March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: Beyond the Conversation
March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (DDAM), a national observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of developmental disabilities. This year's theme invites us to go "Beyond the Conversation" and recognize all of our accomplishments thus far, while also pushing ourselves to consider what more we can do. We must think bigger and bolder about how we can create a truly inclusive community for everyone.
What does Beyond the Conversation mean?
In this context, “Beyond the Conversation” refers to taking meaningful action to create lasting change within communities regarding accessibility and inclusion for individuals with disabilities. This can include advocating for better resources and services, creating educational campaigns about disabilities, or organizing events that focus on raising awareness and acceptance.
Why is DDAM important?
Awareness and understanding of developmental disabilities are key components in building an inclusive society. People living with these conditions face various challenges in terms of access to healthcare resources, education opportunities, employment support programs, and other essential services. By bringing attention to these issues through DDAM initiatives like “Beyond the Conversation”, we can help create real change that will positively impact people with disabilities and their families.
The Office of People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) is dedicated to creating an inclusive world where opportunity and freedom are accessible for all, no matter race, color, national origin, language preference, sexual identity or religious belief. Their 2023-2027 strategic plan focuses on goals that emphasize inclusion in every aspect of life as well as objectives that aspire to innovation and diversity which will be achieved through equity and healthy social change.
How Can You Get Involved?
There are many ways you can get involved in the effort to promote greater understanding and acceptance of individuals with developmental disabilities:
- Educating yourself about disability rights issues
- Volunteering for organizations devoted to improving access and quality of life for people with disabilities
- Hosting or attending events focused on increasing awareness at your school or workplace
- Participating in online conversations about disability rights topics
- Speaking out against discrimination wherever you see it
Participating in activities that bring attention to disability rights during DDAM is one step towards achieving equity and independence for all Americans with disabilities.
March is the perfect time to join us and become a part of something bigger! You can do this by following, sharing, and tagging us on our social media pages. Together we will make progress #BeyondTheConversation each day moving forward as well as into the future.
To further educate yourself on the National DDAM campaign, led by The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, explore more information here.