March is Development Disabilities Awareness Month

In 1987, President Regan recognized March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to “increase public awareness of the needs and the potential of Americans with developmental disabilities.”

Disabilities can refer to impairments in learning and behavior such as autism, attention-deficit, hyper-activity disorder, and impairments in physical and or intellectual functions.

Linda Burke, the associate director at Arc in Gulfport, helps those with disabilities to make sure they are given a chance at living a successful life. “The folks that we support are often labeled as special needs and I would say to you they don’t have special needs. They have the same needs as you and I have, to love and be loved, to have a safe place to lay their little head down at night, how we get there might look a little different, but the needs are the same.”

The Arc is also a place for people with disabilities to do fun activities. The Dream Program currently holds art classes in the building and has 20 recreational program offerings held around the Coast, all are free of charge to the participants. Dream Program Executive Director Billy Dungan said, “The program has actually been around for 17 years- we provide opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in all types of organized sports. We reach out and provide other opportunities the arc, involve music classes. We do water fitness classes, for people with disabilities to get off the couch and go do things that are good for them.”

For more information on the Arc or the Dream Program, you can go to the or

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