In 1987, President Ronald Reagan designated March as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The month focuses awareness on the potential of citizens with developmental disabilities to work, contribute, and enjoy typical lives, and asking Americans to provide the “encouragement and opportunities” vital for them to reach their full potential. Programs supporting employment opportunities and inclusion into the community began to develop for people with developmental disabilities, with the goal of being able to lead secure, productive, and self-directed lives.
During this decade, the self-advocacy movement takes hold, a personal and political philosophy of and by persons with developmental disabilities. This movement has its roots in civil rights, but expands on areas specific to persons with developmental disabilities. The right of an individual with developmental disabilities to make their own decisions, speak for themselves, and take control over their lives were of utmost importance to movement leaders.
Photo Source: Chillicothe Gazette, Ross County Board of DD