National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month + Celebrating Judy Heumann’s Contributions to the Disability Community
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. We celebrate this commemoration by uplifting and making a difference in the lives of the people we support every day. I also want to acknowledge the passing of Judy Heumann, a prominent disability rights activist. Judy was widely regarded as the “mother” of the disability rights movement. She was the first teacher in New York to use a wheelchair. Judy organized major disability rights demonstrations, spearheaded disability rights legislation, held senior government positions, and helped bring about a revolution in the way people with disabilities are treated. Read Judy’s obituary in the New York Times.
“Some people say that what I did changed the world. But really, I simply refused to accept what I was told about who I could be. And I was willing to make a fuss about it.” – Judy Heumann
Every seventh person alive today–more than 1 billion people in total–lives with some form of disability. At S:US we serve approximately 800 people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD), as well as neurologic and psychiatric disorders. With the right set of supports, people with I/DD can live in, work in, contribute to, and participate in the community. This happens over and over again – every time it does, we reap the benefits and become a better society.
Given the ongoing economic challenges we face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need employers to know that many people with I/DD are ready, willing, and able to do the work our country needs.
The month reminds us to reflect on the fact that we are all part of a broad spectrum of intellectual and physical functioning and pushes us all to be more understanding, compassionate and focused on the work we need to continue to do as we strive to help people reach their fullest potential by creating opportunities for meaningful relationships, full integration into the community and personal growth.
Lastly, please join me in continuing to support our collective effort at improving the lives of people with I/DD and their families today, this month and every month.