March Is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month!

As March comes to a close, we hope you’ll join us in honoring Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. We celebrate, empower, and support kids with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) all year, and this month reminds us to advocate for the 6 million people with developmental disabilities in the United States. As emphasized by Disability Rights California, celebrating this awareness month means fighting for all people with I/DD “to have the opportunity to obtain meaningful work at a competitive wage, have access to health care, ...challenge any civil rights violations that they face, [and access] Regional Center services that reflect their needs, choices, and cultural values.” 

In a recent FEMA webinar held on March 24th, Alison Barkoff of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Dr. Beth Reyerson, acting director of the CDC’s Public Health Approach and Autism and Developmental Disabilities Network; Donna A. Meltzer, CEO of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD); and Erin Prangley of NACDD spoke about observing the awareness month — especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A multicolored handprint is next to the words "Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month" in purple font.
A multicolored handprint is next to the words "Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month" in purple font.

One in six children have at least one developmental disability, they shared, which occur across all racial and ethnic groups. The speakers stressed the need to improve healthy equity in the U.S. so that all people with developmental disabilities can access the care and accommodations they need — which means removing physical barriers, improving transportation accessibility, and supporting every communication need. “The pandemic has really highly impacted the disadvantages of those with DD,” the speakers said.

So how can we mark such an important month at such a pivotal moment? 
The Arc, NACDD, and Disability Rights California (DRC) are helping us celebrate virtually on social media with hashtags and opportunities to submit artwork and resources in support of people with I/DD.

What issues are you advocating for in the I/DD community? We’d love to learn about what’s most important to you and your family (and see your social media posts)!

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