National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (D.D.A.M.), observed throughout March, is a nationwide event to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities and address the barriers that those with disabilities face. Inclusion is necessary since about 15% of the world’s population has a disability.

D.D.A.M. is about understanding the relationship between how people function and how they participate in society and ensuring that everyone has the same opportunities in every aspect of life to the best of their abilities. 

5 important facts:

  • Most developmental disabilities begin before a baby is born, but some can happen after birth.
  • Most disabilities are thought to be caused by a complex mix of factors, including genetics and parental health and behaviors.
  • About 15% (one-billion) of the world's population lives with a disability.
  • More and more people are living with disabilities due to demographic changes and increases in chronic health issues. 
  • Half of the people with disabilities cannot afford healthcare.

Why bringing awareness is critical: 

Bullying of students with special needs has become a serious and growing national problem. Some reports indicate that nearly 85% of students with special needs experience bullying.  D.D.A.M. is a time to create strategies and activities that help students better understand the needs and differences of their peers and their disabilities.  It is also helpful to educate our community that developmental disabilities may not always be physically evident. For example, some disabilities are visible, but cognitive challenges that affect how a person speaks, learns, and interacts are often not as easily recognized. 

How to observe National Development Disabilities Awareness Month:

  • Share on social media - bring further awareness.
  • Wear orange throughout the month - the official color of D.D.A.M.  
  • Put a smile on a child's face - show your support in any way you can.