National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is recognized and celebrated each year during the month of March. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan recognized Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to “increase public awareness of the needs and the potential of Americans who face developmental disabilities and to provide the opportunities they need in order to live productive lives and to achieve their full potential.” According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, developmental disabilities are defined as impairments in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas, which include Autism spectrum disorders, Cerebral Palsy, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, intellectual or learning disabilities, hearing loss, vision impairment, and other developmental delays.
Recent estimates from the CDC show that in the United States, one in six children between the ages of three and seventeen have one or more developmental disabilities. Many private and public organizations, such as the CDC, work to better understand developmental disabilities by studying how common developmental disabilities are, who is more likely to have them and whether there are changes in the disability over time. Along with that, identifying the factors that put children at risk for developmental disabilities, studying the possible cause, and lastly, improving identification of developmental delays early on so children and families can get the support and services they need.
Ways in which National Disabilities Development Awareness Month can be celebrated and promoted is by wearing the official ribbon or clothing with the colors yellow and blue, writing about the cause in the local newspaper, talking about it on a radio news station, planning a training session to educate others about appropriate ways to interact with people with disabilities, start a discussion group to have open communication with the community and family members, participate in an annual walk, volunteer with organizations such as People First or Best Buddies, and lastly, talking about it amongst different groups of people whether it’s your family, friends, colleagues, or community to encourage acceptance among people with disabilities.
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