Mom and child on couch

Mission and Purpose

Learn about the NYS CDD and what we do

Mission and Core Values

The mission of the New York State Council on Developmental Disabilities (CDD) is to enhance the lives of New Yorkers with Developmental Disabilities and their families through programs that promote self-advocacy, participation, and inclusion in all facets of community life.


Core Values 
  • We view disability as a natural part of the diverse human experience. 
  • People with developmental disabilities and their family members are decision makers on agency initiatives. 
  • We seek input from people representing diverse perspectives and experiences to strengthen our initiatives. 
  • We promote equity in access to developmental disability services and resources and seek to drive positive change through a range of programs and projects. 


Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) 

CDD is committed to embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles and practices throughout all the work we do, including the grant projects we fund. The CDD is happy to partner with grantees to strengthen DEI practices throughout program implementation. 

State Councils on Developmental Disabilities 

CDD is one of 56 state councils on developmental disabilities in the U.S. and its territories created through the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act). Learn more about state councils on developmental disabilities (PDF, 2 pages, 632KB).


Image produced by ACL about DD act vision

Image by the Administration for Community Living

What is a Developmental Disability?

Federal Definition of Developmental Disability 

In general, the term “developmental disability” means a severe, chronic disability of an individual that: 

  1. is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments; 
  2. is manifested before the individual attains age 22; 
  3. is likely to continue indefinitely; 
  4. results in substantial functional limitations in 3 or more of the following areas of major life activity: 
    1. Self-care. 
    2. Receptive and expressive language. 
    3. Learning. 
    4. Mobility. 
    5. Self-direction. 
    6. Capacity for independent living. 
    7. Economic self-sufficiency; and 
    8. Reflects the individual’s need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic services, individualized supports, or other forms of assistance that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated. 


Types of Developmental Disabilities 

CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities has information on certain disabilities, developmental disorders, and related conditions.

Examples of Developmental Disabilities include:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Language Disorders
  • Learning Disorders
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)


Rights of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the landmark federal legislation that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all aspects of public life. Since the passage of the ADA, governments around the world have sanctioned similar laws that ensure people with disabilities have rights and accessibility to resources that support personal growth, independence, and expanded opportunities.


The DD Act, and by reference, the NYS Humans Rights Law is enforced by the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR).

Developmental Disabilities Network

In every state and territory, programs authorized by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act) empower individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to help shape policies that impact them. Programs authorized by the DD Act and overseen by ACL's Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities include: 


DD Network graphic


Funding Source and Regulation

Funding is allocated annually to the NYS CDD by the federal government to establish authority to distribute funds for grants. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is the source of funding for State Developmental Disabilities Councils.