Office of Developmental Disabilities Ombuds

Betty Schwieterman
Developmental Disabilities Ombuds

Betty Schwieterman works to change systems to be responsive to people with disabilities. In 2017, Betty began her new position as the head of the Office of Developmental Disabilities Ombuds, a program of Disability Rights Washington. She leads the statewide DD Ombuds program to promote the well-being of people with developmental disabilities through rights education, monitoring services and facilities, identifying concerns and complaints, complaint resolution at the lowest level possible and making recommendations to the service system and legislature for improvements.

Previously with Disability Rights Washington, Betty worked to improve the abuse response system and victim rights of people with disabilities; election accessibility; self-directed personal assistance services; and address gaps in the services systems for people with traumatic brain injury. Betty’s passion is to support people with disabilities who are new to advocacy, build advocacy coalitions and provide support and technical assistance to advocates.

Betty worked as a speech therapist in rural Missouri schools after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders from Missouri State University in 1977. She moved to Seattle and in 1982 began work as an advocate for the agency now known as Disability Rights Washington. She served as Chair and Past Chair of the Mental Health Parity Coalition during a successful nine year effort to end discrimination in insurance coverage for people with mental illness. She Co-Chaired the Washington State Traumatic Brain injury Council, served on the Developmental Disabilities Council, Adult Abuse Workgroup and numerous other system change coalitions.