Cultural Competence

Cultural competence is the ability of a person to effectively interact, work, and develop meaningful relationships with people of various cultural backgrounds. Cultural background can include the beliefs, customs, and behaviors of people from various groups. Gaining cultural competence is a lifelong process of increasing self-awareness, developing social skills and behaviors around diversity, and gaining the ability to advocate for others. It goes beyond tolerance, which implies that one is simply willing to overlook differences. Instead, it includes recognizing and respecting diversity through our words and actions in all contexts. (NebGuide, Nebraska Extension, Issued February 2016)

This section provides resources to help you understand more about cultural competence.


A Resource Guide to Respond to Disparities in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: This guide was developed by the Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC). It provides information about collaborative approaches for Developmental Disabilities Councils, Protection and Advocacy Programs, and University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

Advancing Cultural and Linguistic Competence: Where is your Developmental Disabilities Council on the Journey?: From the Oklahoma DD Council.

Black Lives Matter: A Call for Justice and Reform: The Outreach Committee and the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council issued a statement in response to the need to address racism and disability in all aspects of our communities.

Bringing Cultural Diversity and Linguistic Competency to Our Work: From the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Connections Between Racism and Health: Health Policy Brief from the Health Institute of Ohio.

Cultural and Linguistic Competence Policy Assessment: Information on analyzing policies, including definitions and questions to guide policy work.

Cultural Misconceptions about Deaf People and the Challenge for the Courts: From the Ohio Supreme Court.

From Outreach to Engagement: Culturally and Linguistically Competent Engagement of Members and Communities: Guidance for DD Councils from the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities.

Mental Health and Addiction Issues in the LGBTQ+ Community: Informative article from Healthy Life Recovery.

National Center of Cultural Competence: The Center provides information and online, on-demand trainings to increase the capacity of health care and mental health care programs to design, implement, and evaluate culturally and linguistically competent service delivery systems to address growing diversity, persistent disparities, and to promote health and mental health equity.

Paving the Way: A Toolkit for Assessing & Advancing Cultural & Linguistic Competency: From the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council.

Racism Destroyed in One Minute: A video that takes a deep look into a person's thought process and racism.

ReachOut e-Diversity News - August 2020 Edition: The articles in this edition of the Ohio DD Council's outreach newsletter focus on four different perspectives and approaches to address issues that are a result of the lack of diversity, equity and inclusion. In other words, the lack of cultural competency. 

Self-Determination Cultural Differences in Perception and Practice: An article that discusses how culture can impact the concept of self-determination.

Talking About Race: A conversation guide developed by the Smithsonian.

The Cultural and Linguistic Competence Assessment for Disability Organizations: From the National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University.