March is nationally recognized as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, proclaimed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan to “increase public awareness of the needs and potential of Americans with developmental disabilities.” The objective of this annual campaign is to create awareness about intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), advance the inclusion of people with IDD in every aspect of life and community, and remove barriers that these Individuals may face in accessing resources and connecting with their communities.
Stories shared throughout the month demonstrate that those challenges don’t preclude a happy, successful life. It is out of this campaign that the slogan, “See Me for Me!” grew several years ago – an appeal to look beyond an Individual’s disability and see them as the person they are – and now, an over-arching theme within the IDD community. Help celebrate and support your IDD neighbors and community members this month by wearing orange, the official color of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
This year Colorado’s Developmental Pathways and Access Gallery partnered to create a campaign themed “I can do more than I can’t,” to illustrate that IDD Individuals are far more than a disability. Watch this series of short videos, a product of the campaign, in which IDD Individuals and their parents share how determination and persistence have overcome obstacles and achieved goals these Individuals set for themselves.
We invite you to peruse a few of our previous blogs, which feature some of the incredible Individuals Evergreen Service Providers is privileged to work with. You’ll be inspired by how they are achieving goals, overcoming obstacles, contributing to their communities, and living fulfilling lives.
- Get to know Mark, Evergreen’s own Special Olympics Champion.
- Read about some of Evergreen’s Individuals who work and how they make a difference in both the community and their own lives.
- Learn how IDD is defined and more about the diverse interests and capabilities within Evergreen’s IDD community.
With an emphasis on inclusion in every aspect of life, support programs such as Evergreen Service Providers’ residential program, were developed to integrate persons with IDD into a home setting, the lives of a host family, and the community. Evergreen Service Providers staff works closely with involved family members and Community Centered Boards to create customized plans designed to enable each IDD adult to reach their maximum potential personally, and as a member of the community.
Notable dates and activities for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month include:
- March 14 – Denver’s Ball Arena (Pepsi Center) lights up, bathed in orange, in support of DD Awareness Month.
- March 21 – World Down Syndrome Day. The Downs community will be celebrating with 21 hours of dance while working to set a Guinness World record for the most people doing the Raise the Roof dance move online simultaneously. https://www.globaldownsyndrome.org/wdsd-2021-2/
- March 23 – IDD Policy Online Webinar 10:00 – 11:00 AM followed by a virtual luncheon 12:00 – 1:00 PM. Get details, RSVP, and live stream at alliancecolorado.org/IDDAwarenessDay
- March 23 is IDD Awareness Day! Wear orange and put into practice the following actions to help make your community more inclusive.
- Educate those with whom you live and work about IDD and the Individuals who live with its challenges.
- Hire IDD Individuals to work in your business.
- Take the lead with the organizations in which you participate to actively reach out and invite IDD Individuals to join in.
- When you have the opportunity to meet IDD Individuals, put the slogan, “See Me for Me,” into practice and get to know the person. You will find remarkable talents, unique perspectives, and big hearts that will enrich your life.
Evergreen Service Providers has been serving the IDD community since 1991. More than a service provider, we build lasting relationships with clients and their families. Executive Director, Barbara Myers, shares that, “We work to ensure dignity, stability and growth for IDD adults. The name ‘Evergreen’ was chosen because it represents lasting growth. Our mission is to help Colorado adults who live with developmental disabilities improve their quality of life and achieve their goals. We connect them with the perfect home setting – one that will promote lasting growth in mind, body, and spirit. We are here for the long haul, to walk with Individuals and their families on each step of their journey.” To learn more about IDD, family caregiver options, or becoming a host home provider visit www.EvergreenServiceProviders.com.
Other Valuable References/Resources:
American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD)
The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)