Disability Awareness Month
Background on Disability Awareness Month:
Public Law 176 was enacted by Congress in 1945. P.L. 176 designated the first week in October as "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week," and the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities was appointed by President Truman to carry out this Act. In 1962, the word "physically" was removed from the week's name to recognize the employment needs of all Americans with disabilities. Congress, in 1988, expanded the week to a month and changed its name to "National Disability Employment Awareness Month" (NDEA Month). October has become the kick-off month for year-round programs that highlight the abilities and skills of Americans with disabilities.
Each year, a different theme is chosen for the month. One recent theme used for the month's educational program was "Think Ability." Over the last decade many changes have taken place in the fabric of life for persons with disabilities. Laws have been passed that are breaking through many of the barriers which have kept people with disabilities out of the mainstream. However, we cannot legislate against attitudinal barriers; that is the one frontier which each of us must confront. We must all work to remove the negative and stereotypical attitudes from our minds, writings and actions.