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What's Your Story?

Colbie's Story:

Colbie is a kid just like you! She is 7 years old, and in second grade. Her favorite color is purple. Her favorite food is spaghetti. Her favorite book is Dr. Seuss ABC's. She loves to go to school to see her friends and learn new skills. Colbie is also different, but different is good! Colbie needs to use equipment like a gait trainer and mobile stander to help her move around school to be with her friends. She also needs to use pictures and buttons to communicate her wants and needs.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities has been there to help us with her special needs. Colbie has been eligible for CCBDD services for over 4 years. Through CCBDD she has received PT, OT, and SLT services, and continues to use the MOVE® (Mobility Options via Education) curriculum at school which teaches people how to sit, stand, and walk. CCBDD has also provided us with Family Support funds so she can participate in adapted swimming, music therapy, and purchase specialized equipment for daily living. CCBDD has helped Colbie in many ways so that she is able to participate in activities like her friends. If you see Colbie around, give her a wave to say "hello".

Kamila’s Story:

At birth, Kamila was diagnosed with Spina Bifida. In February of 2015, Kamila and her parents moved to Cleveland from Puerto Rico looking for more opportunities that could help Kamila. They were excited to learn about CCBDD’s Early Intervention program which provides support for parents and caregivers in their homes through a team approach of professionals. The team consists of an occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech-language pathologist and a developmental specialist who support parents to enhance the development of their child with special challenges, learning through every day experiences.

One of these team members serves as the primary service provider. In Kamila’s case, an occupational therapist (OT) from CCBDD filled this role. Kamila greets her OT each visit with a big smile. She likes to learn things. The OT provides hands on coaching methods to Kamila’s parents to use in their everyday routines. With the help of the OT and her parents, Kamila has developed many skills similar to other children her age, like feeding herself her favorite snacks, sitting to play with toys and showing you how old she is as seen in the picture. Kamila and her family are excited about the progress she has made and look forward to her accomplishing even more before she turns two.

Historia de Kamila:

Al nacer, Kamila fue diagnosticada con espina bífida. En febrero de 2015, Kamila y sus padres se trasladaron a Cleveland desde Puerto Rico en busca de más oportunidades que podrían ayudar a Kamila. Estaban contentos de conocer sobre el programa de Intervención Temprana de CCBDD que les brinda apoyo a los padres y cuidadores en sus hogares a través de un enfoque de equipo de profesionales. El equipo está formado por un terapeuta ocupacional, fisioterapeuta, patólogo del habla y el lenguaje y un especialista en desarrollo que apoyan a los padres a mejorar el desarrollo de su hijo con retos especiales, aprendiendo a través de experiencias diarias.

Uno de estos miembros del equipo sirve como el principal proveedor de servicios. En el caso de Kamila, un terapeuta ocupacional (OT) de CCBDD asume este papel. Kamila saluda a su OT cada visita con una gran sonrisa. A ella le gusta aprender cosas. El OT proporciona un enfoque práctico en el entrenamiento con los padres de Kamila para utilizar en sus rutinas diarias. Con la ayuda del OT y sus padres, Kamila ha desarrollado muchas habilidades similares a otros niños de su edad, por ejemplo como alimentarse a sí misma sus bocadillos favoritos, sentarse a jugar con los juguetes y a mostrar a los demas la edad que tiene, como se visualiza en la retrato. Kamila y su familia están emocionados con el progreso que ha hecho y esperan que logre aún más antes de cumplir dos años de edad.

John’s Story:

“Everybody loves John,” shared his proud mom. Volunteering for Meals-on-Wheels and at a local senior center are two ways John likes to keep active in the community. He also participates regularly in the social activities offered at his church.

John has worked at a variety of jobs, learning new skills and meeting new people. Being open to try something new, and without complaint, is a special trait of John’s. In early 2014, he decided to try out a new career as a packager at Seedhouse Distribution in Cleveland as a part of CCBDD’s supported employment program. In only two months’ time, John’s talents and hard-working nature landed him a job at there, unpacking and repacking bulk food items that are sent to retail distributors.

John’s co-workers shared that he comes to work every single day with a positive attitude and helps to keep them in a good mood to such a degree that “John’s attitude should be bottled and sold.” John’s co-workers have not only been inspired by his positive work ethic, but they have rallied around John to support his weight loss and health goals. To date, and with the help of his employer and co-workers, John has lost over 100 pounds and now enjoys walking in his neighborhood and working out. “I never met a man like John. I’ve learned so much from him,” shared his personal trainer.

John is more than a remarkable employee, volunteer and role model for a healthier lifestyle. His mother and extended family share that John loves to cook for others, help take care of their home, and fill-in at the family store when needed.

Hear Our Stories

Giving Back to Our Community

For more than two decades, CCBDD has been committed to helping address a growing need in Cuyahoga County- hunger. Staff, volunteers, and individuals served by the Board have given of their time and talents to participate in community-based solutions to help families alleviate hunger. Sorting food items at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, delivering nutritious meals to home-bound seniors, and supporting nearby churches with their food drives are just some of the efforts that have been undertaken. Individuals who receive services at two of CCBDD’s Adult Activities Centers (Maple Heights and Rocky River) wanted to have an even bigger impact on addressing food insecurity. Both of these sites are now food distribution sites for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. With the support of CCBDD volunteers, individuals at these Centers have supplied nutrition and healthy food to nearly 10,000 people in 2015. All who have participated in these efforts will be the first to tell you just how satisfying it is to be able to give back to their communities.

Helping to address needs in the community and with other members of the community is a favorite endeavor for many served by CCBDD. Volunteering at resale stores, animal shelters, and senior-serving agencies and promoting literacy by reading to children at their schools are some of the additional ways individuals give back to the community. These opportunities allow people to be a part of a solution to a need while also building relationships with others in the community who share a similar passion. Fundraising for local causes that are near and dear to the hearts of those served by CCBDD is yet another way people with disabilities make a difference. We are indeed so much better together!

What’s Your Story Greater Cleveland?

We all have a story to share and each story holds a promise to educate and inspire others. What story can you share that highlights how you support people with developmental disabilities?

We hope you will share your story on Twitter ( and use #MYSTORY.

Here are some “story starters” to help you identify ways you can be a part of our story, supporting and empowering people with developmental disabilities to live, learn, work and play in the community:
  • Do you own a business and are in need of trained and talented employees? Hiring people with disabilities enhances your work culture and makes good business sense. Contact the Employment Collaborative of Cuyahoga County to post job openings and learn more about how we partner with local businesses: or (216) 931-7348.
  • Become a CCBDD volunteer! We have lots of possibilities for you to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. For more information,
  • Be sure to make others feel welcome and appreciated out in the community. A simple “hello,” smile or introduction is all it takes to accomplish this. If you want to go the extra mile (which we encourage), offer to lend some assistance- hold a door open, enjoy a conversation or actively include people with disabilities in events and activities. Embrace inclusion.
  • Connect with us. Sign-up to receive our monthly e-Newsletter so you can learn more about the talents and gifts of people with developmental disabilities and how CCBDD helps them to make a full and meaningful life- and how you can too!
  • Take the time to learn and experience that we are more similar than different.

We can’t wait to hear your story, Greater Cleveland!

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Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities
1275 Lakeside Avenue East
Cleveland, Ohio 44114-1129
PHONE: (216)241-8230 - FAX: (216)861-0253