Developmental Disability Awareness

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Disabilities Awareness Month 2023 Artwork by Jamila Rahimi/Art Enables

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is a nationwide event to raise awareness about inclusion and addresses the barriers people with developmental disabilities face to ensure everyone has equal access to opportunities in all aspects of life.

President Ronald Reagan made a public proclamation – dedicating the month to increasing public awareness of the needs and potential of Americans with developmental disabilities in 1987.

That goal is the same in 2023 and focuses on the importance of inclusion and living life side-by-side.

This year’s theme is Beyond the Conversation, focusing on the question, “what next?”

April is Autism Awareness Month

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, according to Autism Speaks.

Autism isn’t just one thing-it is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is a combination of many different symptoms that cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.

We know that there is not just one catch-all autism stereotype, but many subtypes, most influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges and each person with autism is unique.

Two key characteristics of autism according to the National Institute of Health  are:

  • Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction
  • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities

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