DES recognizes March as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and is dedicated to helping individuals who have disabilities thrive. Read about how one DES client transitioned from a nonverbal and terrified child to a well-spoken and successful member of Arizona’s workforce.
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation naming March National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. “Working together, individuals, families, professionals and government have brought about significant changes in the public perception of young people and adults with developmental disabilities, opening new doors to independent and productive lives.”
When we think of “home,” we envision a safe place to relax, recharge, and socialize with family and friends. A home provides comfort and protection, as well as an opportunity to enjoy our privacy. For individuals with special needs and their families, the concept of home is the same.
The Department of Economic Security (DES) Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) provides support and services to more than 40,000 Arizonans with disabilities to keep members in their home environments and within their communities, whenever possible.
The Division is one of the top programs nationwide in serving members in their homes and communities. Approximately 88% of DDD members receive services in their own or a family home, rather than in an institutional setting. An additional 11% reside in group or adult developmental homes.
At the Arizona Children’s Colony when she was a teen, Ann Mills looks back on her journey from institutional life to leading a self-directed life where she could embrace the concept of home, community and friendship.