Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: Beyond the Conversation

Brooke Phillips, CWCMS
Editor | Shield HealthCare
02/28/23  1:10 PM PST
Developmental Disabilities Awareness

What Are Developmental Disabilities?

Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions that come from a physical, learning, language, or behavior impairment that manifests before the individual turns 22. These conditions usually last throughout a person’s lifetime and can affect everyday living. Recent estimates in the United States show that about one in six (17%) of children aged 3 through 17 years have a one or more developmental disabilities. Currently more than 6 million individuals in the United States are living with developmental disabilities.

Those with developmental disabilities are often seen as a “block” of people, rather than millions of individuals, each with unique dreams, goals, passions and skill sets. Every person with a disability is a unique individual who is someone’s child, brother, sister or spouse; they are coworkers and clients, business owners and neighbors, students and classmates. They are artists and designers, much like the artist who crafted the artwork above*.

Each March, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) and partners work together to highlight the many ways in which people with and without disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities. As a partner organization who serves many children, youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Shield HealthCare is committed to promoting inclusion and raising awareness of the barriers that people with disabilities often face in connecting to our communities.

Beyond the Conversation

The theme for Developental Disabilities Awareness Month 2023 is “Beyond the Conversation.” After important conversations about awareness, inclusion and barriers to inclusion have taken place, what comes next? What actions are we taking? What are communities doing to create change? The time for talking is over; now it is time for us to act to create this change.

*NACDD is focused on highlighting the artwork created by people with disabilities. The artwork for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is from artist Jamila Rahimi, with her permission, and is also featured at local DC studio Art Enables.

See links below for more information and ways to support individuals in your community with developmental disabilities:

Who to Follow on Social Media:


Suggested Podcasts:

  • BoggsCast – A podcast by The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities.
  • Disability Visibility – A podcast hosted by Alice Wong featuring conversations on politics, culture, and media with disabled people.
  • Disarming Disability – The podcast’s mission is to powerfully deconstruct disability through candid conversations with experts exploring topics related to disability. This podcast looks to educate, empower, voice, and build a more inclusive society.
  • Down to the Struts – Qudsiya Naqui is a lawyer and activist living in Washington DC. She identifies as a blind, South Asian woman, and is dedicated to making spaces and systems more inclusive of disabled people through public education, storytelling, and amplifying the voices of disabled people.
  • Included: The Disability Equity Podcast – A podcast from the Johns Hopkins University Disability Health Research Center that challenges stereotypes of disability by sharing stories, data, and news.
  • Including You: A Disability Rights Arkansas Podcast – Disability Rights Arkansas is focused on guidance for people with disabilities – navigating your rights, things that help with your everyday life, and navigating the complex systems of how to get the support you need.
  • OurView: Disability Awareness – OurView aims to raise awareness, educate, and change the tone of conversations about disabilities, and those who live with disabilities.
  • The Accessible Stall – A podcast by Emily Ladau and Kyle Khachadurian. This podcast keeps it real about issues within the disability community.
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