Written by: Superintendent Leigh Anne Wenning
March is celebrated nationally as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. At the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities, we want to shine a light on people of all abilities. People with developmental disabilities (DD) are our friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family members; and our community is stronger when we include everyone.
In 2023, people with developmental disabilities have the option to live, work, and play just like everyone else. People with DD live in their own homes, go to jobs that they choose, have meals out with friends, and even go to college. One of our jobs at the Shelby County Board of DD is to assist them in navigating these life choices and coordinate the needed supports to help them meet their goals. In fact, the #1 goal in our strategic plan is related to inclusion.
We all can make small efforts to educate ourselves and think about ways we can be more inclusive with people of all abilities. A few ways to do this are:
1. Watch a documentary on the lives of people with disabilities.
2. Contact the Shelby County Board of DD about volunteer activities or ask what you can do to be involved.
3. Talk to a community member with disabilities about their experiences and what is going on in their life. (I bet you will find that their experiences are very similar to yours.)
4. Read about disability advocacy online. The Shelby DD website or a simple google search on Ohio developmental disability resources can give you a variety of online documents.
5. Follow DD organizations or advocacy groups on social media as well.
We do have a special awareness activity going on this month at a couple of our local schools. essay contest at Sidney City Schools and Fairlawn Local Schools. Participating students were asked to write an essay about their experiences with inclusion. Winners will be selected and will receive a gift card for their efforts. We appreciate the support from our local schools in Shelby County.