March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. This month, we advocate for inclusion in all areas of life. We also educate communities about the obstacles disabled people face. President Ronald Reagan established Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in 1987. The President's goal was to give people opportunities to lead productive lives and reach their potential.
Developmental disabilities affect all aspects of daily living. They may limit someone’s ability to learn or problem-solve, or their social interactions and language skills. Disabilities may be physical, mental, or both. They are not always visible. Common developmental disabilities include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, learning disabilities, and blindness.
Inclusion is an important concept for the disability community. Inclusion means that everyone has the same opportunities to take part in every aspect of life to the best of their abilities. It means that everyone can pursue the things they want and need. Everyone Wins When Everyone’s Included.
How can communities support disabled people? Some of the issues that matter most are:
Transportation: reliable public transportation, low-cost options, help scheduling rides, vehicles that allow for wheelchairs.
Employment opportunities: skills training, interview coaching, job placement, advocacy to employers, workplace modification.
Independent living support: help with errands and chores, modifications in the home, recreational and community activities.
Assistive technology: customized technology that improves one’s ability to hear, speak, move, or use a computer.
Disability advocates want to see these resources in all neighborhoods and community spaces. We all have a part to play in creating a world where disabled people engage and thrive.
Observe Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month with these books, fiction and nonfiction, about living with developmental disabilities.