NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Governor Bill Lee has issued a proclamation recognizing March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.
The proclamation reads, in part:
“All Tennesseans have valuable strengths, infinite capacity to learn and make decisions, and important contributions to make to our communities… Tennessee is therefore committed to supporting and equipping communities to become inclusive places for people with disabilities to pursue their goals and dreams.”
“This is a time to celebrate the contributions people with developmental disabilities are making in Tennessee, and to recommit ourselves to removing barriers to full participation in our communities and our state,”Council on Developmental Disabilities Executive Director Wanda Willis said.
“This celebration kicks off a year of big anniversaries in the disability community, from the 30th of the Americans with Disabilities Act to the 50th of councils on developmental disabilities like ours,” Willis said. “It’s a time to remember how far we’ve come, but also to rededicate ourselves to a more integrated and inclusive future.
“We work to support people with developmental disabilities in living the lives they dream of for themselves,” Willis said. “That vision requires all of us to work together.”
A developmental disability, according to the Developmental Disabilities Act of 2000, is defined as a disability which originated at birth or during childhood, is expected to continue indefinitely, and substantially restricts the individual’s functioning in several major life activities.
Examples include but are not limited to autism, traumatic brain injury, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and Down syndrome.
The Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities estimates that more than 108,000 Tennesseans have developmental disabilities, based on national prevalence data.