By Kerry A. Delaney
New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities
The month of March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, a time for all of us to help raise awareness of, recognize and celebrate the people that the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities [OPWDD] was created to provide supports and services to in communities across New York State.
This year’s theme, “See Me, For Me” encourages people to focus on each individual and get to know people for who they really are, to look beyond the diagnosis. Here at OPWDD, we already know the extraordinary potential of individuals with developmental disabilities, but we want to encourage others to recognize people for their special abilities, not just during the month of March, but throughout the year. We all benefit when people of all abilities are included in community life.
While we pause this month to recognize the contributions of individuals with developmental disabilities in New York for their own personal talents and abilities, we should also recognize and celebrate the parents, family members, self-advocates, providers, staff members, direct support professionals and volunteers whose commitment and compassion help support people and help to positively change community perceptions of individuals with developmental disabilities. It is awareness, acceptance and understanding that provide individuals with the opportunity to make their own unique contributions to the community at large.
We encourage you to participate in the campaign launched by the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities in celebration of people with developmental disabilities, and don’t forget to add #DDAwareness2018 and #OPWDD to any of your social media messages!