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March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
DDAM 2022 By Jon Taylor
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. DDAM 2022’s theme is Worlds Imagined. My initial thoughts around Worlds Imagined were “What Ifs…”
What if every person who had a disability:
- Had a job if they wanted one?
- Went to school where they wanted to?
- Lived where they chose to?
I could go on. You could too. But the longer I asked myself, “What If?”, I realized I was asking the wrong question. “What If?” is wistful. Wishful. Theoretical.
The right question is “Why Not?”. When someone with a disability is told they can’t have the career they’d like, or attend the same classes as their friends, or live where they want to, we all must ask, “Why Not?”. And if the only response is “Because they have a disability”, that’s the wrong answer.
The challenge for Worlds Imagined is simple. Stop asking yourself and others “What If?”. Start asking “Why Not?”. Start asking “Why Can’t We?”.
The bridge to Worlds Imagined to Worlds Realized spans a long chasm. And too many people will tell you that bridge can never be built. And to those people, first we say, “Why Not?”. And we then tell them, “I’ll wait you on the other side”.
About the Executive Director
Jon Taylor is the Executive Director of the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. Prior to joining Council staff, Jon was a retail field manager with a decade of successful experience in competitive, integrated employment. Over the last several years Jon has taken a progressively larger role in disability inclusion in Arkansas. He is currently the Co-Chair of Disability: In Arkansas and is the incoming Chair of the State Rehabilitation Council. In 2018 Jon was the recipient of the Distinguished Leadership Award for his work promoting and advocating the inclusion of Arkansas with disabilities into the workplace and community. Jon, his wife, and three children live in Conway.
About the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities
The Council is a federally funded state agency that promotes integration, inclusion and independence for Arkansans with developmental disabilities. Council members are self-advocates, relatives and/or caregivers of individuals with DD, state agency directors, and representatives from nonprofit and private organizations that serve Arkansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Council works to encourage self-advocacy; to remove barriers to information, services and support; to advocate for policy changes; to develop and support coalitions; and to educate community leaders. For more information about the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and its mission, browse more pages on this website GCDD.arkansas.gov, or call 501-682-2897. Follow the Council on Facebook and Twitter @gcddar. You can also find Arkansas GCDD on YouTube.
Find out more about DD Awareness Month 2022 here: https://gcdd.arkansas.gov/advocacy/detail/march-is-developmental-disabilities-awareness-month3
#DDAM2022 #DDAwareness2022 #WorldsImagined