National Disability Awareness Month is held in October to raise awareness about issues that arise within the lived experience of people with disabilities, and celebrates the many and varied contributions of Americans with disabilities.
NDAM's roots go back to 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with various types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to "National Disability Awareness Month" to address inclusion more broadly.
Americans with disabilities make up almost one-fifth of our population, which brings more celebration to this month, underneath the umbrella of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrating its 30th anniversary. This month includes:
- ADHD Awareness Month
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- Dysautonomia Awareness Month
- Learning Disability Awareness Month
- National Disability Employment Month (75th Anniversary)
- National Down Syndrome Awareness Month
- Spina Bifida Awareness Month
- Mental Illness Awareness Week (October 4-10, NAMI)
- World Cerebral Palsy Day (October 6)
- National Depression Screening Day (October 10)
- OCD Awareness Week (October 11-17)
- White Cane Awareness Day (October 15)
- Invisible Disabilities Week (October 18-24)
and given the beauty and complexity of being human, we respectfully nod to disability-related health conditions that are highlighted at other times. We see you. You matter. Accessibility and Disability Services, remains committed to building on past progress and creating inclusive change as we work in partnership with the entire UMBC community, including Facilities Management, Human Resources and Instructional Technology. While huge strides have been made with accessibility and inclusion (which can happen via accommodation), people with disabilities still face discrimination and lack of understanding. and has many events planned - the fight for full inclusion remains (Judy Heumann Ted Talk link).
Kick off the month with Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution and take a moment to review UMBC resources, organizations, groups and events that support awareness and inclusion of people with disabilities.
University Health Services supports campus members of all abilities.
- Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society for Students w/ Disabilities
- Best Buddies
- Cancer Awareness Society
- NAMI UMBC
- Start a new student organization if this list seems incomplete!
Faculty Group: Disability Studies Working Group
A sampling of Disability Awareness Events (Online):
Oct 2: Film : Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (flexible viewing times)
Oct 21 at Noon - Campus Accessibility Project Update and Discussion
Oct 28 at Noon, Online -Accessible Course Design and Fixes with Blackboard Ally
Disability intersects with the history of the LGBTQ+ community that shares this month for awareness. October is also Relationship Violence Awareness Month, and we are very conscious that people with disabilities are at a much higher risk of Relationship and Sexual Violence.