President Ronald Reagan declared March as Disability Awareness Month in 1987. Wayne Arc has used March as a month of education and promoting respect for people with developmental disabilities ever since.
This year, Wayne Arc is going into local school districts to lead activities with students to teach them about life with a disability. The agency also is participating in social media campaigns, podcasts and other media projects.
About 54 million Americans — 1 in 5 individuals — have a disability. Approximately 9,800 of those people live in Wayne County. They are moms, dads, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends, neighbors, coworkers, students and teachers; they are just like everyone else. It is crucial that more people are comfortable being around individuals with disabilities in their communities.
Wayne Arc supports more than 1,700 people with and without disabilities. That number continues to grow as more people commit to creating better homes, jobs, programs and opportunities for individuals with disabilities. This starts with everyone in the community celebrating people of all abilities, simply by respecting others.
The goal is that influencers in the community partner with Wayne Arc to spread the message of inclusion and acceptance for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities so they know they are valued. Wayne Arc is starting this initiative with People First Language, which highlights the person rather than the disability. For example, people should say, “He has a disability” rather than “He is disabled.” This suggests that his disability is not what defines him, but rather something that just happens to make up part of his whole person.
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