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About The Council

Our Mission

The mission of the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council is to lead and advocate for systems change in the field of developmental disabilities, leverage collaborations and partnerships toward improved services and supports for Oklahomans with developmental disabilities, and promote positive perceptions and attitudes toward people with developmental disabilities.

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What is DDCO?

The Developmental Disabilities Council Oklahoma (DDCO) was established in 1971 by Executive Order of Governor David Hall in 1973, and reauthorized by every governor since. DDCO is federally authorized by the Developmental Disabilities Act of 2000.  Although an independent agency, DDCO is administratively located within the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, its designated state agency. 

DDCO promotes quality services and programs that enable persons with developmental disabilities to realize increased independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion in the community. Though not a provider of direct services, DDCO has assisted thousands of Oklahomans to live, work, play, learn and worship in their own homes and in their own neighborhoods.   


As part of this mission, DDCO promotes capacity building and advocacy activities through systemic change in the development of consumer- and family-centered comprehensive systems and a coordinated array of services, supports and other assistance programs that are designed to achieve full community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities. As mandated in concert with P.L. 106-402, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act.

What does DDCO do?

Provide information and technical assistance to legislators, policymakers, and state agencies, private organizations, and advocates.

Provide assistance to individuals and  organizations to support individuals with developmental disabilities and family members to participate on advocacy boards and attend conferences.

Participate in work groups, task forces, and coalitions that affect policy making at the state and federal levels.

Fund leadership and advocacy training for advocates and field professionals.

Fund work performed by Council staff or contracts with other entities that: 

  • Identify individuals and their families who may need services or supports,
  • Foster inter-agency collaboration and coordination that results in improved service or support,
  • Reduce or eliminate barriers to services; or redesign systems of support to better meet individual needs,
  • Inform policymakers on the results of its work, policy design, best and promising practices, or other findings that may inform future policy decisions, or 
  • Create model projects or programs that demonstrate new approaches to serving Oklahoman's with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

It is important to know DDCO does NOT provide nor fund direct services.  DDCO will fund grants to provide some types of training or to demonstrate new approaches, but will not fund direct services to people as a primary goal of a project.

What are developmental disabilities?

The term "developmental disability" means a severe, chronic disability of an individual five years of age or older that: 

Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of physical and mental impairments;  

Is manifested before the person attains the age of 22;  

Is likely to continue indefinitely; 

Results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity:

  • self-care; 
  • receptive and expressive language; 
  • learning; 
  • mobility; 
  • self-direction; 
  • capacity for independent living; 
  • economic self-sufficiency; and 

Reflects the individual's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, supports, or other assistance that is of lifelong or extended duration and is individually planned and coordinated; except that, such term, when applied to infants and young children means individuals from birth to age five, inclusive, who have substantial developmental delay or specific congenital or acquired conditions with a high probability of resulting in developmental disabilities if services are not provided. 

This definition is both the federal definition included in the Council's authorizing legislation, as well as the State of Oklahoma definition.  Note that this is a "functional" and not a "categorical" term.