Each March, Citizen Advocates celebrates Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The national movement started with a single presidential proclamation in 1987, calling for understanding, encouragement and opportunities to help people with disabilities lead productive and fulfilling lives.
Today, the month also serves to draw attention to the social impediments encountered by those with developmental disabilities.
There is a long history of limiting and segregating people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as underestimating their ability to understand their identity and denying them a sense of belonging. Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is a time to promote inclusion, celebrate diversity and recognize the contributions that individuals with developmental disabilities make to society.
Citizen Advocates provides a range of services and support to individuals with developmental disabilities, including residential services, day programs and employment services. In addition to helping people with disabilities interact with their communities, Citizen Advocates also supports self-advocacy efforts.
Self-advocacy offers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities an opportunity to demonstrate self-determination and empowerment and can serve as a form of community and belonging.
People with disabilities can be excellent self-advocates and advocates for others. They are the true experts on navigating life and society with a disability. Citizen Advocates encourages individuals receiving supports to grow as self-advocates by chairing a Self-Advocacy Group as an outlet for them to work together.
Presented bi-monthly by the Population Health & Planning Department, the Self-Advocacy Group allows individuals receiving supports to develop strong self-advocate skills and provide feedback on how to make their lives and the lives of others with disabilities better.
This March, join us in reflecting on the progress that has been made in promoting inclusion and accessibility for individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as recognizing the work that still needs to be done. The awareness raised during this month can help to support our efforts to achieve a more inclusive and equitable society for all.
For information on joining the Self-Advocacy Group, please contact Brittny Doty at email@example.com.