Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month - Join Us In Celebration

What is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month?
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan issued Proclamation 5613 declaring March as National Developmental Disablities Awareness Month.  This was done through advocacy efforts of The Arc (then known as The Arc of the U.S.) 
President Reagan stated in the proclamation: "New opportunities have been created through the efforts of those with developmental disabilities and their family members, along with professionals and officials at all levels of government. Working together, they have brought about significant changes in the public perception of young people and adults with developmental disabilities, opening new doors to independent and productive lives."  To read Proclamation 5613 in full, please click here:  Proclamation 5613.
Many changes and improvements have been made in the last twenty-five years, but there is still much to do to improve the lives of individuals with developmental and other disabilities.  The Arc of Orleans County asks that you join us in celebratation of the individuals that we support as they fulfill their hopes and dreams.

Facts about Developmental Disabilities
Developmental disabilities begin anytime during the developmental period and usually last throughout a person's lifetime.  Most begin before a baby is born, but some can happen after birth due to an injury, infection, or other factors.
Developmental disabilities occur among all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.  Recent estimates in the US show that about one in six, or about 15%, of children aged 3 through 17 years of age have one or more developmental disability. 
Having a disability does not mean that a person is not healthy or that he or she cannot be healthy.  Being healthy means the same thing for ALL of us - getting and staying well so that we can lead full, active lives.
Skills such as taking a first step, smiling for the first time, and waving "bye-bye" are called developmental milestones.  Children develop at their own pace, so it's impossible to tell exactly when a child will learn a new skill.  If your child is not meeting the milestones for his or her age, or if you think there is a problem with your child's development, talk with your child's doctor or health care provider and share your concerns.  Don't wait!! 
Information above provided by the Center for Disease Control.  The CDC is a federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services.  For more information, articles, multimedia and tools, go to: Center for Disease Control website - Developmental Disabilities Homepage.

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