The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities, TCDD, and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are encouraging Texans to make it a priority during Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to connect with those who have developmental disabilities, DD, and create more inclusive communities in Texas.
In partnership with the national awareness month campaign organized by the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, TCDD leads the awareness initiative for Texas.
“This DD Awareness Month takes place at a particularly important, pivotal time as our state continues to cope with ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recovery from recent winter storms,” said Beth Stalvey, Ph.D., TCDD executive director. “We hope everyone will make a point to learn more about the vital contributions of the DD community and take action to shape a more inclusive and equitable future for Texans with disabilities.”
Andy Crocker, AgriLife Extension statewide program specialist in gerontology and health, Amarillo, said DD Awareness Month is consistent with AgriLife Extension’s mission to help Texans better their lives.
“This month, we are prioritizing efforts to bring our research-based, practical, applicable education to Texans with DD and their families,” Crocker said.
In Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s official proclamation declaring March Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, he states, “An estimated 480,000 children in Texas have developmental disabilities. The hopes and dreams of these young Texans do not differ from the aspirations of all Texans — to be self-sufficient, work and earn a living, practice their faith, and help support their community. Like all Texans, people with developmental disabilities have unique abilities and experiences that strengthen our state’s rich diversity, and throughout our history, these Texans have made significant contributions that make the Lone Star State a better place for us all. … When inclusion becomes a way of life, Texas’ communities thrive.”
AgriLife Extension, TCDD partnership outreach
The AgriLife Extension and TCDD have partnered to create a statewide presence to reach and support individuals with disabilities, caregivers, partners and providers in the communities where they live and work.
The partnership’s six regional coordinators offer multiple resources to AgriLife Extension that include:
- Education and trainings on issues important to individuals with DD and their families.
- Coalition building and connections with partners who serve individuals with DD and families.
- Guidelines for inclusive programming for individuals with DD.
- Assistance with marketing, promotion and outreach to individuals with DD in your communities.
In addition to activities at the state level, AgriLife Extension county agents in the Family and Community Health Program have the opportunity to engage in capacity-building and asset-mapping activities in their local communities, including identifying local resources and supports for persons with disabilities and local proclamations related to DD Awareness Month.
During March and throughout the year, TCDD and AgriLife Extension look forward to helping communities across Texas build capacity to support people with developmental disabilities to be fully included in their communities and exercise control in all areas of life.