Twenty-six years ago we successfully advocated for March to be declared National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. And, there is no doubt that we have made tremendous strides to promote and protect the rights of people with IDD to live, learn, work and play as valued and contributing members of their communities, the real strength of our message comes straight from the individuals we serve. No matter how effective our organization’s advocacy efforts may be, no one is as powerful an advocate for people with IDD as a person with IDD.
So, this year during March, The Arc would like to empower all individuals with IDD to appoint themselves as their own advocates. As a self-advocate, you can help take the movement for people with IDD to others in your community. It can start with a simple question. This March, ask everyone you meet: “Did you know that March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month?” That may spark a conversation – a teachable moment – when you can share your experience living with a disability with someone else.
All month, we’ll be working to raise awareness about the issues important to people with IDD. As a self-advocate, you can help us “turn up the volume.” Take this opportunity to empower yourself and empower someone else with some of these simple suggestions:
- Find a local chapter of The Arc and get involved. Or donate to or join The Arc at the national level.
- Consider attending The Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C. in April. Each year we spend two days covering current public policy in depth to prepare you for a third day on Capitol Hill actually meeting with your Members of Congress and discussing the issues.
- Help us raise awareness about what’s important to the IDD community and why. Read these suggestions for getting the word out and get more information about IDD at www.thearc.org.
- Sign up for The Arc’s Action Alerts to keep your finger on the pulse of the movement for IDD.