*photo credit to Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities*

March Is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Developmental disabilities impact the lives of an estimated 5 million Americans

“We all want the same basic things out of life: a decent and comfortable place to call ‘home’, something meaningful to do during the day, some close friends with whom to share the good times and from whom we receive support in difficult times, and the opportunity to make our own decisions about things that will affect our personal lives. People with disabilities want these same basic things and are increasingly speaking up for themselves about what they want. And staff, family and State agency professionals are beginning to really listen.”

Excerpted from “Home, Sweet Home” by Susan L. Babin, IMPACT: Feature Issue on Supported Living (1995), published by the Institute on Community Integration.

According to the Developmental Disabilities Act and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, a developmental disability is a severe, chronic disability that occurs before the age of 22 that is likely to continue indefinitely and results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity: self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and/or economic self-sufficiency. These impairments require the individual to sustain lifelong or extended supports or assistance. Diagnosed conditions may include autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or spina bifida.

Over 5 million Americans are estimated to have a developmental disability. March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, which is presented by the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN). This campaign is intended to created awareness about developmental disabilities, tell stories of those who live with a disability, and show their lives.

The theme, “Life Side by Side,” shares stories of the lives of people with and without disabilities, side by side. Each week focuses on a different area, including education, employment, and community living. Follow along and join the conversation using the hashtag, #DDawareness17.  

For more information on Developmental Disabilities Month and for resources you can use in your own awareness month campaign, visit the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN).

For more information on Developmental Disabilities, please visit the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.