In 1987, President Ronald Reagan declared the month of March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. His proclamation urged “all Americans to join me in according to our fellow citizens with such disabilities both encouragement and the opportunities they need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential.”
Orion ISO encourages everyone not only this month but every month to make an effort to support and celebrate people with disabilities. The advocacy efforts of many throughout the years have brought about great change and opportunities for people with disabilities. Here are 8 things you can do today to increase awareness and show your support:
- Get involved and advocate for important campaigns that impact the lives of people with disabilities. Check out our News Page for some of the latest campaigns going on in Minnesota or contact your local Arc. The Arc is the largest national advocacy organization with local chapters all across the US. They work year round to promote and protect the rights of people with disabilities.
- Contact your legislator directly. Since many people with disabilities rely on publicly funded services to fully participate in their communities, policy makers need to know about any concerns you have with the quality of these services, especially in the face of budget cuts. You can contact your legislator in person, by phone, e-mail or Twitter. Here is where to find them
- Help provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Talk to your employer about their practices for recruiting and hiring people with disabilities. Inform them that people with disabilities can be a valuable contribution to the workplace. Also be sure to support businesses that employ people with disabilities and make sure they know you noticed.
- Take the time to educate yourself and others about the needs of people with disabilities. You can lead by example, such as making sure your interactions with people with disabilities are appropriate, avoiding stereotyping and overcoming any fears you may have. Orion ISO is a great resource to help with this and we can direct you to other reliable sources of education. Contact us
- Post a supportive message as your Facebook status such as this: “I support and celebrate people with disabilities and you should too!” Like our Facebook page and share our posts to educate your friends. We post a lot of informative news articles and relevant advocacy information.
- Follow us on Twitter @orionisomn and tweet: “I support and celebrate people with disabilities and you should too! # disabilities” We tweet frequently about what’s happening legislatively, how you can be involved, the latest disability news and topics of interest. Our tweets are perfect to retweet out to your followers to show your support.
- Promote inclusion. Inclusion is an approach and attitude that ensures every person, regardless of ability or background, can participate in all aspects of social life. Be aware of activities going on at your school, church or in your community and find ways to help make sure they are inclusive to people with all abilities.
- Make sure that your own words and actions are respectful of those with disabilities. Talk to your friends and family about the harmful impact of using words that are derogatory towards people with disabilities.
- Write a blog post or share a story about someone you know with a disability and explain how they have inspired you or have impacted your life in a positive way. You can do this on your own or if you’d like to post it on our website, we’d love to feature it. E-mail us anytime or take a look out our Real Life Stories page to see examples.