OCDD: Mission and Vision


Our mission is to advance social and policy change so that people with developmental disabilities, their families and communities may live, work, play, and learn together. Our vision is that all communities welcome and value people with disabilities and their families.

Guiding Principles and Beliefs

1. We believe disability is a natural part of the human experience.

2. We believe people with developmental disabilities and their families...

Define their own families and sources of support.

Are successful when they make informed choices and control their lives.

Are most effective when they work together for social and policy change.

Are more likely to succeed when we expect them to succeed.

3. We believe communities...

Are welcoming when everyone is valued.

Are better when members act together.

Thrive when everyone contributes.

4. We believe support service systems are most effective when...

Families are supported to raise children in stable and loving homes.

People are supported to live the lives they want in their communities.

Supports are based on individual strengths, goals and community.

They are accountable to the people they serve.


What's New

Meet Our New Policy Director!

Meet OCDD’s New Policy Director!

OCDD is thrilled to announce that Emilie Wylde Turner will be our next Policy Director, starting full-time May 3. Emilie’s great skill is connecting people so their voices can be heard. With Emilie on the OCDD team, we are confident that Oregon’s policies will be created with the voices of people experiencing developmental disabilities and their families at the table.

Emilie first started her advocacy journey when her son was diagnosed with a developmental disability. After graduating from OCDD’s Partners in Policy Making, Emilie went on to start the Family Network in Southern Oregon. Through this work, she created a web of peer supports and community relationships so families would be supported to be members of their community.

From the family networks, Emilie went on to be the CEO for Living Opportunities, a developmental disability services provider in Southern Oregon. With Emilie in leadership, Living Opportunities was instrumental in employment transformation in Oregon, making it possible for people with developmental disabilities to work in their communities.

Additionally, Emilie has been guiding the work of OCDD as a Council member since 2018. Please join us in welcoming Emilie to the OCDD team!

Check out OCDD's Video on SB 1606!

“At the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, hospitals were not allowing visitors. Because of this, people with disabilities avoided seeking care because they weren’t certain that they could have support people that they trusted with them at the hospital. Because of this, people with disabilities went to the legislature to change the law. They passed Senate Bill 1606,” says Senator Sara Gelser. Learn more about SB 1606 and your rights to have access to healthcare by watching our new video!

Niko's March Blog Post

A New Blog Post from Niko Boskovic

There is so much I want to write about, but I want to be respectful of other people’s wishes and share something that would make someone uncomfortable. So I will revert to a topic that was asked of me a few weeks ago on my Facebook page:

I’m curious about communicating with you. I saw you around Trillium when you and my son went there, and didn’t know anything about you. Then when I was in Aikido, I heard that you had won that contest and won a trip, totally based on something you had written. (Soooooooooo incredibly impressive!!!) Since then I’ve seen you at the river and stuff a few times, and honestly have felt like a jerk for not directly saying hi, but I’ve still not been totally sure if you’d be aware I was talking to you. Clearly you are. I’m just not sure what to say beyond hi I suppose, when I’m not sure if you have a way to respond? Do you always have a letter board with you? Even at the river? Do you ever have conversations with people randomly when you’re out that way?

I love this question for so many reasons! First, I know that my parents tried hard to create relationships in our local neighborhood with providers of services that everyone goes to. So I don’t go to an “autism dentist,” I see a great dentist who happens to have a patient who uses a letterboard and they worked with me like they do with anyone who is nervous about pain. For years, I went to a woman whose English was not great, but she was exceedingly kind and gentle when she cut my hair, and didn’t make a big deal about me wearing headphones when she used the clippers around my ears. I even learned how to sit still while the medical assistant irrigated a year’s worth of ear wax while my mom oo’ed and ah’ed over the quantity. The thing they had in common was kindness. It reminds me of something I used to hear my mom say when she was looking for people to come work with me. She said that she preferred people with no experience in autism because then she wouldn’t have to spend a lot of time trying to get them to unlearn what they thought they knew about autistic people.

Read More

Council Member Spotlight: Meet Lindsay!

Meet Lindsay Stephens!

My name is Lindsay Stephens and I’m from La Grande, Oregon where I was born and raised. I love to craft, listen to audiobooks, take my dog to the dog park and travel. The longest I have traveled was to Norway in 2015!

Why did you want to join the Council?

I have been on the Council for about 5 years. I joined because I wanted to share what I had learned about advocating for myself. I like to listen to other people and understand what their needs are so I can relate to what they are going through, and I can learn something that will maybe help myself too.

Every year, the Council does a campaign for Developmental Disability (DD) Awareness Month. Why did you decide to participate this year and what does it mean to you?

It gives me a chance to tell people about my disability and how they can understand people with disabilities. I participated in the photo rally so that people could see and hear me and understand me.

Who participated in your photo rally this year?

My family members, friends, providers and other members of my community.

What did you learn about your community when asking them to participate in the photo rally?

I am supported. I am not alone and that people care about me.

What does the term Better Together mean to you?

The more we get to know each other better then the more we can see that we are in it together.

OCDD: Live TogetherWork TogetherLearn TogetherBetter Together

OCDD works toward a world where all communities welcome and value people with disabilities and their families.

Our Stories

People with disabilities are at the heart of OCDD’s mission and work. Watch the videos below to see how these talented Oregonians contribute to the communities where we all live, work, and play.


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