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It can be challenging to find out where to go for services and help. Here is information on government sources, organizations, books, articles and websites that can be helpful when learning about adults with developmental disabilities and the issues they face. Click on the name of any organization listed here to be taken to its website.

Government Services

Center for Accessibility

The Center for Accessibility helps make the District of Columbia Public Library a leading resource for people with disabilities, for the deaf community and for DC’s multifaceted society of older adults, veterans, and injured servicemen and servicewomen of the United States Armed Forces.


Department on Disability Services (DDS)

The Department on Disability Services is composed of two Administrations that oversee and coordinate services for residents with disabilities through a network of private and non-profit providers: Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) and Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).


Developmental Disabilities Council of DC (DDC of DC)  

The Developmental Disabilities Council of the District of Columbia seeks to strengthen the voice of people with developmental disabilities and their families in DC in support of greater independence, inclusion, empowerment and the pursuit of life as they choose. A more comprehensive list of organizations can be found at this website.

DC Office of Disability Rights

The mission of the DC Office of Disability Rights (ODR) is to ensure that the programs, services, benefits, activities and facilities operated or funded by the District of Columbia are fully accessible to, and useable by people with disabilities. ODR is committed to inclusion, community-based services, and self-determination for people with disabilities. ODR is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the City's obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as other disability rights laws.

Community Organizations

Deaf Reach

Our mission is to maximize the self-sufficiency of Deaf adults needing special services by providing Referral, Education, Advocacy, Counseling, and Housing.


Disability Rights DC

DR-DC is the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) agency within University Legal Services that provides information and referral services and uses legal, administrative and other remedies to resolve problems for individuals with disabilities and groups of clients.


Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities, Inc.

Quality Trust is an independent catalyst for change in the lives of people of all ages with developmental disabilities in the District of Columbia.  QT partners with people and their families so they can succeed, thrive and experience full membership in the communities they choose.


Shared Horizons

Shared Horizons is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to manage Pooled Special Needs Trusts. Their goal is to protect public benefits, provide goods and services, and preserve assets and funds. 


Books on Disability Advocacy/History


Nothing About Us Without Us by James Charlton

The first book in the literature on disability to provide a theoretical overview of disability oppression that shows its similarities to, and differences from, racism, sexism, and colonialism. Charlton's analysis is illuminated by interviews he conducted over a ten-year period with disability rights activists throughout the Third World, Europe, and the United States.

Disability Visibility by Alice Wong

One in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some disabilities are visible, others less apparent—but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Now, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, activist Alice Wong brings together this urgent, galvanizing collection of contemporary essays by disabled people.


No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement by Joseph Shapiro

Presents the experiences of people with disabilities struggling to gain civil rifhts both before and after the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

See also this list from the University of Deleware.  A very comprehensive list of memoirs, books and documentaries on the topic of people with disabilities

Books on Disability and Faith Issues


Disability and the Christian Tradition a Reader, ed. by Brian Brock and John Swinton

For two millennia Christians have thought about what human impairment is and how faith communities and society should respond to people with perceived impairments. However, never before has one volume collected the most significant Christian thinkers' writings on disability. 


The Disabled God : Toward a Liberating Theology by Nancy Eiesland

Draws on themes of the disability-rights movement to identify people with disabilities as members of a socially disadvantaged minority group rather than as individuals who need to adjust. Highlights the hidden history of people with disabilities in church and society. 


The Bible, Disability and the Church by Amos Yong

A theologian whose life experience includes growing up alongside a brother with Down syndrome, Amos Yong in this book rereads and reinterprets biblical texts about human disability, arguing that the way we read biblical texts, not the Bible itself, is what causes us to marginalize persons with disabilities. 


The Bible and Disability by Sarah Melcher et al

The first comprehensive commentary on the Bible from the perspective of disability


News Sources


Disability Scoop

The national developmental disability news site covering autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, intellectual disability and comprehensive take on the issues that matter to the developmental disability community. 


See also this blog post of 90 disability blogs and websites


Invisible Lives by Katherine Boo for the Washington Post

This newspaper story from 1999 looks at what life is live for adults with developmental disabilities after the closing of Forest Haven.  The article won a Pulitzer Prize for the newspaper.

Ableist Language and First Person Resources

Ableist language is language that is offensive to people with disability. It can also refer to language that is derogatory, abusive or negative about disability. ... These terms are strong slurs against people with disability, are very offensive and should never be used.

Common examples of ableist language are words like, “lame,” “dumb,” “retarded,” “blind,” “deaf,” “idiot,” “imbecile,' “nuts,” “psycho,” and “spaz.” These terms can be associated with a person's identity or their challenges, and because of that, can be interpreted as insulting or hurtful.

Rather than defining people primarily by their disability, people-first language conveys respect by emphasizing the fact that people with disabilities are first and foremost just that—people. Employers should use people-first language when communicating about disability issues, whether verbally or in writing.

For Adults Who Are Allies

Avoiding Ableist Language

People First Language

Using First Person Language

There is an important caveat to this.  If a person with a disability expresses a preference that is different from here - defer to that person.  For example, there are many in the deaf community that want to be called deaf.  It is respectful and appropriate to comply.

Be Antiracist podcast.jpg

This initial episode of the Be Antiracist podcast focuses on Black people who also have disabilities.   Well worth a listen. The statistics are frightening. Click on the picture to go to the podcast.

Gurdeep Pandher.jpg

Our April online event was called Let's Dance.  We looked at all kinds of different dancing.  One of the dancers we featured was Gurdeep Pandher who dances Bangra for joy and hope in the Yukon.  Take a look at the whole episode on our past programs page  Click on the picture above to go to a list of lessons Gurdeep put together for folks who might like to try this themselves.

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