March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and Adelante is celebrating people with developmental disabilities and the positive impact they make all month long. First, our teams wore orange for Inclusion Day. It’s a tradition that is growing across the country to wear orange on March 1 to show support of people with developmental disabilities. Inclusion Day celebrates people with DD being included in work, housing, activities, sports, clubs, and the community in general.
Of course, all year long we appreciate that we are all better off when we are part of strong, diverse communities. That definitely includes people with DD. From the start and throughout our history, developmental disabilities have been a key part of Adelante.
Adelante Began by Supporting People with Developmental Disabilities
In 1978, a group of parents who had adult sons with autism had an innovative idea. During this time, many people with disabilities lived isolated lives in institutions. These parents, desired independence, rights, choice, and respect for people with disabilities. Therefore, they started a new nonprofit, which they called the Teaching Home. The original program, in Albuquerque, offered education and training in a home for these six men.
Over the years, Adelante began to support people with different kinds of developmental disabilities. People with Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and more. As we began to support employment and other programs beyond the home, the name changed to Adelante. Adelante is the Spanish word for ‘forward’. That’s what our mission is all about — helping people set goals and move forward in their lives. Our full corporate name is Adelante Development Center, so you could say development is our middle name! At that time, it was a novel idea to have people with disabilities out in the community and learning. Adelante has always been innovative and sought new ways to support people with disabilities.
It has been proven by many studies that early intervention and real-life learning make a huge difference in the lives of people with disabilities. However, people with DD still face barriers to employment and they aren’t as included as we’d like them to be in clubs, sports, or other aspects of community. Working together, we can raise awareness about the inclusion of people with DD in all facets of community life, this month and all year long.
What are Developmental Disabilities?
According to the ARC of Indiana, the US Government defines disability by several different factors. Many times developmental disabilities are the kinds people are born with or have onset in early life. These include causing functional limitations in 3 of 7 areas like self care, learning, and economic self-sufficiency.
Developmental disability is a broad term, with many different disabilities under it. For example, cerebral palsy, autism, and Down syndrome are a few that fall under this term. Over six million people in the US have a developmental disability. About 32,000 New Mexicans have developmental disabilities. They are your friends, neighbors, maybe even your coworkers.
Like everyone else, people with developmental disabilities want to have a purpose, expand and share their talents, and be part of our community. To do this, they need family and friends by their side. Many of them want to live as independently as possible. All in all, they want to belong. Adelante is there with support services that help with these goals.
DD Support Services Adelante Offers
Adelante offers a wide variety of services for people with developmental disabilities. Those include: employment, residential support, vocational training, life skills training, and more. We also offer some helpful community resources such as free durable medical equipment like wheel chairs and walkers.
Our residential support services range from 24/7 care in our homes to support through Independent Living for people who live in their own homes or apartments or who would like to work toward that level of independence. Adelante staff can help clients learn how to cook safely, clean, and do errands like shopping and banking.
For many of us, including people with disabilities, earning a paycheck and having a sense of purpose through a job is important. That’s why Adelante offers employment services to support that goal. First, our preference and priority is to help people with disabilities find competitive jobs in the community. We work with lots of local businesses on these options. Second, we want to make sure Adelante is modeling that people with disabilities can be great employees. Adelante Enterprises has multiple divisions providing jobs for people with DD who do shredding, scanning, retail work, mailing, janitorial work, and more.
The goal in every employment service is to make sure people have an opportunity to learn more and earn more as their abilities improve. Finally, we continue to evolve our employment programs. A great example is the new vocational training options are being offered by our DiverseIT team. They are helping people with disabilities get tech certifications and work toward IT careers.
Your Support is Needed for Developmental Disabilities Services!
Do you support inclusion? Do you want to see people with DD learn more, be connected to jobs, and become more a part of the entire community? You can support these efforts by hiring people with DD, including them in your clubs or friend groups, and encouraging others too, as well. Additionally, Adelante could use your support of our mission and programs.
This month, we are doing a fundraiser specifically for people with DD. Give today!
Check out this video about the importance of DD Services and what we offer at Adelante!