CAB member Douglas Russell, Jr. of Worcester with DDS Commissioner Elin Howe and Regional Director, Terry O’Hare.
CAB member Douglas Russell, Jr. of Worcester with DDS Commissioner Elin Howe and Regional Director, Terry O’Hare.

Here are some great opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to have a voice and share their perspective on advisory and policy making boards.

Citizen Advisory Boards (CABs)

Individuals with intellectual disabilities are encouraged to join the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Citizen Advisory Board (CAB) .  The advisory board meets monthly at the local DDS area office.  Citizen Advisory Board members give input on services,  share concerns that  individuals face and provide suggestions for improving services.  Board members also participate in evaluating programs through Family Citizen Monitoring.

As part of the legislative advocacy effort, CAB members also meet with legislators to inform and educate them on important issues. Most importantly, members host recognition events to acknowledge outstanding services.

For additional information about DDS CABs go to Frequently Asked Questions.

Individuals interested in joining a Citizen Advisory Board can obtain a CAB Application or contact Ralph Edwards, the DDS Director of Office of Citizen Leadership, at or call (617) 624-7755.

Additional Resources

Boardsmanship Inclusive and Accessible
This workbook from People First of California Inc. clearly explains the role of board members and preparation for serving on a board.

Get on Board and Make Difference
Effective practices for including people with developmental disabilities as new members on boards and committees is presented in this document.

Facilitation Tips
The Board Resource Center provides this “plain language” check-off list for advocates to ensure they have a voice in public policy.

Facilitation Guide
This Guide is for facilitators offering support to people with developmental disabilities on advisory boards.

The Guide – NASDDDS Handbook on Inclusive Meetings and Presentations
The guide includes resources for conducting accessible meetings, presentations and a checklist for involving people with developmental disabilities.

Not Another Board Meeting, Guide to Building Inclusive Decision-Making Groups
This publication is helpful for support personnel working with people with developmental disabilities interested in being involved in decision making groups.  To order copies call Becky Thrash at (508) 945-9941 or email . You will only be charged for shipping cost.


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