Capitol Event Urges Everyone to ‘Look Beyond’ Disabilities

Gov. Neil Abercrombie will declare March “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month” in Hawaii as the Hawaii State Council on Developmental Disabilities convenes its 13th annual “Day at the Capitol” on March 14, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the State Capitol Auditorium.

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Approximately 500 self-advocates, family members, service providers, and advocates are expected to attend this special event to build awareness of the abilities and strengths of individuals with developmental disabilities.

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Hawaii is part of a nationwide campaign to raise public awareness and build understanding. The 2013 national theme, “Look Beyond,” encourages people to get acquainted with someone who has a developmental disability, look beyond the person’s disability, and recognize that all individuals have talents and abilities to contribute.

“This year’s theme encourages people to understand that when individuals with developmental disabilities are welcomed into their local neighborhoods, workplaces, houses of worship, and schools, everyone benefits,” said Waynette Cabral, executive administrator for the Hawaii State Council on Developmental Disabilities. “We encourage people to learn more about the 22,000 individuals in Hawaii who have developmental disabilities, and to recognize that everyone has talents and abilities to help make Hawaii a better place to live.”

Event participants will be recognized during the House and Senate Floor sessions by Vice Speaker John Mizuno and Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, as well as receive a briefing from the Council, have the opportunity to discuss developmental disabilities-related issues and concerns with legislators from their home districts, attend public hearings, take a tour of the State Capitol, and network with others.

The annual “Day at the Capitol” event is a collaborative venture coordinated by the Hawaii State Council on Developmental Disabilities in partnership with the Hilopa‘a Family to Family Health Information Center, the Ho‘opa‘a Hawai‘i State Autism Implementation Grant, and the Hawaii Waiver Providers Association.

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