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Council News Updates

Recent Updates from the TN Council on Developmental Disabilities

Governor Haslam Proclaims March “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month”


This month, Governor Bill Haslam signed a proclamation designating March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Gov. Haslam and the Tennessee disability community wish to recognize the valuable contributions made by individuals with developmental disabilities who live, work, play, vote, volunteer, worship and build relationships in our local communities.


The proclamation states that “families of people with developmental disabilities deserve our admiration and recognition for their caring commitment and ongoing support that are essential to an independent and productive life”. 


We hope this month that Tennesseans will use Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to learn how they can become involved in working alongside individuals with developmental disabilities to transform their communities into welcoming and supportive places for people of ALL abilities.


Communities are stronger and better for everyone when all citizens are not only accepted but also respected for the contributions they make and their strengths, abilities and gifts.


Photo of Breaking Ground artis issue magazine featuring a collage of photos of young children and infants with down syndrome laughing

Check out our most recent issue of our magazine "Breaking Ground", which features a variety of beautiful visual and written art pieces by and about people with disabilities in Tennessee. This issue was sponsored by the TN Arts Commission.


This special issue includes the following articles:

  • The Pujols Family Art Project
  • A Chattanooga Venue for Non-Traditional Art
  • Art for All 2014
  • Loneliness, Judgment and Hope
  • Talkin' 'Bout Art and Inclusion - about TN Council on DD and TN Arts Commission collaboration to host community conversations about improving arts venues and programs to be more welcoming to patrons with disabilities.


... Plus many beautiful paintings, drawings, photos, poetry and short stories by artists with disabilities.


View or download PDF here / Text-only version



group photo of advocates presenting employment report to Governor Haslam

Expect Employment: Report to the Governor from the Employment First Task Force


On September 16th, Governor Haslam announced the completion of the Employment First Task Force report. The report provides an overview of progress made in expanding integrated and competitive employment for people with disabilities over the past year while outlining a set of goals to pursue over the next year. The task force members include representatives from the Departments of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Human Services/Vocational Rehabilitation, Labor and Workforce Development, Education, Mental Health, TennCare, the Council on Developmental Disabilities, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Disability Law & Advocacy Center, service providers, family members and self advocates, and other disability advocacy groups.



Supporting Families of People with Disabilities: Community of Practice


The TN Council and the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) were selected in 2013 to participate along with 6 other states in a national ‘Community of Practice’ to think, learn and strategize about the next generation of services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

The goal of this 5 year grant and initiative is to build capacity within states to create policies, practices and systems to better assist and support families that include a member with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the lifespan.


The Council and DIDD distribute a monthly e-newsletter highlighting different core values and concepts of the "Supporting Families" framework each month - you can sign up for that e-newsletter here or email to be added to our mailing list. Supporting Families circle graphic


More tools, resources and information related to the Supporting Families project:


You can also stay updated by "liking" the Supporting Families Facebook page, visiting the project's homepage and the Tennessee state page at or contacting the Council at 615-532-5368 or for more information.


Special Report to the Community


View the Council's 2011-2012 Annual Report, which describes the purpose of the Council and the work that it does throughout Tennessee. Click here to view it as a PDF.