In 1987, Ronald Reagan designated March Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (DDAM). This offers an opportunity to recognize and admire the numerous contributions of people with developmental disabilities while also raising awareness about the needs and obstacles they continue to face.
Sunrise is focused on creating valued lives for people with disabilities through the supports and services we offer. However, our work does not end there. We encourage our staff to be allies and advocates for those we support every day. Now we would like to ask you to do the same!
Here are a few ways you can celebrate DDAM:
Advocate – It is essential to amplify the voices of people with disabilities. Being and acting as an advocate can sound like a challenging task, the reality is self-advocates and agencies have already done most of the work! You can expand on that by looking for resources and tools designed for advocates and sharing in as many ways as possible.
Donate – Donations are the bloodline for organizations like Sunrise to continue to provide supports and services to people with disabilities. Sunrise is not alone in striving to make a difference. Find an organization that resonates with you and donate as much as you can. If you can’t donate, spreading awareness is just as valuable.
Educate – Education is the key to advocacy. Whether you are learning about the history of disability rights, the importance of reasonable accommodations, or people-first language, it all makes a difference. If presented with an opportunity to educate someone on why the language they are using is offensive, take it. If presented with an occasion to teach someone about the intersection between disability and socioeconomic status, take it. If presented with the chance to help someone learn more about developmental disabilities, take it! No matter how small, take every opportunity as a chance to make a difference in someone’s life.
Although Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is only recognized in March, take it upon yourself to raise awareness every day!