Our Mission
To assist individuals in developing their abilities to achieve a life as active members of our community.

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Portage County Board of Developmental Disabilities
2606 Brady Lake Road · Ravenna, OH · 44266-1657
Phone: 330-297-6209 | Fax: 

Report Major Unusual Incidents

© 2019 Portage County Board of Developmental Disabilities | All rights reserved

Guide For Our First Responders

Emergency responders in Portage County may unexpectedly encounter or be asked to find a person with Developmental Disabilities. Recognizing the behavior symptoms and knowing contact approaches can minimize situations of risk or victimization of the person with a Developmental Disability, as well as risk to the responder.

You may learn the person has a Developmental Disability from dispatch, a family member or someone at the scene, or the person themself, or you may determine the disability yourself. 

Each person with a Developmental Disability will have a different level of independence. Remember that a mental illness is NOT the same as a Developmental Disability.

Who To Call

For immediate assistance with an individual enrolled in Portage DD's programs, call our Service and Support Administration team at (330) 297-4100. 

If an incident occurs, please contact the Townhall II Major Unusual Incidents report line at (330) 678-7559. Following a report, Kim Sumwalt and Kendall Smith, our Investigative Agents for Portage DD, will be contacted to follow up. 

What To Look For

Each person with a Developmental Disability will display different behavioral traits. Here are a common few to look for:

May Not Communicate At Age Level

• Limited vocabulary

• Difficulty understanding or answering questions

• Inability to read or write

• Mimics responses or answers

May Not Behave At Age Level

• Inappropriate interaction with peers

• Easily influenced by and anxious to please others

• Difficulty making change, using phone, telling time, etc.

• Low frustration tolerance

May Not Behave Appropriately In Emergencies

• May not understand rights

• May be overly willing to confess

• Difficulty recalling facts

• Tendency to be overwhelmed by authority

• Says what they think others want to hear

• May have sensory issues, such as being touched

How To Respond

• Use simple language; speak slowly

• Avoid questions that tell the person the answer you want

• Avoid “yes” or “no” questions

• Ask for concrete descriptions, colors, etc.

• Give praise and encouragement

• Avoid frustrating questions about complex sequences

• Never make fun of the person in the slightest; they can sense it and not cooperate.

• Sometimes individuals with Developmental Disabilities will have behavior outbursts… remain calm and give this person some time! Though it may seem like a threat, it most likely isn’t.