News Room

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan declared March to be Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month after years of advocacy efforts from The Arc and the intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) community. A lot has happened in the nearly quarter of a century since the proclamation. As a movement, we’ve taken major steps forward in terms of attitudes and opportunities. Landmark legislation has addressed issues in education, health care and civil rights. Just recently, President Obama signed Rosa’s Law to remove hurtful terminology from federal legislation, demonstrating a shift toward greater respect for people with I/DD.

However, there is still much to be done. There are millions of people living with an intellectual or developmental disability (closer to 7 million now instead of the 4 million to which Reagan referred). And, their needs and wants have not changed dramatically since 1987 because they are the same basic needs and wants we all have. Opportunity. Respect. Self-determination. Simple things, really, but sometimes frustratingly elusive.

The Arc helps people with I/DD and their families by creating opportunities. We foster respect and protect the human rights of people with I/DD through the kind of advocacy that led to President Reagan’s proclamation. But, we can accomplish more together with a strong collective voice. So, we invite you to join us during March to raise awareness for I/DD and the challenges ahead. Throughout the month you’ll find posts on our Twitter and Facebook pages with some simple suggestions as to what you can do to help raise awareness. And, we welcome your comments now and always about why protecting and promoting the rights of people with I/DD is important to you.