Mom, board president, and advocate Meghan Wilkinson poses with her twin boys, Casey and Connor

Advocacy and Networking

Summit DD is the community resource that makes meaningful connections for nearly 5,000 children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities. Those connections become part of your journey. With each connection, your network grows, helping you on your path to becoming your own strongest advocate. We encourage you to connect with these groups and strengthen your own network.

Below we have compiled some of the local networking and advocacy groups for you to tap into.


  • The ARC of Ohio: The Arc is a grassroots organization which advocates for human rights, personal dignity and community participation for individuals with developmental disabilities through legislative and social action, information and education, local chapter supports and family involvement.
  • Disability Rights Ohio (DRO): Disability Rights Ohio (formerly Ohio Legal Rights Service) is a non-profit corporation with a mission to advocate for the human, civil and legal rights of people with disabilities in Ohio.
  • Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) Advocacy resources: Thanks to the DODD, there are a variety of advocacy resources, tools and councils available to help you make your voice heard. Find the one that is right for you.
  • Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD): Empowering Ohioans with disabilities through employment, disability determinations, and independence. Find the resources you need to live your best life.

Leadership Skills

  • Summit DD’s Emerging Leaders Program: Are you a self-advocate looking to take on more leadership roles within your community? Then we want to talk to you. Summit DD’s Emerging Leaders Program was created to help self-advocates take the next step in their journey to gain leadership skills for visible and influential roles in the community or local organizations.

Networking and Advocacy

  • Autism Society of Greater Akron: The Autism Society is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots autism organization committed to improving the lives of those affected by autism. The Greater Akron affiliate was established in 1987 and serves Summit, Medina, Portage, Wayne, and Stark counties.
  • Autism Speaks: Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support.
  • Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) Networking groups: Check out the networking groups and councils available through the DODD. From the Early Childhood Forum to the Family advisory council, there are a number of ways to stay connected to people and families just like you.
  • The Down Syndrome Association of Northeast Ohio (DSANEO): DSANEO is a nonprofit organization for people with Down syndrome which started as a grassroots parent movement that now joins families throughout Northeast Ohio.
  • Don’t forget to check out our event pages for additional opportunities to learn and network with other families!

© Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board