March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month seeks to raise awareness about inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all facets of community life and the challenges that people with disabilities continue to face. Join PYD in creating a world where young people with disabilities can live with dignity, purpose, and pride.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), developmental disabilities encompass conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. The conditions typically arise during a person’s developmental period, last throughout their lifetimes, and impact their daily activities. The CDC estimates that about 17% of children between 3-17 years old have one or more developmental disability, such as ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, intellectual disability, and other developmental

Studies show that hiring persons with developmental disabilities helps them develop professionally, improves their quality of life, and strengthens their self-confidence. Organizations benefit from diversifying their workforce, which leads to a more inclusive work culture and diverse clients. In turn, this improves employee loyalty, productivity, and

However, individuals with developmental disabilities continue to experience discrimination at work. Although the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination based on disabilities, according to the International Disabilities Rights Monitor, two out of three unemployed adults with disabilities cannot find a job. Disability discrimination comes in the form of harassment of hurtful comments, inappropriate interview questions, and illegal requirements of pre-employment medical exams. Employers also frequently fail to provide reasonable accommodation, including wheelchair accessibility.

Outside of work, disabled individuals encounter attitudinal, communication, physical, policy, programmatic, social, and transportation barriers when engaging in their communities, according to the CDC. Stereotypes, hurtful words, and inaccurate (and lack of) media representation result in abled individuals targeting the disabled. Children with developmental disabilities are more likely to be bullied in school and suffer permanent harm. Taxpayer-funded
programs and special education mandates are frequently cut whenever budget discussions arise. As a result, the disabled community is often not given an opportunity to succeed.

It’s crucial that Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, proclaimed in 1987, raises awareness and challenges faced by the disabled community, along with actionable steps to end discrimination and support the disabled community.

To combat disability discrimination and raise awareness for the disabled community, PYD provides training services on disability inclusion in the workplace. Organizations can benefit from PYD’s customized audits and consulting, webinars on disability and inclusion, and guidebooks.

Additionally, youth and young adults with disabilities can gain confidence and pride in who they are through a variety of inclusive community programs. At PYD, these include mentoring, career readiness, theater arts, and leadership. If you’re looking for a mentor or you would like to volunteer as a mentor, contact PYD today. Inclusive, more diverse communities benefit us all.

This article was written by the BU PR Lab.