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March 2018 Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Gov. Haslam Issues Proclamation
Tuesday, March 06, 2018 | 01:48pm
“Disability is a natural part of the human experience that does not diminish the right of individuals with developmental disabilities to live independently, to exert control and choice over their own lives, and to fully participate in and contribute to their communities through full integration and inclusion …” 

 - Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000

Governor Bill Haslam has once again signed a proclamation designating March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.  Governor Haslam and the Tennessee disability community wish to recognize the valuable contributions made by individuals with developmental disabilities who live, work, play, vote, volunteer and build relationships in our local communities.

“In Tennessee, we have a fundamental belief that all means all, so when we talk about increasing workforce opportunities, that covers everyone,” Haslam said. “The Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, working with the Department of Human Services and the Department of Economic and Community Development, has worked really hard to put programs together to match employers with people with disabilities and appropriate skill level jobs – and it’s working. Along with the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, we are focused on a common goal: empowering those with disabilities to contribute their skills and talents to our workforce and communities.”

The proclamation states “Tennessee is committed to recognizing that every person, regardless of perceived ability, has valuable strengths, infinite capacity to learn and make decisions, and the capability to make important contributions to their communities if given opportunities to do so”.  Many individuals with developmental disabilities and their family members still face enormous barriers in accessing needed services and supports they need to be active and included members of their communities alongside their neighbors without disabilities.

 Wanda Willis, executive director of the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, shared: “Tennessee is recognized as a national leader in how our state agencies, disability organizations and private citizens collaborate and work effectively together to improve services, supports and opportunities for Tennesseans with disabilities and their families. Our state should be proud of the progress we have made in ensuring that Tennesseans with disabilities can be as independent as possible and fully participate in their communities.”

Check out the video below of our Council on Developmental Disabilities members reading Governor Haslam's DD Awareness Month proclamation last year!

Learn more about how communities and states across the U.S. are celebrating National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month through the Side by Side social media campaign!