Monday, March 3, 2014

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

This month is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and this year's theme is "Ability at Work."  Twenty-seven years ago, in 1987, President Ronald Reagan chose this month to encourage Americans to put away their stereotypes and provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to reach their fullest potential.  So this month especially, we are encouraged to recognize people with disabilities as valuable, contributing members of our communities.  As a way to participate and raise awareness, The Arc has planned for a National day out.  You can read more about it here.  They simply want to encourage people to go out and enjoy something fun on March 29th.

A few facts about Developmental Disabilities:
  • approximately 4.6 million Americans live with developmental disabilities
  • developmental disabilities are severe & long term 
  • can affect cognitive ability, physical functioning, or both
  • some may be purely physical (e.g. blindness from birth)
  • appear before age 22 & are likely to be life-long 
  • some developmental disabilities include: cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, & other neurological conditions
  • there are many causes, but a few include:
    • Genetic or chromosomal abnormalities (e.g. Down syndrome and Rett syndrome)
    • Prenatal exposure to substances (e.g. fetal alcohol syndrome)
    • Certain viral infections during pregnancy
    • Preterm birth

So this month, get active, and spread the word about Developmental Disabilities Month!

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