by Superintendent Leigh Anne Wenning
You may have seen billboards around Sidney announcing that March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Those billboards are just one way to remind our community that we are better when we include everyone, and people with developmental disabilities are unique and valued members of society.
National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month began in 1987 with a proclamation from President Reagan to bring awareness and acceptance for people of all abilities. One of our goals at SCBDD is to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all aspects of community life.
Developmental disabilities are defined as lifelong disabilities with an onset before the age of 22 resulting in functional limitations. That’s the definition of developmental disability, but the people we serve are so much more than a disability or a diagnosis.
The people we serve have rich, complex lives just like everyone else. They have dreams like living on their own, having a job they love, or owning a pet they have always wanted. And generally, they want the same things that everyone else wants. They want to be treated like valued members of the community. They want to be involved, or they just want their neighbors to say hello. They want to be seen as an individual and not their disability.
March is almost over, but this can be a reminder for every day of the year. Including everyone makes our communities better.
If you’d like to know more about what the Shelby County Board of Developmental Disabilities does or to be involved, please go to our website at www.shelbydd.org. Also make sure to follow us on Facebook (@shelbydd.org) and Instagram (@SCBoard_of_DD). If you have any interest in working in the DD field or becoming a Direct Support Professional, please call 937-497-8155 and ask for the provider specialist.