Michigan marks 30th anniversary of Developmental Disabilities Month

To promote greater awareness and inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Gov. Rick Snyder has proclaimed March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Michigan.

Statewide, 180,000 adults and children have a developmental disability.

“All Michiganders have a lot to offer our society, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are often left behind,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. “During Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and all year round, we should focus on inclusion and helping everyone in our state live more self-determined independent lives.”

President Ronald Regan in 1987 proclaimed March as Developmental Disabilities Month. This year marks 30 years of learning, celebrating and acknowledging people with developmental disabilities. This year’s theme is “Side by Side” to illustrate that people with and without disabilities work, go to school, play and participate in their communities together.

“Every day the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council advocates for positive policies that create systems change for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This month we will continue the legacy to build bridges of inclusion,” said Vendella M. Collins, executive director of the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council. “This is a time for communities to come together, get more involved and become more responsive by embracing people with disabilities and supporting policy changes that affect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

There are more 5 million people in the United States with a developmental disability – defined as a severe, chronic disability attributable to mental or physical impairment, or combination of such impairments, which shows before the person is age 22 and is likely to continue indefinitely. It results in substantial functional limitations with self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living and economic self-sufficiency. Examples of a development disability include autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and epilepsy.

For additional information about Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and to learn how to celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness month, visit www.michigan.gov/ddcouncil.