10 Ways You Can Take Action During Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Disability Awareness Month

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan made a public proclamation that the month of March should be recognized as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to “increase public awareness of the needs and potential of Americans with developmental disabilities.”  A lot has changed since then: more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are living and thriving in their communities, there are more opportunities in education and employment, more protections in health care, the legal system, the list goes on.

However, while there has been a significant change over the past three decades, many challenges remain for people with IDD. Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is a time to raise awareness about the barriers that people with IDD still sometimes face in connecting to the communities in which they live.

Here are ten ways that YOU can help and make Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month more meaningful:

  1. Become familiar with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD).

    If you aren’t familiar with what a developmental disability is, that’s OK – what a great opportunity to become aware and learn about differing abilities! Common developmental disabilities include Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Neural Tube Defects, and others. You can learn more about developmental disabilities here.

  2. Identify and celebrate heroes in your community. 

    Think of someone with a developmental disability in your community. Consider asking them or their family if there is anything that you can help with, or merely express your appreciation for the contributions they make to your community. Making even a small effort can pave the way to greater awareness.

  3. Move beyond awareness.

    Learn how you can help. Don’t stop at just being aware: Work to become accepting and inclusive. Find ways to contribute to the advancement of the disability community by researching local disability service providers and asking them if you can help. Support businesses that employ people with disabilities and make sure they know you noticed. Or, talk with your employer about hiring a person with a disability.

  4. Volunteer.

    Our volunteers are vital to the ongoing success of The Arc of San Diego. As an organization, we do everything to ensure you have the best experience volunteering in our programs. View our available volunteer positions to find the opportunity that is right for you.

  5. Advocate.

    You can be an advocate for people with disabilities by contacting your State and Federal Representatives. See what issues we’re advocating for and find which State and Federal Representatives correspond with your local Arc Center! Learn more about advocacy here.

  6. Donate.

    By donating to The Arc of San Diego, you will assist with ensuring our ability to deliver quality services. Your gift today helps people with disabilities learn essential life skills, fulfill their personal goals, and reach their maximum potential. Click here to donate.

  7. Use People First Language.

    Make sure that your own words and actions are respectful of those with disabilities. Learn more by reading our People First Language Guide here.

  8. Learn about our services.

    Let your friends or loved ones know how they can benefit from nonprofit organizations like ours by learning more about our services here.

  9. Follow us on social media.

    You can help increase disability awareness simply by connecting with us on social media, or by signing-up for our E-Newsletter. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.

  10. Share your story.

    If you have a photo, video or story of inclusion, share it on your social media platforms with the hashtag #DDAwareness2022. Whether it’s inclusion in the workplace, in the school or in your community, share it with your followers to spread awareness. For even greater impact, reach out beyond your current, everyday followers. Consider following, messaging or tagging your local legislators, businesses, schools, news stations and more. You can engage your whole community in the conversation.

These are just a few examples. Browse the resources at The Arc of San Diego and discover more ways you can support us and empower people with disabilities. Watch our video below to learn more about the significance of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month!