Newsroom > DHHS News Release

March 2, 2010

Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287

People With Disabilities are Valuable Members of Our Communities

March is Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Note: Sound bites on this topic are available at:

Lincoln – People with intellectual and other developmental disabilities live, work, recreate, and are involved in their local communities.

“It’s possible for everyone to be included in the community,” said Jodi Fenner, director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “It is important to recognize that people with disabilities are valuable, contributing members of our communities.”

Over 4,600 people with developmental disabilities are receiving service coordination and/or day, residential or respite services through community-based programs. Another 181 receive services at the Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC). In addition, many individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities use natural supports to live independently and do not receive any services through DHHS.

Fenner said that DHHS employees and community providers focus on providing services that offer real and meaningful opportunities to participate in fun activities, to volunteer and be a service to the community, and to have competitive employment, all based on personal preference.

“We want to remind people they can make a positive difference by inviting someone with a disability to participate in community activities and civic organizations,” Fenner said.