Advocates call for more awareness, education during Developmental Disabilities Month
DES MOINES — To recognize Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, state lawmakers have signed a resolution to raise awareness surrounding people with disabilities in Iowa. Advocates are calling for continued awareness and education about the issue.
This is the first time Iowa lawmakers have made an official designation for Developmental Disabilities Awareness month. Both the House and Senate passed the resolution.
Brooke Lovelace, Executive Director of the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, said disabilities can stretch across the population and often go unnoticed.
“A person with a developmental disability could be your co-worker,” said Lovelace. “It could be a customer that you work with. It could be your neighbor, classmates, friends, obviously family members. It really can touch everybody’s life.”
Lovelace said the council is asking people with developmental disabilities to share art work and other success stories to raise awareness of the positive impact they are having statewide.
Beyond the legislative resolution raising awareness, Lovelace said it’s important for people with disabilities to be heard, and for policy makers to seek their opinions when they are shaping legislation that may affect them.
“We’re also talking about how important it is that people with disabilities have a seat at the table,” said Lovelace, “and make sure policies that they may be recommending won’t have a negative impact on people with disabilities and so that’s part of the education that we are doing this month as well.”
Someone has a developmental disability if they have been diagnosed prior to the age of 22 and includes people who have autism, cerebral palsy, a learning or intellectual disability, or a vision or hearing impairment, among other things.