Updated: Jul 10, 2022
As we observe the month of March as the National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in the U.S., it becomes imperative to understand what development disabilities are and raise awareness about inclusion of people with disabilities.
Developmental disabilities are classified as impairments in learning and behavior, such as autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and impairments in physical and/or intellectual functioning such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and Down Syndrome. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person's lifetime.
As per the data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States about one in six, or about 17%, of children aged 3 through 17 years have one or more developmental disabilities including ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, intellectual disability, learning disability and other developmental delays.
Many federal and state agencies have their efforts focused on disability inclusion in policy making and leading support programs for the disabled individuals. Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCCD) is the state organization whose purpose in law is to encourage policy change so that people with disabilities have opportunities to be fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives. TCCD was established in state and federal law, is governed by 27 Governor-appointed board members, 60 percent of whom are individuals with developmental disabilities (DD) or family members of individuals with disabilities.
TCDD draws from the values identified in the federal Developmental Disabilities Act in evaluating and responding to current and future policy and funding issues that might affect the developmental disabilities community. It supports legislation that advances the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all facets of community life by eliminating barriers, creating opportunities, empowering people, and promoting innovation.
TCCD's public policy priorities and position statements focus on ensuring that Texans with disabilities have access to competitive and integrated employment opportunities. It promotes strict adherence to the state-adopted Employment First Policy by addressing barriers to community-based employment by expanding training, supported employment, and opportunities for advancement, including funding Medicaid waivers that offer employment supports.