As we enter the month of March, it’s time for us to learn a little about Developmental Disabilities. March was proclaimed as a Developmental Disabilities Month by then President of America, Ronald Reagan in 1987 to eradicate workplace discrimination against people with disabilities under the “Americans with Disabilities Act” in 1990. This gave new impetus to career assistance programs and “supported employment began to emerge”. Despite all these changes, misconceptions remain in society. So, let us understand more about developmental disabilities.
Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions that due to impairments in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. “These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime.” (Rubin & Crocker, 1989). These limitations usually occur during infancy or childhood as delays in reaching developmental milestones or as lack of function in one or multiple domains, including cognition, motor performance, vision, hearing and speech, and behavior.
Major developmental disabilities include:
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Cerebral palsy
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
- Learning or intellectual disabilities
- Hearing loss
- Vision impairment
- Other developmental delays
Historically, individuals with disabilities have been stereotyped in many ways. Myths and misconceptions about disabilities are still common today. Lack of information, segregation, false perceptions, and isolation have perpetrated a lot of these stereotypes.
Every year, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) runs a campaign for Developmental Disabilities Awareness month to raise awareness about these disabilities, promote inclusion, and share stories of individuals with disabilities. NACCD encourages the public to share stories, photos, videos, and resources about topics such as education, employment, and community on social media throughout March – using the Twitter hashtag #DDAwareness. The main purpose is to celebrate and improve the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities.
This year as well, we encourage everyone to share their own stories on social media platforms and celebrate the same with the community. Let’s break the myths and misconceptions, and celebrate this month with courage and unity. We send you a lot of love!
Developmental Disabilities: Delivery of Medical Care for Children and Adults. I. Leslie Rubin and Allen C. Crocker. Philadelphia, Pa, Lea & Febiger, 1989.
Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/developmentaldisabilities/facts.html
Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: Promoting inclusion.