Who We Are

Who We Are – Easy Read Version

The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council (Council) has been creating change to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities since 1971. We focus on children, family, and adult issues.  The Council is an independent state agency. We are led by people with developmental disabilities and family members of people with developmental disabilities.

Every 5 years the Council develops a State Plan. The Council’s State Plan includes our most important goals and how we will accomplish them. Our work is guided by a federal law called the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act – better known as the DD Act. There is a DD Council in every state and U.S. territory.

The Council’s funding comes from the federal government. We use our funding on the activities outlined in our State Plan. Our work is completed by staff, Council members, and grantees.


People with and without disabilities in Maryland live, learn, work, and play together.


We create change to make it possible for people with developmental disabilities to live the lives they want with the support they need.

How We Create Change

We Lead: we take bold steps to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities. We help lead the way with new ideas.

We Partner: we bring together people with developmental disabilities, their family members, organizations, and others. Together we find solutions to problems and take action to bring about change.

We Advise: we are a trusted advisor to leaders in state government and the state legislature. We work with them to improve laws, policies, programs, and services.

We Advocate: we advocate for people with developmental disabilities to have the same opportunities in life that other members of the community have. We advocate for people to be included and supported so they are successful.

We Inform: we provide information and resources so people with disabilities and their families can understand their rights, increase their independence, and find the services and supports they need.

We Empower: we fund advocacy and leadership training. People with developmental disabilities and their family members learn how to effectively advocate for themselves and others.

We Educate: we help teachers, employers, and other community members understand developmental disabilities. Our goal is for them to welcome and include people with disabilities.

We Find Solutions: we use our funds to develop and test new ideas. We use what we learn to bring about change throughout Maryland.   

We Change Lives

The Council partners with people with developmental disabilities and their families, state agencies, and other organizations to bring about change. Here are some examples:

  • Marylanders with developmental disabilities have become strong advocates and leaders. They serve on boards, testify before the legislature, and lead advocacy groups.
  • Family members of people with developmental disabilities have become effective advocates and leaders. They are improving child care, education, family support, and other services.
  • Laws have passed that opened up many more opportunities for people with disabilities to live where want, have a job, and access services.
  • Families have more child care options where children with and without disabilities are together.
  • People have left institutions and are now living in the community. They have more individualized support and are more independent.
  • More people with developmental disabilities are working. The agencies that support them have made big changes in how they help people find and keep jobs.
  • People with developmental disabilities and their families are receiving the support they need in their homes and communities.
  • Schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods are becoming more welcoming. They are learning to include people with disabilities.

Visit our Publications page to learn more about how the Council is making a difference.