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Are You Aware?

03/10/2016 Published by: Amy Soupene

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March marks Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed it so.  Much advancement has been made in the past 60 years.  Thankfully, we have moved well past the belief that children born with developmental disabilities were best raised in an institution. 

The landscape has changed because parents advocated for their children and what was in their best interest.  Today, children and adults with developmental disabilities go to school, play sports, learn music, acquire employment, and lead fulfilling lives.  This is all because of the tireless support and love of family and friends. 

Raising children requires equal parts stamina, optimism, and creativity.  Being a parent is more humbling, more fun, and more scary than practically any other endeavor in life.  I shake my head as I remember the most ridiculous arguments about the most ridiculous topics.  My heart grows with pride when I watch my children stand up for what they believe in and show compassion for others.  My eyes fill with tears when I watch them fulfill a goal.  Yep, parenting, there isn’t anything like it!

A parent of a special needs child experiences all the same love, hopes, and fears.  They also have a heaping measure of extraordinary challenges.  Delayed milestones, watching their child work so much harder to accomplish the same skill, endless doctor appointments and therapy mark the normal rhythms of their lives. 

Would they do it again?  You betcha!  Does it in anyway diminish the boundless love and savage protection they feel for their child?  Not one iota.

Throughout this journey, parents need resources to assist them as they navigate these waters.  Each diagnosis presents its own challenges, roadmaps, and expected outcomes.  Trusted doctors and organizations offer parents hope, encouragement, and education.

The non-profit, community-based organization, The Arc was founded in 1950.  There are more than 700 state and local chapters across the nation.  They offer services and supports to people with disabilities and their families.  To learn more, find your local chapter, or to get involved with their mission visit their website

The Arc has compiled a Toolkit for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.  It highlights the rights and accessibility of voting.  Click HereTo Visit the Toolkit 

Exceptional Parent Magazine has been in existence for over 40 years.  EP offers parents and family members, as well as helping professionals, access information and resources to help them on their journey. 

If you have a school-age child and are interested in what your state has to offer in the area of special education, please visit the SchoolQuest State Education Resources.  Each state is highlighted to help you find the information quickly.

And finally, the SchoolQuest Resource Library has a section devoted to Special Needs.  We offer a checklist to ease the transition if a move is in your future, as well as offering several other articles and resources.


Don’t let this month pass without raising your awareness of developmental disabilities.  Learn, share, volunteer – whatever way fits you, get involved. 

Best wishes,



***Help us get the word out about SchoolQuest™ by liking us on Facebook!   Please visit our Homeroom on-line community and join the discussion. We’d love to hear what your thoughts are about this important topic!  SchoolQuest™ is an initiative of the Military Child Education Coalition® (MCEC®).   Follow us on the MCEC® Twitter feed . . . for the sake of the child!  

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