Friday, March 14, 2008

March is Disability Awareness Month

March is disabilities awareness month. It is a time to raise awareness that people with disabilities want the same things that everyone else wants. Those “things” are friends, peace of mind (including freedom from abuse), to be valued through employment and service to their community and to have enough money to be able to live a quality life.

It is a month set aside to recognize the great strides in the care and treatment of people with disabilities moving from an understaffed institutional ward to independent and supported living.

During this month of March, be a friend to a person with a disability, consider hiring a person with a disability in your place of employment (there are supports available to train and coach) and recognize that people with disabilities are often the kindest and most compassionate people you will ever know. Including a person with a disability at any meeting changes the dynamics and changes the environment in positive ways. Welcome people with disabilities in to your business, your restaurant and your place of worship.

During this month of March, consider a career that includes working with people with developmental disabilities. There are opportunities in many fields and the gratification at the end of the day knowing you made a difference is tremendous.

During this month of March, there is one huge request. Help end the disrespect and cruelty targeted at people with disabilities by not tolerating the use of the word “retard” in any conversation you are a part of. Do not tolerate the derogatory use of the word “retard” by your children.

-Janice Fitzgerald, Executive Director Parent to Parent of NYS

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