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Every Face in Our Community Belongs

The theme for this year’s MR/DD Awareness Month, which kicks off tomorrow, could not be more appropriate.

Thursday, February 28, 2002

The theme for this year’s MR/DD Awareness Month, which kicks off tomorrow, could not be more appropriate. No matter who you are, you have a place in this community. To appreciate the challenges people with mental retardation or developmental disabilities go through, we need to understand their condition.

People with mental retardation show delays in learning, a slower pace of learning and difficulty in applying learning. Based on the 1990 census, an estimated 6.2 to 7.5 million people have mental retardation, which can result from a variety of factors including premature birth, genetic abnormalities, malnutrition and exposure to toxic agents.

People with developmental disabilities may not learn as quickly or express themselves clearly as others. Some people may have limited ability to take care of their physical needs or may have limited mobility. Many have more than one disability.

Developmental disabilities have a variety of causes, which can occur before, during or after birth. Those occurring before birth include genetic problems, poor prenatal care or exposure of the fetus to toxic elements, drugs or alcohol. Occurrences during birth, such as a cut off of oxygen to the baby, or accidents after birth also can cause developmental disabilities.

People with mental retardation and/or developmental disabilities can learn to take care of their basic needs and to live in the community with the help of agencies such as the county board of MR/DD.

Many activities are planned for the county’s celebration of MR/DD Awareness Month, including a balloon launch at both Tri-State Industries and Open Door School tomorrow, Run, Roll and Stroll at the Dawson-Bryant track March 9, MR/DD March Madness basketball games at the Dawson-Bryant High School gymnasium on March 14 and the annual Chili Festat Open Door School March 15 . Make it a point to attend these events to show your support for MR/DD awareness.