March is National Developmental Disability Awareness Month

More than 25% of Americans have a disability. That's over 82 million people, more than the entire population of France. 

That's why Developmental Disability Awareness Month exists. But do you know about everything this event involves? There are all kinds of fun events and fundraisers that contribute to the central cause.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this event, as well as how you can support great causes while looking good. 

Developmental Disability Awareness Month History

This amazing event began in February 1987. On that date, President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation dedicating March to raising awareness for disability causes.

This came after several years of campaigning from activists and politicians. These groups felt developmental disabilities were commonly misunderstood in America. It was decided that an event was required to promote general understanding. 

The event quickly caught the imagination of the American public. Events were held across the country, often informed by the views of local disability rights campaigners. 

The Basics

This awareness event is quite broad and was designed to be as inclusive as possible. Different organizations may celebrate the month in their own way. Businesses, schools, hospitals, and all kinds of other organizations may tailor specific events to their local community's needs. 

The event champions inclusion. It's all about creating a world where people with developmental disabilities have the freedom to live good lives. It's also about helping to create equity between all people.

This event should not be confused with National Disability Employment Awareness Month. That event takes place in October and is primarily focused on the extra difficulties disabled people face in the working world. 

What is a Developmental Disability?

Developmental disabilities occur during a child's early years when their brain and body are still developing. When someone has a disability like this, they may miss certain developmental milestones. For example, it may take them longer to walk or talk.

These issues may persist throughout a person's life. This can lead to problems in finding work or cultivating relationships.

Different Types of Developmental Disabilities

National Disability Awareness Month aims to raise awareness of different types of disabilities. So, let's take a look at the different kinds of disabilities.

There are lots more different types of disabilities that can affect a person. Some people may be affected by more than one. This can present an extra set of challenges in a person's life. 

Intellectual Disabilities

Intellectual disabilities can come in many forms. A person with this kind of disability may struggle to understand social cues or have difficulty solving problems.

People with these issues may have a hard time living independently and taking care of themselves. Or they may face extra hurdles in education and employment. 

Invisible Disabilities

Not every disability is easily noticeable. Invisible disabilities may impact a person's life without being obvious to others. Examples of invisible disabilities include:

  • Neurological issues like dyspraxia and autism
  • ADHD
  • Problems with hearing and sight loss
  • Other developmental delays

Many people who suffer from invisible disabilities are stigmatized. They may be challenged by members of the public for using disabled facilities, such as parking spaces. Some people with cognitive disabilities have been arrested when in a state of confusion. 

That's why disability awareness is especially important for people with hidden disabilities. 

Visual Disabilities

Visual disabilities are extremely common throughout the world. These can range from minor sight loss to full blindness.

In some cases, blindness or sight loss is curable. In other cases, it is permanent. Either way, this can be a life-altering disability. Extra provisions are often required for people with limited eyesight. 

In recent years, efforts have been made to increase awareness of visual disabilities. A large proportion of blindness is easily treatable with surgery. However, many people cannot afford the necessary operation. 

Hearing Impairments 

Another common disability is hearing impairment. People living with this disability may face a range of added challenges in day-to-day life. They may find it difficult to communicate with friends and loved ones, or they might find their 

Hearing impairments can range from partial hearing loss to complete deafness. Developmental Disability Awareness Month helps to raise funds for effective treatments


Common events include film screenings, fun days, parades, and much more. Sometimes these events will be held to get the community involved in proceedings. They can also improve knowledge of disability rights issues. 

Check your local government listings for events near you. Local authorities and community groups often run events throughout the month. 

On a more serious note, this month is also a time for businesses and other organizations to take stock. They can reflect on whether they are accessible to disabled people.

It's all about going further than the minimum standards laid out in the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law may only require businesses to have basic facilities for disabled people.

But some businesses may choose to go further. They could create special policies for disabled service users and giving staff training on disability awareness. 

Support a Great Cause

Make a difference this March and beyond by participating in Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. There are countless ways to get involved if you're looking for more than just raising awareness.

Shop our selection of t-shirts, beanies, and other apparel knowing that each purchase brings much needed help to those currently experiencing hardships via rotating charitable donations. It's the perfect way to look good while feeling even better about doing right by your community!