In March of each year, the State of Texas recognizes March as Developmental Disabilities (DD) Awareness Month. Governor Gregg Abbott has again issued a proclamation this month as an opportunity to raise awareness of the role we all have in working together to make Texas more inclusive and accessible. The following is a repost from The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.
Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation recognizing DD Awareness Month, noting, “people with developmental disabilities have unique abilities and experiences that contribute to our state’s rich diversity and heritage, just like all Texans [and Texas] is a stronger place when people of all abilities are included in community life.” Study after study has shown how when you design for disability — you design for all. This can involve including people with disabilities in the general workforce and providing them with greater economic opportunity, through including students with developmental disabilities in the classroom with their non-disabled peers and increasing their chances to achieve their full academic potential, or simply enabling people with developmental disabilities to live in the greater community.
One easy suggestion for fostering inclusive communities is to pay attention to the words we use when talking with and about other people. Spread the Word (previously Spread the Word to End the Word) is celebrated on March 4th, and asks people to pledge to not use the r-word. Now in its eleventh year, Spread the Word asks everyone to pledge to spread the word about inclusion — by creating socially inclusive places to learn, work, and live we can remind everyone that people with developmental disabilities are valued members of society.
Language is powerful, so it is important to be respectful and thoughtful whether you’re talking to your neighbor or posting on social media. People First Language puts the person before the disability — instead of saying “a disabled person” you say “a person with a disability.” When in doubt, ask the person how they prefer to be identified! Be sure to take the Pledge for Inclusion and help spread the word about Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
For more information on disability awareness, please visit The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities and Workforce Solutions.
David Spears is a member of the Workforce Solutions Navigator team for the Texas Gulf Coast Region. Combining training and education to real world examples, David brings personal and professional experience with disabilities to the table in order to help job seekers with disabilities realize their potential. David has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with over 20 years of experience in the business world.