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.