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March ushers in Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan issued a public proclamation that the month of March would be recognized as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to “increase public awareness of the needs and potential of Americans with disabilities.” Rights for the more than five million Americans who have a developmental disability were furthered with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.  

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health has played a significant role in advocating and advancing services for this vulnerable population. Yet, as many strides that have been made, challenges remain for individuals, and their families, who live with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences.

2018 campaign theme – ‘See Me For Me!’

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in six children – ages three through 17 – have a developmental disability. Developmental disabilities are considered impairments in physical, learning, language or behavior areas, and include autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Cerebral Palsy, learning or intellectual disabilities, and hearing loss or vision impairment.

This year, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) has shifted its focus to the importance of inclusion and living life side by side. This year’s theme, “See Me for Me!” emphasizes looking beyond someone’s disability and seeing them as a person, and not just a person with a disability. 

The NACDD will sponsor weekly promotions throughout the month that address important topics regarding the everyday lives of individuals with developmental disabilities. “See Me As Your Classmate,” “See Me As Your Co-worker,” “See Me As Your Neighbor,” and “See Me As Your Friend” are themes geared toward inclusion and the importance everyone plays in furthering quality of life for those with developmental disabilities. 

As part of the 2018 campaign, the NACDD is encouraging the public to participate on social media – using the Twitter hashtag #DDAwareness18 – by sharing stories of people with and without disabilities living and working together inclusively. 

Devereux’s efforts to promote inclusion

Devereux understands the importance of inclusion – ensuring that individuals have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential in their communities.   

“At Devereux, we are driven by our mission to unlock and nurture human potential in people living with emotional behavioral or cognitive differences. As part of this mission, we partner closely with the individuals and families we serve to help people with special needs become productive and personally fulfilled members of their communities,” said Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marilyn Benoit. “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is the perfect time to raise our collective awareness of this issue, so we can provide compassionate care and support to this vulnerable population and help these individuals fulfill their unique promise to the world. When they do, we all benefit.” 

As part of the organization’s comprehensive continuum of care, Devereux provides personal growth opportunities for children, adolescents and adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and emotional and/or behavioral differences. Programs include: 

  • Residential treatment settings provide resources – for those who may need 24-hour care – to help meet an individual's treatment, social and educational goals to improve quality of life with potential to return home to his or her family or progress to community-based residential living.
  • Community-based living offers more independent living options for individuals to reside within their communities, whether in group homes, lifesharing or supported apartments.
  • Outpatient/specialized services are designed to meet an individual's treatment needs in the least restrictive environment possible. Services may include: wrap around, respite, clinical and educational assessments, family counseling, medication management, and parent and sibling consultations.
  • Special education day schools offer innovative educational programs within a structured environment that prepare students for returning to their local educational communities.
  • Therapeutic foster care provides services to a diverse population of at-risk children and their families. Services range from intensive clinical intervention, traditional foster care, respite services and case management for children in the foster care system.
  • Employment and transition services: Devereux’s employment services and supports to transition-age youth and adults including prevocational training, community-supported employment and pre-employment day programs.  

Click here to learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.


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