We All Shine Brighter Together – Celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Smiling person with a developmental disability sitting on a park bench

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, a time for us to celebrate all the achievements made by and for people with disabilities, as well as look to the future and all we have yet to accomplish. It’s a time for deep reflection and big ideas—but it’s also a time to remember all the little things we can each do every day to continue raising awareness about people with disabilities in our own communities.

Special month began in 1987

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month was proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. The proclamation called upon all Americans to provide support and opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to reach their potential. In 1987, the idea that individuals with developmental disabilities could be productive contributors in the workforce was relatively new, and preconceptions had to be overcome. As the Americans with Disabilities Act came to be in 1990, workplace discrimination against individuals with developmental disabilities became a legally punishable offense. Although people with disabilities have made strides over the years, there is more that can be done.

Putting the people we serve in the spotlight

To kick off Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, four people supported by AbleLight traveled to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., to attend their first NASCAR race, the Auto Club 400, on Sunday, Feb. 27. This dream of a lifetime is a collaboration between AbleLight and Motor Racing Outreach to promote the urgent need to support and include this community.

AbleLight is also partnering with Kendra Scott, the nationwide fine jewelry retailer, as they host several Kendra Scott Gives Back Days in March, with 20 percent of sales coming back to support AbleLight’s work.

Education resources throughout the month

AbleLight is committed to using Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month as an opportunity to provide resources for people with disabilities and their families that help them live more independently. Our Empowering Independence webinar series will highlight two innovative ways people with disabilities are achieving greater independence with help from AbleLight; assistive technology and post-secondary education programs like AbleLight College.

Getting involved

Everyone can do more to support the disability community. Learn more about Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and AbleLight’s campaign and resources at AbleLight.org/BrighterTogether. The resource center will provide information and include details on various ways to support people with intellectual disabilities, including more information on AbleLight’s Brighter Together fundraising campaign, Kendra Scott Gives Back Days, and shopping and rounding up at AbleLight Thrift Stores.