Adults with Developmental Disabilities was founded in 1973 by five parents concerned about the future of their developmentally disabled children. The main goal of that first group was to create an organization for their sons and daughters to get together and socialize after high school graduation. The small group met on Saturdays at a house on Susquehanna Road in Abington where they would hold dances, play games and socialize. Soon after, the program grew and they held their first fundraiser. Montgomery County Social Services sent out a social worker named Bob Leon to start the first “Rap Session.” Consequently, they outgrew the house in Abington, and moved to St. Paul’s Church in Elkins Park.
In November 1975, ADD became a non-profit organization with a 501 (c)(3) determination from the IRS. Kim Weinberg was appointed the first Executive Director in 1978 and, as the group continued to grow, Rap Sessions extended to the Main Line and Spring House locations. These three groups still meet once a week to discuss life skills challenges pertaining to achieving independence. The educational, cultural and recreational activities have increased from once a month to every weekend. Along with social interaction, these outings are a chance for members to practice skills learned in Rap Sessions.
Developmental disorders represented by the members range from the very rare such as Familial Dysautonomia to the more common autism spectrum disorders. The first annual fundraising event called Key to Independence Day was held in May of 1983 and continues each year to this day. After moving administrative offices to the Pavilion in Jenkintown, PA in 1997, the group originally named Association for Developmental Disabilities/YAG (Young Adults Group) re-branded in 2002 and “ADD” as affectionately coined by members adopted the moniker it is known by today. In 2008 Larry Rubin was appointed Executive Director.
Recent successes include: hiring of a new part-time grant writer/marketing position; a steady increase in membership by 10% over the past two years now serving over 170 members. The Board of Directors has expanded to include an attorney and an accountant.. Of the original members, two are still alive, active and very thankful for all that ADD has done for them.
Our ultimate goal is to maximize a member's ability to live a full and independent a life within their community. To accomplish this, members meet with people their own age, while simultaneously helping them become productive members of the community.
Our motto is: Then, Now and Always.
For our members, ADD is this very special place.
Since our founding, almost 40 years ago the organization has achieved the following milestones:
• Staffed the organization
• Developed an outstanding Board of Directors
• Effectively impacted and improved the lives of over 1,000 adults with developmental disabilities
• Developed integrated programs to enhance the social and behavioral skills in community settings for adults with developmental disabilities
Programs and Services
Adults with Developmental Disabilities (ADD) believes that social interaction is at the heart of the human experience. Yet, some of the simple activities many of us take for granted — a ride on the bus, a trip to the store, a phone call from a friend, a meal at a restaurant — are significant accomplishments for men and women with developmental disabilities. Our ultimate outcome is members’ enhanced independence, self-pride, social and behavioral skills. To accomplish this we believe that social interaction is key. Our three key signature programs that aim to promote independence and social interaction include:
1. Rap sessions in three locations
2. Weekend social activities
3. An annual weeklong outing
Information and Referral
Office Support to Help Members to Achieve Independence: The organization receives about 500 calls a year for information and referral.
In addition, to answering questions from the general public, all office staff support the members by advising them and answering their questions about any topic during the week from Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Staff assist members to help them pay for their memberships and trips, obtain assistance and family driven money (FDM) from their county office of Behavioral Health/Developmental Disabilities, coordinating transportation, modify unacceptable behavior and receive assistance in problem-solving. Members are encouraged to handle as much of their decision-making, transportation and payment for trips and membership as they can. Members are also encouraged to develop office skills by volunteering in the ADD office or at the annual ADD fundraising event, “ADD’s Key to Independence Day.” One member attends ADD board meetings and represents the members from the three Rap Groups.
These are the cornerstones of the services offered by ADD. They are held in three strategic locations (Elkins Park, Main Line, and Springhouse) encouraging members from all over the Tri-county area to participate.
The Rap Sessions provide an opportunity for members (ages 18 and up) to identify and resolve concerns, discuss peer interaction and gain socialization skills. Members bring questions about friends, family, work, relationships, finances, intimacy, religion, etc. to these sessions.
Most of our members have no other source of information and support outside of their families. The Rap Sessions provide a safe environment for our members to learn and make friends. This also provides a sense of relief for their families, who know that their adult child has his/her own friends and a solid support system.
The goal of the weekly Rap Sessions is to ensure independence, self pride, and enhance social and behavioral skills with families and in the community.
Supervised Weekend Outings
ADD's members appreciate the same pastimes as others in the community. The weekly outings to concerts, sporting events, theaters, movies, etc. help to enrich our members' lives. At these outings, others see our men and women behaving appropriately and enjoying the same events they do; helping to break down stereotypes and build community awareness.
In addition, our members are able to practice their skills in listening, following directions, working together, and learning to communicate with others beyond the safety of the Rap Sessions' protective environments. With time these skills help to enhance our members' self-esteem and increase their ability to become active and productive members of the community.
The goal of the Supervised Weekend outings is to ensure independence, self pride, and enhance social and behavioral skills with families and in the community.
Annual Summer Weeklong Outing
The goal of the Annual Summer Weeklong Outing is to ensure independence, self pride, and enhance social and behavioral skills. The outing also provides respite care for families.
How to Become a Member
Click here for membership application information.