During March, we celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (DDAM), an annual event recognized across the country. DDAM serves to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in community life and shines a light on the obstacles people with disabilities continue to face. In 1987, when President Ronald Reagan signed the Presidential proclamation declaring March “National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month,” he wrote:
“I urge all Americans to join me in according to our fellow citizens with such disabilities both encouragement and the opportunities they need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential.”
This was an essential step in bringing attention to the needs and potential of Americans with developmental disabilities. The 2022 theme is “World’s Imagined,” which can help us look at new and ever-evolving opportunities for people with disabilities. It encourages us to analyze intersectionality and intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) as we look at how people with I/DD are living longer and more productive lives than ever before.
During DDAM, we should highlight the importance of inclusion, togetherness, and the contributions of people with developmental disabilities. Throughout the month, we should focus on building awareness by getting people with and without disabilities to share their experiences and stories about living with each other. We can focus on education, employment, community integration and living, accessibility, and inclusion.
Everyone has a story to tell, and we encourage you all to do so. Below are some ways to celebrate:
- Share on Social – Use the hashtags #DDAwareness2022, #DDAM2022, or #WorldsImagined to share your posts or stories with the community!
- Wear something orange – Orange is commonly associated with energy and positivity. It also happens to be the official color of DDAM.
- Donate – Give a gift in honor of someone special.
- Outreach – Contact your local policymakers and tell them you want to see legislation that will benefit people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.