“Now, therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of March 1987 as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. I invite all individuals, agencies, and organizations concerned with the problem of developmental disabilities to observe this month with appropriate observances and activities directed toward increasing public awareness of the needs and the potential of Americans with developmental disabilities. I urge all Americans to join me in according to our fellow citizens with such disabilities both encouragement and the opportunities they need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential.”
What is a Developmental Disability?
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
· Brain injury
· Cerebral palsy
· Down syndrome
· Fetal alcohol syndrome
People 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.
In the IDS Independent Living Program, support is provided to adults with developmental disabilities who desire to live on their own and be part of their local community. IDS works in partnership with the individual, family members, guardians, and case managers to provide customized in-home services that reflect the individual’s wants and needs.
Direct Support Professionals work one-on-one with each individual, maintaining a close and continuing relationship to keep each person mentally stimulated, socially engaged, and emotionally strong, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Ultimately, the goal is improve their quality of life.
What do people with Developmental Disabilities want?
It’s my hope and my goal that people in the community will start to see my clients as individuals with their own hopes, dreams, and aspirations and not stereo type, but greet them and see them as a individuals and part of society just like everyone else.”
Candace, IDS Direct Support Professional