ability, or disability. This year, of course, none of us will be in Washington, DC for in-person inaugural events. We will all watch from our homes. Hopefully, we will still be able to feel a sense of community, respect, and excitement as we watch the proceedings. Most of all I hope that as you watch, you will think about what you personally can do to continue to work toward equity for people with I/DD and how we can work collaboratively across the issues that may try to divide us, to continue to build communities that are truly accessible and welcoming to all. Enjoy your Inauguration Day! -Donna Meltzer, NACDD CEO

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


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