Statewide, approximately 178,000 adults and children have a developmental disability. To encourage more Michigan residents to understand developmental disabilities, Governor Rick Snyder has proclaimed March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Michigan.
The Developmental Disabilities Council within the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is encouraging Michigan residents to take the time to get to know someone with a developmental disability. Local self- advocacy groups, such as Michigan’s Regional Inclusive Community Coalitions, are hosting events to raise awareness of the many possibilities people with developmental disabilities have as well as public policies affecting people with disabilities.
“Michigan is making great strides in assisting those with developmental disabilities but citizens can get involved locally to do even more,” said James K. Haveman, Director of the MDCH. “We encourage Michigan residents to contact their local RICC to find more information about what they can do in their community to join, assist, or get to know someone with a developmental disability.”
A developmental disability is a severe, chronic disability attributable to mental or physical impairment, or combination of such impairments, which shows before the person is age 22 and is likely to continue indefinitely. It results in substantial functional limitations with self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living and economic self-sufficiency. Examples of a development disability include autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and epilepsy.
“Every day the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council advocates and educates about critical issues affecting people with developmental disabilities. This month marks a time when we look to a brighter future for people with developmental disabilities,” said Vendella M. Collins, Executive Director of the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council. “Communities can get more involved and become more responsive by embracing people with disabilities, encouraging system, and policy changes to better meet their needs.”
For more information about Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and to identify a RICC in your community, visit www.michigan.gov/ddcouncil.