What's New

An Update on COVID 19 and DD Awareness Month

Dear OCDD Supporters,

Developmental Disability Awareness Month is a great reminder that our communities are strongest when the contributions of each person are valued. Every March, we highlight these contributions and the many ways Oregonians with and without disabilities live and work side by side across Oregon.

Given reports about COVID19, and related guidance, we have decided not to hold this year’s photo rally or to host in-person events for the time being. We ask people to own our shared responsibilities as people with and without disabilities, to focus our energy on ensuring the safety and health of our fellow Oregonians.

With this same intention, we challenge you to value your role as a member of your community: call and check in with your neighbors or friends, offer a supportive word to anyone feeling anxious, connect online if you can’t connect in person, and consider what you do to stay calm in stressful moments.

Oregonians with and without developmental disabilities form strong, diverse communities that come together, celebrate good times, and get through hard times. We are all #BetterTogether.


Beth Kessler

OCDD Interim Director

Niko's February Blog Post

A New Blog Post from Niko Boskovic

“February 24, 2020: In my own way, it would seem contrary to my best interests to describe all the ways life has defeated me. First there is the uncertainty surrounding my future and how I will manage to take care of myself when my parents are no longer around. I know this worries them, but I am also concerned about who is going to help take care of me. I would naturally consider my sister, but she’s made it abundantly clear that she wants no part of this. I remember overhearing my parents talking about this, and how worried they sounded when the issue of my care came up. Probably they figured that my sister would step up, but with all her animosity and teenage angst, it seems very unlikely. Knowing in my heart that she considers me a burden hurts a great deal, but I would rather know this than be misled or worse, put into some kind of home or center where I have no rights or say in how I spend my time.

Second of all, I am pretty lonely at the moment. I am so glad to have been able to attend regular high school classes and meet some pretty great people, but I also wonder what it would be like to be in class with my people – that is to say, autistics – and taught by autistic staff: sort of like an autistic Gallaudet University or a historical Black college like Howard University. The amount of pride I feel in my identity is strong, so imagine what it would feel like to be surrounded by hundreds of proud autistics and mentored by those who came before us? I can only imagine and fantasize what that would be like. But don’t get my dream confused with self-contained classrooms, as these are so often driven by a deficits model that doesn’t seem to consider that one can be perfectly content never not being disabled. I visited one when I was younger, and the lack of any energy or joy was so depressing that I believe I would have been diagnosed with depression or even PTSD at some point.”

Read More

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Video and Resources

To stay updated and engaged, we have highlighted a few resources for you below:

To:  All ODDS Staff and Stakeholders

From:  Lilia Teninty, Director, Office of Developmental Disabilities Services

The Oregon Health Authority has identified several counties in Oregon with presumptive positive cases of COVID19. COVID19 is spread from person-to-person through droplets in the air and on surfaces that people touch. More information is on OHA’s website.

This situation is unfolding quickly and the risks for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are high. Under regular circumstances, we use meetings, the ODDS website and other avenues to gather input from our partners and stakeholders before issuing transmittals and other policy guidance. Thank you for understanding that our ability to that right now is significantly limited.

In order to protect the health and safety of the people we serve, and to provide clear guidance to our case management entities, we have issued a transmittal asking for CDDPs, Brokerages, Children’s Residential Services and Children’s Intensive In-Home Services to submit a list to ODDS of individuals at your CME who may at high-risk. This is to help ensure the safety of potentially vulnerable individuals.

ODDS is requesting this information to ensure that we know who may be at high-risk for COVID19 statewide. This information will be used to coordinate with individuals, families, CDDPs/Brokerages, providers and appropriate local Public Health entities. ODDS is available to provide technical assistance, as needed.

The Assessment Spreadsheet can also be found at: https://www.oregon.gov/DHS/SENIORS-DISABILITIES/DD/Pages/ODDS-COVID19-Information.aspx under “Case Managers.”

We have also issued transmittals requiring emergency plans for all our provider types, including adult and children’s foster care, 24-hour residential, supported living, employment, and community living/day support activity providers.

Other important information and guidance released this week includes:

  • Information from the Oregon Health Authority on new presumptive positive cases of COVID19.
  • Information from the Oregon Health Authority on infection control guidance for in-home workers.
  • New fact sheet from the Oregon Home Care Commission for Personal Support Workers and Home Care Workers.
  • New guidance from the Aging and People with Disabilities program on limiting exposure to COVID19 for implementation in all nursing facilities.
  • ODDS created a web page with COVID19 guidance and information for case managers, providers and the general public.

We appreciate your hard work. I know we all have the health and safety of the people we support, as well as our coworkers, friends, and loved ones, top of mind. Thank you for your diligence and for prioritizing this important work.

Developmental Disability Awareness Month Updates

Join OCDD in Celebrating Developmental Disability Awareness Month

It’s Week 3 of DD Awareness Month, and although COVID-19 continues to be foremost on the minds of most here in the U.S., we’re grateful that so many of you continue to share stories, art, and other posts that raise awareness of people with I/DD.

We’re also grateful for those who have used DDAM as a context or reason to share coronavirus resources. If it makes sense for you to do this with your organization, please go ahead and share away. We’ve included some credible resources in the DDAM resource guide if you need ideas.

It is extremely important to counteract the narrative that the virus’s danger is overblown. This narrative often leaves out those who are indeed at a higher risk from this virus, which includes many people with DD. The type of person-focused stories that are often shared during DDAM can help everyone become better able to view people with I/DD as individuals and not just a group or demographic.

So… keep it up! The power–and responsibility–to counteract this narrative lies with all of us. And please remember to reach out to those in your network who are at higher risk for serious illness (with or without I/DD). Many of them are still trying to figure out how to deal with the anxiety, worry, or fear that come hand-in-hand with this pandemic.


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.

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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