Our History

DDI Vantage is excited to be celebrating our 50th anniversary this year. Please see some of our major milestones.

Founded in 1971 with an Eye to Help Children with Disabilities

In 1971, DDI Vantage was organized and registered as a 501 (c) (3) entity when a group of parents and professionals recognized that infants and toddlers with disabilities required and deserved specialized services that were not available in Utah. With a small grant, Athleen Godfrey RN and Garth Meyers MD organized a small program that provided early health and education intervention to children under three years of age. The number of children served by DDI in the first couple of years is unclear, but in 1973 it served 55 children.

In the beginning, DDI Vantage was housed in a small donated area below Primary Children’s Hospital (now Primary Children’s Medical Center). Soon after its organization, DDI Vantage received funding from the Division of Family Services to provide not only health and development services for children under three years but also preschool services for children between three and five years of age. DDI Vantage operated preschool programs for children with disabilities for years before the public school system was charged with those responsibilities.

1988 Brings Growth including Adult and Youth Services

In 1988, the birth-to-three component of the program was brought under the administration of the Utah Department of Health Baby Watch Early Intervention Program (BWEIP), and the Utah State Office of Education became the lead agency for the three-to-five preschool component. In that same year, DDI entered into a contract with BWEIP to provide Early Intervention (EI) services to all children in Salt Lake County under the age of three years, except for Jordan School District, which developed its own EI program. For a time, DDI also provided EI services in the Park City area of Wasatch County. It was also given the responsibility to provide EI services in Tooele County.

Also in 1988, DDI entered into a contract with the Division of Services for People with Disabilities (DSPD) to provide supported employment services to adults with disabilities, and with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to provide supported job-based training to adults with disabilities. Since 1988, the provision of adult services has grown beyond supported employment and supported job-based training to include supported living, personal budget assistance, respite care, chore services, homemaker services, and family support. In 2009, the name of the program was changed to Adult and Youth Services (AYS), to more accurately reflect the broader scope of services offered.

Adding Duchesne Services in 1997

In 1997, Duchesne School District opted out of its contract with BWEIP to provide EI services in Duchesne County, and BWEIP invited DDI Vantage to assume the contract. Services in Duchesne County were initially supervised remotely from Salt Lake City, but local facilities and leadership were in place by 2004.

Adding Early Head Start Services in 2004

In 2003, DDI Vantage wrote and submitted a grant application for 60 slots with the Office of Head Start. The grant was awarded and the DDI Vantage Early Head Start (EHS) program began services in January 2004. In 2006, DDI Vantage purchased and renovated a building located in Taylorsville, to be used by the EHS program. In 2009, an expansion grant grew the enrollment slots to 148, and additional facilities were opened in Salt Lake City and Tooele to accommodate the expansion of staff and services.

Adding Early Head Start Child Care in 2014

In 2014 DDI Vantage wrote a grant for EHS child care slots. This grant was awarded in January of 2015. This allowed us to create partnerships with six centers, and funded 66 slots, although many more children within the child care classrooms benefit from this grant.


New Executive Director

Jennifer Kelsey becomes the ninth Executive Director for DDI Vantage.

2011 Update

  • Reauthorization of IDEA Part C regulations
  • Supported employment program changes name to Adult and Youth Services (AYS)
  • AYS starts respite services
  • 1374 people attend 2nd Family Fin Day at Wheeler Farm
  • AYS has served approximately 100 Clients
  • EHS has served approximately 1200 families
  • Early Intervention has served approximately 17000 children
  • Early intervention has provided approximately 60000 service visits

Unprecedented Growth

  • Family Fun Day brings in 1,100 people at Wheeler Farm.
  • EHS adds center-based collaborations with: ABC Great Beginnings Preschool, Murray Cricket Care, Granite Peaks Lifelong Learning Center
  • 1000 early intervention children enrolled, 110 early intervention employees.

