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Iowa Seeks Inclusion for Developmental Disabilities Month

PHOTO: With tens of thousands of Iowans living with a developmental disability, the push is on to make sure that communities statewide are welcoming and inclusive and services and supports are available. Photo credit: Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council.
PHOTO: With tens of thousands of Iowans living with a developmental disability, the push is on to make sure that communities statewide are welcoming and inclusive and services and supports are available. Photo credit: Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council.
March 27, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa - March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, and in Iowa the focus is on ways in which communities can welcome and include individuals with disabilities.

The month was established in 1987 by President Reagan to ensure that everyone can lead productive lives and achieve their full potential. Rik Shannon, public policy manager for the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, said much progress has been made since then.

"We have people with all types of developmental disabilities living, learning working and playing in communities in which they choose to live," he said.

Shannon said one of the efforts this month has been a series of community discussions on ways to be more inclusive, with the latest held Thursday night in Ames and another set for Monday in Spencer.

Despite the strides made in recent years, Shannon said there's still much more to be done to ensure that needed services and supports are available.

"So in March, we hope to raise awareness of the issues, the challenges that confront people with disabilities, those barriers to full community inclusion," he said, "and we want to celebrate the successes that they've enjoyed since that first Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month."

In Iowa, about 50,000 people live with a developmental disability.

More information is online at iddcouncil.idaction.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA