In addition to Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, March is also Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

In 1987 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed March Developmental Disabilities Month. Back then, the goal was to destigmatize developmental disabilities.

The goal of 2019’s campaign is to spread awareness. More specifically, we want to promote respect for people with disabilities while educating others.

Many don’t realize the abilities of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). By showing examples of people with developmental disabilities thriving alongside people without, we can help end negative stereotypes.

What Is a Developmental Disability?

Sometimes you can see a person has a disability. For instance, they may use a wheelchair. Other disabilities you can’t see or easily recognize. For example, you may not be able to tell that a person has a cognitive challenge that affects someone’s ability to speak, learn or interact with others.

Developmental disabilities can affect how the brain thinks (cognitive) and how the body moves (physical). Sometimes, it can affect both.

How to Spread Awareness About Developmental Disabilities

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), the Association of University Center on Disabilities (AUCD) and National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) need your help. Each year they partner together to create a social media campaign for Developmental Disability Awareness Month.

This year the messages they want to share are contributions, inclusion and togetherness. More specifically, they are requesting photos and stories about people with and without disabilities living alongside one another. From photos and videos to stories, they will share these resources to explore topics such as employment, accessibility, inclusion, community living and more.

Read on to learn how you can help with this social media campaign.

1. Share Your Photos, Videos and Stories on Facebook and Twitter

If you have a photo, video or story of inclusion, share it on your social media platforms. Whether it’s inclusion in the workplace, in the school or in the community, share it with your followers to spread awareness.

2. Use the Hashtag #DDawareness19

Whenever you post your message of inclusion on your social media platform, make sure you use the hashtag #DDawareness19. By using this hashtag, we can link all the inclusion posts.

3. Spread Your Message Beyond Your Everyday Network

For an even greater impact, reach out beyond your current, everyday followers. Consider following, messaging or tagging your local legislators, businesses, schools, news stations and more. Engage your whole community in the conversion!

4. Upload a Cover Photo That Celebrates Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Whether you use this year’s Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month art or a photo that highlights inclusion, make it your Facebook cover photo. By making it your cover photo, you’ll give it more consistent exposure as it will be on every post you make.

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