Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan issued a public proclamation making March National Disabilities Awareness Month. Since that time, March has been recognized as an intentional period for individuals and organizations in the US to create opportunities to learn about developmental disabilities, ways to address barriers that people with developmental disabilities may face, and promote disability inclusion. 

At the Tillamook Family Counseling Center, we are dedicated advocates for people with developmental disabilities, and strongly support the need for understanding, encouragement, and opportunities to help our people lead fulfilling, impactful lives in our community. TFCC has an entire division dedicated to the care, advocacy, system navigation, housing, legal support, and other services that promote the well being and success for people experiencing developmental disabilities.

“From my perspective, people living with a developmental disability are just that: people,” said David Richmond, TFCC’s Developmental Disabilities Program Manager. “They are our family members, our co-workers, our friends, and our neighbors. I have had the tremendous opportunity to live, interact, and work with our population for my entire life. I have many stories about people in our developmental disability population rising to the occasion during important moments or for important events. People enrolled in our program have stepped up and been key contributors to get information for home or vehicle modifications or adaptive equipment they need because many of them know what works best for them. I’ve seen so many of our people accomplish their goals and dreams. Things everyone can relate to, like saving up and making sacrifices to purchase a home or working hard to pay for a dream trip to Hawaii, come to mind.”

  • What are developmental disabilities?
    A developmental disability is a disability diagnosed as a mental or physical condition, or a combination of mental and physical conditions resulting in significant impairments to daily functioning. Developmental disabilities occur from birth to the first few years of development, and usually last someone’s entire life. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “about 1 in six children in the US have one or more developmental disabilities or other developmental delays.” The most common developmental disabilities include  intellectual disabilities, down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and fetal alcohol effect or fetal alcohol syndrome.

  • National Disabilities Awareness Month
    National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) holds a campaign each year to further progress the work being done to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities. The theme for March 2023 is “Beyond the Conversation,” acknowledging that once we understand the need for positive change supporting the rights of people with disabilities, what actions can we take? To begin, NACDD suggests following the below organizations on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc., to find out ways to get involved.

  • Developmental Disability Services Provided at TFCC
    The Tillamook Family Counseling Center’s Developmental Disabilities Team provides access to local, regional, and statewide resources for children and adults who experience a developmental disability. In addition to comprehensive case management and service coordination, our staff assist with early intervention and phase of life transitions. Our team will work closely with eligible individuals to ensure needs are addressed in a comprehensive and collaborative manner utilizing a variety of strategies.

“While people’s abilities can vary, some of the core needs of human nature remain the same; such as the desire for communication, interaction and engagement. Often, it is more about if and how others make a concerted effort to understand and engage people living with a developmental disability than anything else. I would encourage our community to engage people with a developmental disability in Tillamook County and see their talents, listen to their passions, and develop new friendships with their neighbors,” said David Richmond.

To learn more about the developmental disabilities services provided at TFCC, visit the Developmental Disabilities webpage, or call (503) 842-8201.

-Published February 27, 2023