March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. President Ronald Reagan made the proclamation in 1987. During this month, people with disabilities are recognized for being an important part of society. People with disabilities work, attend school, buy homes, pay taxes, have families, and enjoy community events just like those without disabilities. Persons with disabilities makes up a significant percentage of the world and that number will continue to rise as soldiers return from active duty wounded.
Although, the world has gotten better with acceptance towards people with disabilities, I still believe we are sometimes underestimated.
I was watching the news and saw where a County Board was having a job fair. During the broadcast, an applicant was interviewed asking what she thought of the job fair. The applicant proceeded to say how she had been in the disability field for years and one must have compassion to work with those people. Who are those people? If she was referring to people with disabilities, I’m one of those people!
If people are not aware of or refuse to use people-first language, which means putting the person before their disability, should they have to go through disability awareness 101 classes before being hired in the field? Sounds like a major requirement to me. More importantly we, who have worked so hard to educate and spread disability awareness, want people assisting us to know our mission of acceptance.
I want the month of March to be celebrated with the accomplishments of myself and my peers.
Ohio Developmental Disabilities Advocacy and Awareness Day will occur on March 7th in Columbus at the statehouse. This is the day when advocates across the state come together and share stories of empowerment. Also, this day is set aside for many to meet with their elected officials to discuss issues impacting people with disabilities in hopes of seeing changes made for the better.
I’m honored, to once again been chosen to M.C. the advocacy and awareness’s day morning event. I must say, sitting among my peers listening to their empowering stories is one of the highlights of my year. Check out the live stream of this event at 10:00 am Eastern time at http://ohiochannel.org/live/special-events.
Remember, March is Developmental Disabilities month. Celebrate it by spreading the word of awareness, acceptance and empowerment. Let there be no division in how others view us for although we have disabilities, we are still just people.