Monday, March 7, 2016

March is Developmental Disabilities Month!

See the Potential.

In 1987 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed March as "Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month." In the early 1970s, the public became more aware of a need for significant social change and the deinstitutionalization movement gained ground. Americans were encouraged by the presidential proclamation that people with developmental disabilities should not be kept from "realizing their full potential in school, at work or at home, as members of their families and of their communities."

It's been nearly 30 years since the proclamation, many steps have been taken, but there is still much to do.
Within our own agency, in just the past few years we've seen some big changes to some of our programs. A highlight of these challenges and changes is seen in our Supported Employment Program.
There have been many changes to laws and regulations regarding supported employment in the past few years. This has changed some of what we have been able to offer, but also given us opportunities to branch out and seek different options and ideas.
Supported Employment has seen a dream come true recently in the opening of the Snack Shack. Run by the supported employment program, the little shop of snacks and treats has been embraced as a great addition to the Arnold Gregory Complex. They have water, soda, coffee, and other hot beverages, lots of goodies such as chips, candy, breakfast sandwiches, fruit, and grab and go lunch items too!

Facts about Developmental Disabilities:
"Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person's lifetime.
A child's growth and development are followed through a partnership between parents and health care professionals. At each well-child visit, the doctor looks for developmental delays or problems and talks with the parents about any concerns the parents might have. This is called developmental monitoring. Any problems noticed during developmental monitoring should be followed up with developmental screening. Developmental screening is a short test to tell if a child is learning basic skills when he or she should, or if there are delays. If a child has a developmental delay, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Early identification and intervention can have a significant impact on a child's ability to learn new skills, as well as reduce the need for costly interventions over time.
Developmental disabilities begin anytime during the developmental period and usually last throughout a person's lifetime. Most developmental disabilities begin before a baby is born, but some can happen after birth because of injury, infection, or other factors.
Developmental disabilities occur among all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Recent estimates in the United States show that about one in six, or about 15%, of children aged 3 through 17 years have a one or more developmental disabilities, such as ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, intellectual disability, learning disability, vision impairment, and other developmental delays."
From the Center for Disease Control, a federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services. Click here for more information and links to further resources.

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