PNS Daily Newscast - July 20, 2018.  

Trump now wants Putin to visit the White House this fall; Also on the Friday rundown: health insurance rates to rise by almost 9 percent in California; and as the climate crises reaches “Zero Hour” young people take a stand.

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March Marks Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March 8, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa – In 1987, when then President Ronald Reagan declared March as the first Development Disabilities Awareness Month, there was little housing, social help or employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.

Since then, much has changed says Becky Harker, executive director of the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, such as the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and workplace acceptance of people with disabilities. What hasn't changed are the goals of the original declaration.

"People with developmental disabilities,” she says, “they have the opportunity to live, learn, work and play as valued contributing members of their communities."

Of the 7 million Americans with developmental disabilities, about 70,000 are Iowans. Harker says this month is not just for people with disabilities and their families.

"It's an opportunity for communities to really look at how welcoming they are for people with disabilities in terms of employment opportunities and housing options," she says.

Harker adds that over a quarter century after the first proclamation, school districts are faced with shrinking budgets, and sometimes they complain about special education mandates. Medicaid, which has funded many employment and community-based residential programs, is under fire and the current federal cutbacks threaten other programs that help those with disabilities.

Richard Alan, Public News Service - IA