To enrich the quality of life for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities by fostering individual growth, creativity, and community involvement through innovative strategies and artistic expression.
A world where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live healthier and enriched lives, and are nurtured by caring and supportive communities that minimize and eliminate barriers.
Everyone deserves compassion, encouragement and respect
Treating people with dignity fosters individual growth and self-advocacy
A healthy and safe environment is critical to well being, social interaction and life long learning
Everyone has a responsibility to contribute to society and be a part of their community
Inclusion, diversity and exchange are keys to the growth of society
Everyone has the right to artistic expression
Developmental Disabilities Service Organization (DDSO) produces programs that champion the creativity and potential within the hearts and minds of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.From two sites in Sacramento and one site in Stockton, DDSO is an award-winning nonprofit that annually provides 400 adults with disabilities the opportunity to experience independence, job training, employment, physical education, visual and performing arts, life skill building, social interaction, active participation in the community, nurturing relationships and more.
Developmental disabilities are a diverse group of severe chronic conditions that are due to mental and/or physical impairments. They include cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, epilepsy and intellectual disabilities. There may be challenges with major life activities such as language, mobility, learning, self-help, and independent living. Developmental disabilities begin anytime during development up to 22 years of age, and last throughout a person’s lifetime.
Today, there is more opportunity than ever to honor and recognize the contributions and independence of people with disabilities. They have diverse ideas and choices to make about where they want to go, how they want to spend their time, and with whom they want to interact. DDSO’s programs strive daily to help individuals achieve their dreams of being gainfully employed doing meaningful work, living in a home where they can make their own life choices, contributing to society through volunteering, and impacting the world through visual and performing arts.
DDSO focuses on the possibilities of what an individual with developmental disabilities can do when given the necessary support. We fight cruelty, isolation and neglect by providing safe and stimulating environments that build confidence, skills and social connection. Four primary strategies of support are used to help participants reach their goals throughout eight programs and four special projects.
Visual & Performing Arts
Painting, music, dance, theatre, literature, poetry, gallery exhibitions and digital media are used as vehicles to help participants create, develop and express themselves.
Daily Living Skills
A patient, caring atmosphere is provided to participants, many with severe and profound developmental disabilities, so they can best develop basic personal and communication skills. Adult Development Centers offer programs and classes about personal finance, household skills, decision making, computer science, language, and self-care.
Paid employment training opportunities and classroom instruction are offered to participants who learn valuable job skills, including how to interview, maintain employment, contribute meaningfully, and communicate with supervisors and peers. Clients referred by the federal employment outreach program, Ticket to Work, are also served.
Inclusion in the community is a strategy widely used throughout all programs at DDSO. Volunteer projects, visits to museums, restaurants, concerts, sporting events, bowling alleys, theaters, and nature centers are some of the opportunities available for people to engage with one another, regardless of ability.
With the generous support of community members and funders, the Developmental Disabilities Service Organization is proud to deliver the following results this year:
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Yvonne began her connection with DDSO when she came to Stockton to complete a six-month Music Therapy Internship at the Alan Short Center (ASC) in Stockton. After a brief stint at Deputy Director for DDSO, Yvonne assumed the role of CEO in 2007.
Jennifer has worked at DDSO since 2005 managing the day to day operations of the company. Before moving into the Operations position Jennifer had the fortunate experience to work in the field with DDSO’s clients as a staff member for the Community Integration Program.
As the Facilities Manager for DDSO–since January 2012–Steven Styles has actively managed all facility-related issues for DDSO campuses and tenant properties. A licensed General Building Contractor, Steven has worked in the facility maintenance and construction industries for over two decades.
Trish was born and raised in San Francisco, CA but left the city for better weather in Sacramento valley. Trish then joined the DDSO team as a Bookkeeper in 2001. Trish loves pets, especially Loki, the dog that came to her door looking for a new home earlier this year!
Mary Ann is a native Californian, lived out of state for many years and returned in 2012 bringing office skills obtained while working for a non-profit in Colorado. Mary Ann joined DDSO as a Program Secretary in 2014, and as part of the administrative team in January of 2017.
Liz started officially working for DDSO as an Assistant Director in the ADC program in 1986, but she first began working with ADC in 1985 as an intern in DDSO/UOP’s internship program where she received her master’s degree in Special Education.
Magi started working with DDSO in 1996 as a Secretary through a temp agency. Magi loves being at ASC for many reasons; but especially because clients motivate her to find ways to serve them better.
Dennis began working in this field back in 1976. He previously worked at DDSO at Short Center, Alan Short Center and Administrative Office. He thinks outside of “The Box” by offering non-traditional employment training opportunities in such areas as Video and Audio Production.
John started working with DDSO in November of 2000 when he was recruited as an art facilitator by current staff. He has been a practicing artist in the Sacramento community for about 10+ years. He also helped revive the greenhouse and a vegetable garden.
Steve was born and raised in the New York City Area and moved with his wife to Sacramento in the early 80s. Steve has a Master's Degree in Psychology and has worked as an Administrator within Intermediate Care Facilities as well as Residential Care Facilities.
James C. Anderson is an Ellie Award winning actor and director and in 1988 he founded The Short Center Repertory. He has served as Artistic Director since and The Short Center Repertory has received grants from The National Endowment for the Arts.
Stacey joined DDSO in 2014, eager to assist the team and support DDSO’s vision, mission and values. Currently, she divides her time between managing Capitol Books and Gifts, the California State Capitol Museum gift shop, and providing administrative support to Yvonne Soto, President/CEO.
Ayo, born and raised in the city of San Francisco, is a Bay Area native. She has lived in Sacramento for nearly 20 years with her two daughters, ages 10 and 14. Her customer service and office assistance experience spans over 20 years in retail and the private sector. She joined
Board Members 2018-2019
Foundation Board Members 2018-2019
History of the Developmental Disabilities Service Organization
DDSO is celebrating 43 years as one of the most respected non-profit organizations in the Sacramento and San Joaquin regions, providing a diverse range of services for adults with developmental disabilities.
Established in 1975 during a time when society’s common response to those with disabilities was one of disregard, parents of children with developmental disabilities and Mary Short, wife of California Senator Alan Short, started to establish DDSO. Its inaugural program, The Alan Short Center, was the first of its kind in the nation to utilize visual and performing arts as a tool for teaching people with developmental disabilities. DDSO has since grown to operate 8 day programs located at three different sites. In addition, the organization operates a bookstore in the California State Capitol, has a grant-funded repertory company and produces community murals, artist residencies and other special projects throughout Sacramento and Stockton.
DDSO was incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation with the support and conviction of parents of children with disabilities who expected more from their children and society. Their innovative philosophy embraced the concept that, with adequate support, individuals could move beyond their disabilities to make appropriate lifestyle choices; develop communication, living, and working skills; and explore avenues of artistic expression. They believed that, through full participation in life, and positive interactions with the community at-large, individuals with disabilities could realize their personal potential meeting their own expectations and those of loved ones.