On February 26, 1987, President Reagan called for all Americans to change their way of thinking about individuals with developmental disabilities and to embrace their differences and accept them as fellow citizens. He officially proclaimed March to be Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
The presidential proclamation states, “For many of these people with developmental disabilities there is now the prospect of a brighter future and greater opportunity. Americans are becoming increasingly aware that such disabilities need not keep individuals from realizing their full potential in school, at work or at home, as members of their families and of their communities.”
Today, IDS continues to empower, advocate, and improve the quality of life for adults with developmental disabilities by providing one-on-one customized services that foster independence and are unique to each individual’s needs. IDS respects each person’s right of self-determination and works to support their pursuit of activities that they find interesting, meaningful, and enriching.
“My life has changed since I’ve been with IDS. I just like living on my own with no one telling me what to do. I just like being independent. I’m on my own.”
Over 6 million individuals in the United States have developmental disabilities. A developmental disability, according to the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, is defined as a severe, chronic disability which:
- · originated at birth or during childhood,
- · is expected to continue indefinitely, and
- · substantially restricts the individual's functioning in several major life activities.
Examples of Developmental Disabilities include:
- · Intellectual/cognitive disability
- · Behavior disorders
- · Epilepsy
- · Autism
- · Brain injury
- · Cerebral palsy
- · Down syndrome
- · Fetal alcohol syndrome
Individuals with developmental disabilities often require life-long assistance with various daily living activities such as personal care, shopping, transportation, healthcare, schedules/routines, and money management.
If you or a loved one has a developmental disability and are interested in receiving services, contact the Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC) at 608.741.3600 to determine eligibility. Private payee services are also available. Contact IDS for more information at 754.5552.