Early Head Start

  • Supported employment adds Personal Budgeting Assistance (PBA)
  • EHS expansion grant increases number of children served to 148
  • Larry Faddis, Financial Consultant

New Building

  • EHS purchases the Taylorsville Building
  • Ralph Larsen, Third CPA
  • 800 Early Intervention children enrolled, 90 Early Intervention employees

New Addition

Supported Employment adds Supported Living services

DDIV Graduate-Now Employee

Jessica Kranwinkle comes to work for DDIV. She graduated from the program in 1989.


EHS first center-based partnership is established with Granite School District serving teens in the Young Parent Program

Early Head Start

Early Head Start program awarded

Serving More Children

600 Early Intervention children enrolled and 45 Early Intervention employees

Early Intervention

EI Caseload Committee created a caseload formula to ensure balance among staff and assist in hiring practices.

Early Intervention changes

EI changed to a designated FSC model.


Work on child tracking database begins and Compliance Coordinator job created.

New Site

Duchesne County Early Intervention contract awarded; Started with 3 children and 3 pieces of paper; soon gained 3 more children with one staff working out of car trunk.

New Executive Director

Kevin Morris, Eighth Executive Director; 400 Early Intervention enrolled, 24 Early Intervention employees.

Moved Offices

  • Student intern at church by Liberty Park
  • DDI moves office to Professional Plaza
  • Allan McComb, Second CPA

New Executive Director

Jean Dellangelo becomes the seventh Executive Director.

Public Law 99-457

  • Tooele County Early Intervention contract awarded
  • Opened program with 5 children in the lobby of Health Department.
  • Susan Hill, Sixth Executive Director
  • 200 Early Intervention children enrolled, 13 Early Intervention employees.

New Executive Director

Joyce Lacey becomes the fifth Executive Director.

Public Law 101-426

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Renames the earlier Education of the Handicapped acts (EHA) "disabled" wording replaces "handicapped" wording

New Executive Director

  • Don Link becomes the fourth Executive Director.
  • 120 Early Intervention children enrolled, 8 Early Intervention employees.

Changes in Government

  • Public Law 99-457. Education of the handicapped act amendments. October 9, 1986. Provided Early Intervention services for children birth three years old (Part H) Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).
  • Developmental Disabilities, Inc. contracts with Baby Watch to provide early intervention services.
  • Governor Norman Bangerter organizes the Interagency Coordinating Council.
  • Athleen Godfrey, First ICC Chairperson.1987-1991

Supported Employment Contract Awarded

  • Approximately 40 Children receive Early Intervention services.
  • Approximately 60 children move to local school district preschools


Developmental Disabilities, Inc., contracts with Baby Watch to provide Early Intervention services.

Early Intervention

Only EI program that didn't close during the summer contracted by dept. of social services. Social worker did first contacts.

New Executive Director

Leon Soderquist becomes the third Executive Director. Melinda Durham in Preschool.

Moved Offices

Scott McNeely crawled out of the window at preschool. DDIV Moved offices to Atherton Plaza. Families drive their children for DDIV Services from Salt Lake, Summit, and Utah Counties. 55 Children enrolled.

Public Law 94-142

Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) 1975. Provided free appropriate education (FAPE) for handicapped children ages 3-21 in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

Second Executive Director

Dennis Gehring becomes the second Executive Director.

25 Children Enrolled

Twenty-five children are enrolled in DDIV program.

First Executive Director

Athleen Godfrey became the first executive director for DDI, and twelve children were served including ten children with down syndrome and two children with cerebral palsy.

Articles of Incorporation

On September 29, 1971, the Developmental Disabilities Inc. Articles of incorporation were signed by Dr Garth Myers, Laverna Peterson and Charles Doane. Originally funded through a generous grant, DDI also had space and supplies provided by Primary Children's Hospital and equipment provided by the Utah State Department of health. DDI offered an Infant Development Program (IDP), a center-based program for two year olds, and preschool classes for three to five year olds. DDI was the first "Early Intervention" program of its kind in the United States.