Dear Friends and Colleagues,
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (DDAM), a month where we celebrate the coming together of people with and without disabilities to form strong diverse communities. It's a time to demonstrate and share how people with disabilities live full lives doing the same things that people without developmental disabilities enjoy while, at the same time, recognizing the barriers they sometimes face and must overcome to participate. In short, DDAM is about inclusion but it's also about acceptance.
So how do we come together and raise awareness in a year where we are still grappling with a global pandemic and we can’t physically be together? We bring the celebration online. This March, we are hoping you will join us as we launch our community dance project, Dance for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Why dance? Because dance is a universal form of expression that all of us can enjoy, whether we are young or old and regardless of what our abilities are. Dance, as the great dance choreographer Martha Graham said, is the "hidden language of the soul."
We are inviting YOU to join us in helping to raise awareness about developmental disabilities by participating in Dance for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Share a short video of yourself dancing alone or with others in your home or outside to a song that you think inspires inclusion or togetherness. Check our website to see the video our team and some of the people we support have shared to get your creative juices flowing. You can send your video to [email protected] so we can post it on our social media accounts, or share it on your own social media accounts using the hashtags #DanceforDDAM #DDAM2021 and #NYSOPWDD.
While we might not be able to dance together on the same dance floor this year or even in the same room, we can still Dance for Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month virtually and, in doing so, raise awareness together. So, let's dance!
Theodore Kastner, MD, MS