Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March - Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

March is Developmental Disabilities
Awareness Month

As Catholics we are called to always be aware of and respond to the needs of people who feel marginalized. However, months dedicated to particular issues of awareness offer the opportunity for enhancing attention and education.   March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.  When a person lives with a disability or condition, the whole family is impacted. The term "developmental disabilities" is a broad category thatClick hererefers to an often lifelong disability occurring before the age of 22 that can be intellectual, physical, or both.  For more information click here. 
Having a developmental disability does not minimize a person’s ability for meaningful participation in the Church.  Yet as Church we do not always appreciate the many different forms of gifts that come from the people of God.   At times we are too impatient to appreciate the richness the diversity of the human family provides. 
Mother praying with child in church.
Take a few minutes to watch this video, A Life Like Yours to see the many ways Maddie shares the gift of her presence, talents and interests: Let us be more aware of the richness and diversity within our Church and world.
A Life Like Yours: Maddie's Story
Consider proactive steps your parish or diocese can undertake to build awareness and create communities where meaningful participation thrives.  Visit http://ncpd.orgfor a wide range of resources.

March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day

(for more information, visit https://worlddownsyndromeday.org/wdsd-2016)
As we see from the A Life Like Yours video, Maddie has a rich life.  Her faith is important to her, as are her family and friends.  But as mentioned in the video, lives are threatened each day by the reality of prenatal diagnosis and abortion. 
Up to 90% of pregnancies in which Down syndrome or a similar condition is detected end in abortion.  Check out this link for information on a webinar and toolkit resources available from NCPD on this topic:  http://ncpd.org/webinars/prenatal.  Learn more about Be Not Afraid (and on Facebook ) and other ministries available in numerous dioceses that support families when they receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome or other disabilities or life-threatening conditions.