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National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month - WHAT YOU CAN DO

Thanks to the advocacy efforts of The Arc in the 80s, President Ronald Reagan officially declared March to be Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in 1987. For nearly a quarter of a century, The Arc and its network of 700+ chapters across the country, including (your chapter’s name), have fostered respect and access for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We have made tremendous progress in promoting and protecting the rights of people with I/DD and creating opportunities for them to live, learn and work as valued members of their communities. However, it’s time more people became aware of the challenges faced by more than 7 million Americans and their families as they strive to be fully included in society.

Join us during March to help raise awareness.

There’s a lot you as an individual can you do to raise awareness about intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) in your community. And, since March is I/DD Awareness Month, that’s the perfect time to do your thing – we encourage you to pick at least one idea from the list below and make that your personal effort to raise I/DD awareness during March.

• Post this as your status on Facebook at least once during March: March is Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) Awareness Month. Help me celebrate the contributions of all people with I/DD by copying and posting this as your status during March. Get more information about I/DD at www.thearc.org.

• Tweet this out on Twitter at least once during March: March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Be aware. Visit www.thearc.org.

• Write a post for your blog about someone you know with an intellectual or developmental disability and how they have inspired you.

• Since many people with disabilities rely on publicly funded services to fully participate in their communities, policy makers need to know you are concerned about continuing those services in the face of budget cuts during tough economic times. Contact your legislator today and let them know you expect them to enact public policy to assist people with I/DD.

• Contact The Arc of Somerset County to volunteer or donate. Local chapters are on the front lines of advocacy efforts and provide the services and supports essential to people with I/DD and their families. Often they are lifelines for struggling families and they need your help to accomplish their goals.

• Watch movies and TV shows that positively portray actors with disabilities and discuss them with your friends and family. Two actresses with Down syndrome are featured on the hit TV show Glee and were recently awarded The Arc’s Inclusion and Image Award for their positive portrayals.

• Talk to your employer about their practices for recruiting and hiring people with I/DD. Many employers don’t realize just how much an employee with I/DD can contribute to the workplace. Tell them.

• Support businesses that employ people with I/DD and make sure they know you noticed.