Connie Mehlman • Cassie Mattia • Courtney Hineman
by Cassie Mattia

Loveland, Ohio – Did you know more than 6 million Americans have one or more developmental disabilities (DD)? That means about 15 percent of the United States population is living with DD. Over the few past decades, individuals with DD and DD advocates have been fighting for inclusion and equal opportunities within their communities and the workforce. Without help from leaders and social reformers like Dorothy Dix, Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan, and George Bush, to name a few, both National Developmental Disabilities Month and the Americans with Disabilities Act wouldn’t exist.

“It’s just basic human needs not special needs.”Courtney Hineman

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan made a public announcement asking Americans to provide individuals with DD “the encouragement and opportunities they need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential.” Reagan’s powerful message not only established the month of March as National DD Awareness Month, but his advocacy also led to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) being passed in 1990 by George Bush. The ADA officially made it illegal to discriminate against individuals with disabilities.

Once the ADA passed, DD advocates across the world began to take a stand, using their own experiences and success stories to promote equal rights. Although progress has been made in the DD community there are still many obstacles’ individuals with DD face every day. This is why National DD Awareness Month is a time to celebrate the achievements of those with DD and take the time to educate yourself and those surrounding you on the importance of including individuals with DD in all aspects of community life!

In light of this very special March celebration, I decided to again share an interview that I conducted in March of 2023 on my Loveland Magazine TV Table of Discussions with two of the most respected DD advocates in Ohio, Connie Mehlman now a Consultant with Best Buddies International and Courtney Hineman, the Community Outreach Advocate for Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities! Connie and Courtney have paved the way for inclusion and equality within the DD community giving them both a plethora of knowledge when it comes to educating others about how they too can advocate for individuals with DD. Connie has since retired from her job with Butler County.

I am pleased to rebroadcast my Table of Discussions episode featuring Connie Mehlman and Courtney Hineman! Happy DD Awareness Month!

This year’s Greater Cincinnati Best Buddies Friendship Walk is on Saturday, April 13 at Marcum Park, 116 Dayton Street in Hamilton.




In celebration of National Developmental Disabilities Month, Courtney wrote an Opinion Editorial in 2023 about what it’s like to live with developmental disabilities and how the community created equal opportunities for her.

Click here to read Courtney’s Op Ed, “I want others with disabilities to have opportunities like I had!”

The gallery of photos below was provided by the Butler County Board of DD and Cassie Mattia.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?


Courtney Hineman is a disability rights advocate. She is the Community Outreach Advocate at the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities and was appointed by Governor DeWine to the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council for the second term. She is a member of Butler County’s self-advocacy group, and has enjoyed participating in Best Buddies.

Connie Mehlman is the Community Connections Coordinator for the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities. She has more than 35 years of experience both working and volunteering in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is currently serving as the Chairperson for Best Buddies Ohio and is very active in the Miami University Best Buddies Chapter.”



Cassie Mattia is the President and Publisher of Loveland Magazine, Cassie Mattia is a resident of Historic Downtown Loveland and the Public Relations Coordinator at Butler County Board of DD. Cassie was awarded the Little Miami River Chamber Alliance 2021 Young Business Professional of the Year.


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