Mar 4, 2024 | DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES, Disabilities, Special Needs, Special Needs Child


This annual event is celebrated to raise our personal and collective awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities into society and to address the barriers that keep them from full participation.


Q: How Do We Raise Awareness?

A: By smashing typical preconceived notions about people with disabilities. For instance:

  • One Forbes article reported that companies that employed more people with disabilities (PWD) “had 1.6 times more revenue, 2.6 times more net income and double the profit” of those that did not.
  • These companies, dubbed “disability champions,” were also 25% more likely to outperform their organizational peers on productivity, Forbes said.
  • These disability champions received more positive Glassdoor reviews related to their disability inclusion efforts than their industry peers.
  • The result: active recruitment of workers with disabilities is surging. Companies expect less turnover of these highly motivated individuals along with greater revenue, larger profits, and leaders who are capable and compassionate.


A: By Including All People, Regardless of Their Disability.

Travel: One way in which the world is embracing people with disabilities is in the travel industry. BBC recently reported that PWD is “the largest underserved minority in the country.”

The emphasis is on inclusion in travel, and the industry is focused on creating experiences for people with a variety of challenges, including cognitive challenges, mobility challenges, no or low vision, and hearing impairments. In addition to providing access to this underserved segment of society, the industry in 2023 was poised to reap a financial reward of more than $60 billion.

Smart Homes: Teams of experts are creating environments in which PWD can live more independently. One group in Sunderland, England, has created a smart home with a range of assistive technologies. Occupational therapists and technologists are working in the home to utilize and improve its features to assist people with a variety of disabilities.

Smart Cars: Autonomous driving vehicles or self-driving vehicles are providing a path out of shut-in status for PWD. Disability Scoop reported that one woman, Myrna Peterson, expects these automobiles “will be a ticket out of isolation and loneliness for people like her, who live outside big cities and have disabilities that prevent them from driving.” Peterson, who lives in northern Minnesota, helped bring a government pilot program with five self-driving vans to Grand Rapids. During the program, a person sits in the driver’s seat, ready to grab the wheel in case of error. However, the vans are computer-controlled 90% of the time. Since 2022, the vans have provided 5,000 rides with no accidents.


Increase in Developmental Disabilities and Treatment and Services

  • The CDC reported that the diagnosis of developmental disabilities in American children increased again in 2021.
  • Scientists and other experts are working to understand these conditions and ensure the children have appropriate services to address them.
  • Due to improvements in diagnosis, treatment, and services, outcomes continue to improve. For instance, the life expectancy of children with Down Syndrome has increased, and care for newborns with this and similar conditions has improved.
  • The CDC has two programs to help parents track their children to determine if they are meeting their key milestones. If addressed early, parents can improve the odds that their children will overcome developmental delays.


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