By Tim McCue
Self Advocacy Educator
Office of Developmental Disabilities Ombuds
The Developmental Disabilities Ombuds; what are they all about?
Are you frustrated with your DD services? We are here to help! An ombuds is a person who makes sure that people who are getting a certain type of service have protection and get treated the way that they deserve to be treated. There are ombuds for people who are elderly and live in nursing homes, and ombuds for kids who need some help at school. The Developmental Disabilities Ombuds, or DD Ombuds, help improve the lives of people who have intellectual or developmental disabilities that are getting services from the government.
We take complaints from individuals with disabilities, their friends, family, guardians and even staff. When you call us, we have to keep what you told us private unless you give us permission to tell other people. Even if you do not get any services but you have a developmental disability, we can offer you information to help you find the help you need. We call this “information and referral”. What are some reasons you might want to make a complaint? Well, maybe you do not like the way you were treated, or maybe you do not feel safe? Another reason could be that you do not get to have the privacy or get to make the decisions you want.
Our biggest goal is to stop abuse and neglect from happening. That is why we regularly visit, or monitor, the places where people with developmental disabilities live across Washington State. These places can be supported living, adult family homes, private residences, or state institutions. As we are monitoring, we collect information so that we can write reports to give to service providers and the Washington state legislature about how well the service system is working. These reports include recommendations for how to improve the services that people are getting.
The Office of the Developmental Disabilities Ombuds also believes that self-advocacy is important. Why? Self-advocacy is all about giving people with disabilities the tools they need let others what they want, including safety, privacy, choice, dignity and respect. We have a self-advocacy educator who works full time to develop advocacy materials and teach self-advocacy skills. At our advocacy trainings, we give presentations and lead activities on topics like problem solving, speaking up, and disability rights.
The DD Ombuds are looking for new places to give advocacy trainings, so if you would like us to come to your meeting or event, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to make a complaint about your developmental disability services, give us a call at 833-727-8900, or fill out a complaint form on our website. Remember, the Office of Developmental Disabilities Ombuds is your office!
About the author:
Tim McCue has lived his entire life in the cool, crisp climate of Washington State. In 2012, Tim graduated from Lincoln High School and entered the Tacoma Transition Program, where he worked at the Metro Parks’ Greenhouse near Point Defiance. During his time there, he met Mike Raymond and the team at Self Advocates of Washington (SAW), who inspired his interest in advocacy. As a result, he was hired on as an intern to teach students about a variety of topics relating to disability empowerment, later becoming SAW’s Project Manager/Executive Director. He has also spent a considerable amount of time volunteering at various Self Advocacy groups such as Self Advocates in Leadership (SAIL) and Allies in Advocacy, most notably supporting and learning from the Person Centered Planning movement. In 2017, Tim was hired as the Self-Advocacy Educator for the Office of Developmental Disabilities Ombuds at Disability Rights Washington, where he works to provide disabled individuals with the most powerful tool of all; knowledge.