By Ricki Walters, Regional Diversity Trainer/Investigator Ricki_Walters

April is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. It’s also Autism Awareness Month and Asperger’s Syndrome Awareness Month.

According to the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration, “Over 6 million individuals in the United States have developmental disabilities. A developmental disability, according to the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, is defined as a severe, chronic disability which originated at birth or during childhood, is expected to continue indefinitely, and substantially restricts the individuals functioning in several major life activities.” ( - Retrieved 3/18/2013)

Often, our society sees the limitations that people with developmental disabilities may have, rather than seeing what they can do and accomplish. During April, it’s important for all of us to take a “person first” approach, and see the whole person (including the individual’s interests, and hobbies, and work skills, and personal skills) instead of just seeing the disability.

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