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Office of Rights and Advocacy (ORA)

The Office of Rights and Advocacy (ORA) works to ensure the human rights of residents of the District of Columbia with intellectual and developmental disabilities are protected. Our office helps to protect people’s rights by working with the DDA provider community to recognize and prevent rights violations by implementing person-centered practices and being informed and compliant with DDA policies and procedures. The DDA ORA is also available to provide training on the subject of rights and advocacy to providers, community groups and other interested stakeholders.

People with intellectual disabilities have the same basic rights and responsibilities as all other legal residents of the United States, which include, but are not limited to the following:

  • A right to habilitation services and personal supports in the least restrictive environment;
  • A right to dignity, privacy and respect;
  • A right to participate in an appropriate program of publicly-supported education, regardless of degree of disability;
  • A right to prompt medical care and treatment;
  • A right to religious freedom and practice;
  • A right to social interaction and participation in community activities;
  • A right to physical exercise and recreational opportunities;
  • A right to be free from harm, including unnecessary physical restraint or isolation, excessive medication, abuse or neglect;
  • A right to vote;
  • A right to make choices in their own lives including, but not limited to: where and with whom they live; their relationships with people in their community; the way they spend their time, including in education, employment and leisure; the pursuit of their personal future; and program planning and implementation; and
  • A right to have relationships, marry, be part of a family, and to parent if they so choose.

The following documents and information about ORA: