During Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March, north Iowans impacted by a developmental disability are encouraged to speak up about the challenges they face. Rick Shannon with the Iowa Disabilities Council says more than 47,000 people in Iowa have a developmental disability, which restricts their ability to function typically in their day to day life. He says advocates want to know more about the challenges these individuals face so they can receive better support.
This year’s theme is “Side by Side,” and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities is raising awareness by having folks with and without disabilities share their experiences learning, working and living side by side. Stories can be submitted at nacdd.org or posted on social media at #DDawareness17.
Shannon says much progress has been made over the past several decades to help individuals with developmental disabilities control their own path and live independently. But he explains there are challenges that may erode these opportunities, most notably proposals that would change Medicaid into a block-funding program.
State leaders are working to develop a way to continue funding services at the county level before the law for regional mental health funding sunsets this year.