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About the Council

The Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities is a state agency.  The Council leads initiatives statewide to improve disability policies and practices, educates policymakers and the public about most promising practices in the field of disability services, and facilitates collaboration and coordination across public and private organizations.  

 Our Council members are private citizens from across Tennessee who either have a disability or have a family member with a disability. Also, policymakers from state agencies that oversee Tennessee’s disability programs and experts from university centers in the area of developmental disabilities are members of the Council. We work together to find solutions to persistent problems, test innovative program models, and facilitate improvements to Tennessee’s disability service system.

The Council is established by the federal Developmental Disabilities Act and by Tennessee Executive Order 50. Our focus is broad, covering the lifespan for Tennesseans with intellectual and other types of developmental disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and other conditions that are life-long and require support services.   

Council Executive Director - Role, Work of the Council

What are developmental disabilities?

The Council estimates that over 100,000 Tennesseans have developmental disabilities, based on national data on prevalence rates.

A developmental disability, according to the Developmental Disabilities Act, is defined as a severe, chronic disability which originated at birth or during childhood, is expected to continue indefinitely, and substantially restricts the individual’s functioning in several major life activities. Examples include but are not limited to autism, traumatic brain injury, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and Down syndrome.