The month of March seems to be a HUGE month for raising awareness for our little loved ones with with limited abilities: CP, DD, Epilepsy... and those are the ones I know about & that are directly influential to my own 'lil man's life . Before the month wraps up, I have to recognize one all-encompassing awareness of developmental disabilities...
In 1987, then President Ronald Reagan formally declared this month of March as awareness month for the more than 4-million Americans who are living with some degree of limited abilities. One organization who has had a hand in making this awareness campaign grown over the years is The Arc :
A Leader in Disability Rights
We are the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. We encompass all ages and all spectrums from autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X and various other developmental disabilities. Strong National Presence
With more than 140,000 members and more than 700 state and local chapters nationwide, we are on the front lines to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families have the support they need to be members of the community.
Deeply Rooted History
The Arc was born 60 years ago from a grassroots movement of families working vigilantly to create services for children and adults who were being denied day care, educational opportunities and work programs.
Founded in 1950 , The Arc was comprised of a small group of concerned and passionate parents and community members who would be catalyst for changing the public perception of children with disabilities. For the past 60 years, The Arc has continued to grow and evolve along with the changing needs and issues people with disabilities and their families face.
Governed by a volunteer board of directors and managed by key staff of The Arc , we work passionately to uphold our vision that every individual and family living with an intellectual or developmental disability in the United States has access to the information, advocacy and skills they need to participate as active citizens of our democracy and active members of their community.
Really, if you're not aware of a local chapter of The Arc... please seek one out for guidance, support, assistance, and genuinely caring individuals to connect with. If there isn't one near you, find or become the motivated individual willing to create one.
In recognition of this month, The Arc blog shared this:
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month thanks to a 1987 Presidential Proclamation which was the direct result of the advocacy efforts of The Arc. A lot has changed since then: more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are living and thriving in their communities rather than institutions, there are more opportunities in education and employment, more protections in health care, the legal system and other areas of human rights, there are more positive and accurate portrayals of people with I/DD in the arts, the list goes on. But we must remember that many of those advancements were hard won. Self-advocacy and advocacy on behalf of those with I/DD was the impetus for many of the positive changes in our society, such as the proclamation that recognized DD Awareness Month.
It’s up to you to continue to advocate for respect, access and inclusion of people with I/DD. Take advantage of March to spread some awareness in your world. Learn more about the issues concerning people with I/DD and The Arc’s position on those issues. Learn more about public policy that impacts people with I/DD and contact your legislator. Since many people with disabilities rely on publicly funded services to fully participate in their communities, policy makers need to know you are concerned about continuing those services in the face of budget cuts during tough economic times. And, get involved. Find a local chapter of The Arc and volunteer or donate . Together we can continue to make a difference.
"People with developmental disabilities have a right to maximize their potential. So do their caregivers."