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President Trump scraps planned talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Also on our Friday rundown: California lawmakers support and emergency hotline for foster kids; and boating is a booming business in states like Minnesota.

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March Marks Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March 11, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In 1987, when then-President Ronald Reagan declared March as the first Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, there was little in the way of housing, social help, or employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. Since then, much has changed, according to Becky Harker, who is with the Developmental Disabilities Council, with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and workplace acceptance of people with disabilities.

According to Harker, what hasn't changed are the goals of the original declaration.

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

Harker said March is a time for people to examine how they treat those with developmental disabilities.

"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."

Harker said 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.

There are some 7 million Americans living with developmental disabilities. Florida Governor Rick Scott recently proposed a $36 million increase in funding for people living with severe disabilities.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - FL