We at AWARE Inc., the Montana affiliate of The Arc, are proud to join advocates across the country to recognize March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. This month commemorates the progress in improving the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and highlights the challenges that remain in achieving full inclusion.
The Arc’s advocacy efforts were crucial to President Ronald Reagan’s signing of a proclamation in 1987 affirming that “Americans are becoming increasingly aware that such disabilities need not keep individuals from realizing their full potential in school, at work or at home, as members of their families and of their communities.”
This month we will join more than 700 chapters of The Arc nationwide and advocate with and on behalf of individuals with I/DD. Their right to live, learn and work as they choose must not be ignored. These individuals are our neighbors, colleagues, friends and family members and we must ensure that they have a fair opportunity to achieve their dreams.
While there has been much progress over the years, there is still much to be done. We hope the community will join our efforts and help us raise awareness.
Developmental Disabilities Month is our time to make a difference. To learn more about developmental disabilities, advocacy and inclusion, visit thearc.org and Apostrophe Magazine (www.apostrophemagazine.com). Together let’s change hearts and minds in March.