Developmental Disability Awareness Month is Opportunity to Understand and Embrace Differences

March marks Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, an important time to demonstrate support for people living with developmental disabilities.   

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in six children in the United States has a developmental disability of some kind. Yet, despite this prevalence, people with developmental disabilities often face stigmatization, discrimination, and marginalization in society.   

While developmental disabilities can impact a person’s ability to learn, communicate, and engage in everyday activities, individuals with developmental disabilities can—and do—live fulfilling lives, pursue their goals, enjoy social and family connections, and contribute to their communities in meaningful ways.  

The theme of this year’s Developmental Disability Awareness Month is “Beyond the Conversation.” How can we move from simply talking about developmental disabilities to taking meaningful action?   

There are many ways that a community can support people with developmental disabilities, including: 

  • promoting inclusion in all aspects of work and life;  
  • fostering social relationships and networking; 
  • offering resources and support; and 
  • encouraging ongoing advocacy.  

“Being the parent of a child with a neurological developmental disability, I see firsthand the struggles he faces every day with society,” said Marci Morris, Senior Director of Operations for ServiceNet’s Developmental and Brain Injury Services (DBIS) Division. “I have also seen the work he has done with therapists, specialists and more and am so proud of the amazing progress he has made.” 

“My career has been dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities, the passion behind that has only grown since his diagnosis,” Morris said. “I am so proud of every team here at DBIS and the work each person does to help promote inclusion, relationships and advocacy.” 

In supporting and empowering individuals with developmental disabilities, we all benefit. By helping to reduce stigma and increase recognition of the fresh perspectives, abilities, and talents people with developmental disabilities bring to the table, we open doorways of understanding that add value to our lives and communities. And when we invest in the well-being of people with developmental disabilities, we’re also investing in the future of our society.   

ServiceNet is a nonprofit mental health and human services agency based in Northampton. To learn more about ServiceNet’s programs and services or ways you can be involved, see our website, including developmental and vocational services. 


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