Did you know that of adults 65 or older, 36% of them have at least one type of disability? What’s interesting is that there are 21 different types of disabilities and there is one among seniors that isn’t talked about as much as you might think. For those 60 or older, at least 46% of this population has a known disability.
Aside from sensory-impaired disorders or behavioral-related disorders, there are also developmental disorders. These types of disabilities are considered to be a grouping of conditions that are caused by impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavioral areas.
Developmental disabilities are something that will happen during the developmental phases of life but they can affect the day-to-day functioning of someone for a lifetime. Let’s learn a bit more about developmental disabilities, what it impacts with age, and how you can help to raise awareness and even learn more for yourself.
This Month of Awareness: What Does It Mean?
For many, March marks a time for renewal, a fresh start, and hope for a brighter year as you head into spring. While this is true for most, it is also a time to raise awareness for those with developmental disabilities who have had to endure the struggles of navigating their daily lives with determination, grit, and courage while overcoming their disability.
National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month started in 1987 and was designed to aid people with disabilities in gaining greater access to resources, opportunities, and assistance within their local community. This time of awareness actually derived when President Ronald Reagan issued a public proclamation encouraging Americans to provide those with developmental disabilities the opportunities and resources they needed to live the lives that they wanted, productively and with independence like anyone else. This month presents an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the contributions of individuals and organizations across the United States working to support and raise awareness of developmental disabilities, those that are part of this population, and those that know someone who is.
Today, people with developmental disabilities are able to get the information and support they need to lead independent and productive lives in the way that they see fit. The point is to show that no one is left alone without the resources they require or without the support they need. For seniors that still suffer from something that was developed earlier in life, it’s important they are recognized throughout this month and shown appreciation by their community, family, and friends.
What Can This Type of Disability Impact?
Developmental disabilities can greatly impact a person’s life, affecting their ability to participate in any level of activities. It is important to consider the multitude of ways these disabilities can manifest and affect a person’s life, and that different individuals have different levels of a disability. This is why it’s essential to provide necessary assistance, services, and support to help anyone with this type of struggle regardless of the level of difficulty they experience. This can help facilitate and empower people with disabilities to achieve their goals and live with fewer limitations and hurdles.
During this month, it is important to recognize, celebrate, and acknowledge the vast accomplishments of people with developmental disabilities as well as the current and ongoing accomplishments of families, friends, educators, and professionals. Successful events, such as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, help to create a more inclusive and open-minded community.
As today’s society continues to address issues of equality, National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month remains an important reminder of our shared commitment to assisting those with developmental disabilities. By celebrating this day in respect and appreciation for what members of the community with disabilities contribute and accomplish each day, we can work together to ensure that all members of society have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.
Adults with developmental disabilities can take a number of steps to enhance their independence. These can include attending independent living courses taught by professionals and attending self-advocacy workshops. Additionally, seniors in Florida with this concern can participate in recreational activities, such as adaptive sports, to strengthen their physical and mental capabilities.
Also, don’t overlook job coaching resources to help with job searches or reentering the workforce. There is also a range of resources that will often be accessible in your own community, such as support groups and public transportation services, to help remain connected and supported. All of these steps contribute to a greater sense of self-reliance and autonomy for adults with developmental disabilities.
How to Raise Awareness for Developmental Disabilities
During the month of March, there are a number of ways to show support and awareness for National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Individuals and organizations can host workshops, seminars, and fundraisers focusing on issues faced by those with disabilities and how to address them. People can also take the time to learn about the unique abilities and needs of those with disabilities, and how to provide them with the support and advocacy they need. Businesses can even get involved by creating job opportunities for those with disabilities, providing them with the chance to contribute to their local economy. Businesses can even donate a portion of their earnings throughout the month or on a specific day to a cause that supports those with developmental disabilities.
You, yourself can also donate to local organizations advocating for the rights and opportunities of those with disabilities, or sign up to volunteer your time and skills. Any of these actions can help to further break down barriers faced by those with disabilities, advocating for a better understanding of this as people grow older and creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for those with developmental disabilities.