DD Act


The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (The DD Act)

The purpose of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (the DD Act) is to assure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of, and have access to, needed community services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion in all facets of community life, through culturally competent programs authorized under the law. These programs include:

  1. State Councils on Developmental Disabilities
  2. Protection and Advocacy systems
  3. University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service
  4. Projects of National Significance

On this page you will find information about the DD Act and the UCEDD program, including a link to the law, principles of the Act and a document entitled "Evolution of the University Affiliated Programs for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities" describing the history of the UCEDD grant programs.



The first university based entities for individuals with developmental disabilities were first authorized in Title 1, Part B of Public Law 88-164. This Act was signed into law on October 31, 1963, by President John F. Kennedy, just 22 days before he was assassinated. The signing of Public Law 88-164, along with Public Law 88-156 signed seven says earlier, represented the initial legislation intended to implement the recommendations of the President's Panel on Mental Retardation.

Prior to signing this act, President Kennedy created the first President's Panel on Mental Retardation. The President's Panel authored a report that was among the most comprehensive, multifaceted, and well researched documents in the disability field. The concept of these university based facilities for people with developmental disabilities came from the recommendations addressed in the Panel's report. The concept of additional support for higher education in the field of disabilities was stimulated by the possibility of federal funds for campus facilities to conduct research and provide training and clinical services.

Below are links to the original pieces of legislation that initiated development of the UCEDD network: