Moving beyond disability awareness: Providing care AND respect

March 27, 2012

"We all have a responsibility to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive not only our care, but our respect. It is time to move beyond awareness," said Commissioner Sharon Lewis, Administration on Developmental Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in an article  recognizing March as Disability Awareness Month.

In her article, she stated that the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act considers the issues of "self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration and inclusion in all facets of community life" for individuals with developmental disabilities and that there is a presumption that this includes respect for people with developmental disabilities. Lewis pointed out, though, that where respect is lacking, self determination and independence are often denied. "Integration and inclusion without respect become merely symbolic. As we celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month 2012, it is clear we have achieved much over the past 50 years, but we still have far to go before we can claim full success," said Lewis.

Read more: From Awareness to Respect