Do you know a child with a developmental disability? Even if no one comes to mind, you almost certainly do!
According to the CDC, about 1 in 6 children aged 3-17 years in the United States have a developmental disability. This includes disabilities related to intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, and other developmental delays.
National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (D.D.A.M.) is an important time to recognize and raise awareness about the challenges faced by people with developmental disabilities. This month, we stand together to support individuals with developmental disabilities and to break down the barriers that prevent them from fully participating in their communities.
WHAT IS A DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITY?
A developmental disability is a term used to describe a group of conditions that typically begin in childhood and affect an individual’s physical, cognitive, social, and/or emotional development. These disabilities can be caused by a wide range of factors, including genetic, environmental, and other unknown factors.
Developmental disabilities can vary widely in their severity and impact on an individual’s life. Some common types of developmental disabilities include intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
People with developmental disabilities may require ongoing support and services to help them participate fully in their communities and achieve their goals. This may include things like medical care, educational accommodations, and community services that help individuals with disabilities to live as independently as possible.
BARRIERS FACED BY THOSE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
People with developmental disabilities face numerous barriers in society, including negative attitudes and misconceptions held by many. These prejudices can lead to exclusion from schools, jobs, and other social activities, making it difficult for individuals with developmental disabilities to fully participate in their communities.
One of the biggest barriers to inclusion is the lack of access to resources and support systems that are essential to their success. Without access to these resources, individuals with developmental disabilities may struggle to access the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers, limiting their potential for success.
However, it is important to remember that people with developmental disabilities have unique strengths and abilities, and they are capable of making significant contributions to their communities. With the right support and opportunities, they can lead fulfilling lives, benefit others, and achieve their dreams.
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT THOSE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
We can break down barriers for those with developmental disabilities by promoting acceptance and creating opportunities for them to participate fully in society. This can be done by advocating for policies and programs that promote inclusion, creating jobs and opportunities for individuals with disabilities, share their experiences and perspectives, and educate others about the challenges faced by people with developmental disabilities.
Another way to promote inclusion is to increase access to resources and support systems that individuals with developmental disabilities need to thrive. This can include increasing funding for programs that support people with disabilities, ensuring that medical care and educational accommodations are available to all, and creating welcoming job training and employment opportunities.
EARLY INTERVENTION HELPS GREATLY WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
Early intervention is a critical tool in addressing developmental disabilities in children. This is a big focus for us at Kids On The Move, because when developmental delays or disabilities are identified and addressed early, children can receive the support and services they need to maximize their potential for growth and development. Early intervention is key for preventing complications or further pain down the line.
Early intervention can also help to improve outcomes for children with developmental disabilities over the long-term. Children who receive early intervention services are more likely to achieve better academic, social, and emotional outcomes than those who do not receive such services.
Early intervention can take many forms, including therapies such as speech, occupational, or physical therapy, as well as educational support and counseling for families. These interventions can help children to develop the skills they need to communicate, learn, and interact with the world around them, and they prevent a host of complications later on.
KIDS ON THE MOVE’S MISSION TO EMPOWER FAMILIES
Want to learn more about how we help families and individuals who struggle with developmental disabilities? We would love to talk! Learn more about Kids On The Move’s Early Intervention Program.
Kids On The Move is a nonprofit organization that provides support and resources to individuals and families impacted by developmental disabilities. The organization is dedicated to promoting inclusion and empowering children and individuals with developmental disabilities to achieve their full potential and live happy, healthy lives.
As we celebrate National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, let us all commit to breaking down barriers and promoting inclusion for people with developmental disabilities. Together, we can create a society that values and celebrates everyone just the way they are.