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Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

dd month storyMarch is national Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and Monarch is joining in a grassroots initiative to help raise awareness about people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). It is also why we decided to dedicate our entire News & Notes this month to Developmental Disabilities stories.

The goal of Developmental Disabilities Month is to allow local communities to see that individuals with I/DD are really no different than everyone else.  People with disabilities enjoy evenings out with their friends and families, trips to the movies, fun on the playground, and volunteering in their communities.

On top of the many activities and events during the month, The Arc, an advocacy organization for those with I/DD, has chosen March 29 as a day for individuals with I/DD to be out in their community to engage with people and raise public awareness about the issues facing individuals with disabilities. Monarch day programs and homes across the state are planning activities to promote inclusion and to raise awareness. We can’t wait to share some of those stories with you.

In 1987 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed March “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.” In his proclamation he invited “all individual, agencies and organizations concerned with the problem of developmental disabilities to observe this month with appropriate observances and activities directed toward increasing public awareness of the needs and the potential of Americans with developmental disabilities.”

He also urged the nation to join him “in according to our fellow citizens with such disabilities both encouragement and the opportunities they need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential.”

So what are some things you can do this month? Simply make plans to go out somewhere in public on Saturday, March 29. Look for additional opportunities to volunteer or work with someone who has an I/DD and, in the process, help raise awareness and generate conversations. This movement will serve to harness our collective power to gain allies, foster understanding, dispel myths and encourage people without disabilities to recognize that we’re not so different after all.

Visit The Arc’s website at www.thearc.org and find out more about this campaign and things you can do to join in. And spread the word using the hashtag #DDAware on social media during the month of March.

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