March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to get familiar with what developmental disabilities are, and the many ways in which people with and without disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities!
Here are three things that are important to understand about developmental disabilities:
In the United States, one in six children has one or more developmental disabilities (DD) or other delays. If that number seems unbelievable to you, consider that not all developmental disabilities are obvious. In fact, most of them aren’t.
The term “developmental disability” refers to conditions that affect the development of children. While the symptoms often appear in childhood, sometimes they’re not noticed until they start to impact one’s daily life.
Diagnosed conditions can be physical, such as cerebral palsy, physical and mental, such as Down Syndrome, or even a condition that affects learning abilities. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Intellectual Disability (ID), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are also considered developmental disabilities.
This is why it’s so important to remember that disabilities are not always visible. You might even have someone in your life who’s living with a disability without your knowledge!
With the right accommodations, interventions, and supports, individuals with DD can become engaged members of their communities and reach their fullest potential.
Living with a developmental disability doesn’t prevent someone from enjoying a fulfilling and productive life. For many, this includes the desire and opportunity to work, earn a paycheck, and actively contribute to their community!
Remember, we’re all more alike than different. Someone may learn and do things differently than you, but they can still be a valuable asset in the workplace. In fact, individuals with disabilities make excellent employees across a range of industries. Research shows that hiring people with disabilities is a smart move for companies that want to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace, reduce turnover, and improve customer loyalty.
Want to learn more? Read our Success Stories to learn more about the positive employment experiences shared by individuals Ohio Valley Goodwill has been proud to serve over the years.
Unfortunately, harmful stereotypes, attitudes, and misconceptions about disabilities still persist in our society. But the more you understand about people with developmental disabilities, the more you can appreciate the many gifts and talents they have to share with our communities!
Many people are uncomfortable with what they don’t understand. So, the simple act of educating yourself is a great first step to becoming an advocate! Challenge your assumptions and be respectful of individuals with disabilities by using person-first language, speaking out against stereotypes, and supporting full inclusion in your community.
Did you know? You can also lend a helping hand just by donating to Goodwill or shopping at your local Ohio Valley Goodwill store! For over 100 years, Ohio Valley Goodwill has been helping people with disabilities embrace their fullest potential through community employment — and your thrifting trips and donations help make it possible!
Creating employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities makes our communities stronger as a whole. It can also provide valuable education for employers who open their doors to an inclusive workplace, inspiring other employers to do the same. It’s a win-win!
Learn more about Goodwill’s mission to provide people with supports and opportunities to empower themselves and thrive through training, development, and employment — and locate your nearest Ohio Valley Goodwill retail store or donation site to support job seekers in your community!