DD Awareness Month 2014 – A New Era of Inclusion

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, or DD Awareness Month. It’s a time to celebrate inclusion in schools, workplaces and local communities. Communities are stronger when they include everyone. What does it take to create inclusive communities? It’s not hard, but it does take everyone.

Summit DD believes that there is greatness in all of us. We offer a lifetime of support to more than 4,000 adults and children with developmental disabilities across Summit County. We provide the personalized supports that empower people to work toward their dreams. Whether you’re the parent of a child with special needs participating in story-time at your library, a teenager exploring future career possibilities, or an adult practicing self-advocacy, we’re here to help.

“People with disabilities can do what others can. It may take them a little longer, but with the support of others, they can achieve their goals,” stated Henry, an Olympian-in-training. Henry, who was born with a chromosome disorder, was able to tap into supports such as Summit DD, to conquer many hurdles. He has now even earned a spot in the U.S.A. Special Olympics this June.

There are as many stories as there are people with disabilities, but every one starts with a goal. The stories cross all ages and demographics, but each person has access to the full support of Summit DD to achieve the goals that are right for them. Programs and supports such as Early InterventionCommunity Partnership for InclusionService and Support Administration (SSA)Community Employment servicesTransportationResidential supports, and Center-Based services work together to create a customized support structure tailored to fit each person’s unique needs – and help each individual achieve his or her dreams, like Henry.

“We need to take on a leadership role in the community to make our neighborhoods a welcoming place for individuals with developmental disabilities.  Everyone benefits when that happens,” Summit DD Superintendent, John Trunk explained.

So what does it take to create inclusive communities? It takes recognizing the greatness every individual has to offer, and creating supports that enable each person to feel success. Together, with more than 200 partners and the support of Summit County residents, Summit DD is working to ensure that people with disabilities experience the full benefits of community. We are passionate about those we support. We believe there are great things ahead as we seek to create a new definition of community – one that includes everyone.  We invite you to join us in celebrating DD Awareness Month in March – and throughout the year. Get inspired by stories of greatness.

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