Sunday, March 09, 2008


Month-Long Celebration of "Success Stories" of Individuals with Disabilities
to be Held in Albany

Governor Eliot Spitzer and Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson today
proclaimed March Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, honoring the
tens of thousands of people in New York State who live with developmental
disabilities, their contributions to the state, and the families, friends,
caregivers, and advocates who support them.

The New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental
Disabilities (OMRDD) will host a month-long exhibit in Albany chronicling
the history of disabilities in New York State and celebrating the "success
stories" of individuals with developmental disabilities.

"New York leads the nation in ensuring that persons with d evelopmental
disabilities are provided critical support through carefully designed and
innovative programs," said Governor Spitzer. "We have seen bold advancements
in the rights of people with developmental disabilities and we must continue
working to expand opportunities. As we applaud these achievements we must
also commend the family members and caregivers who play an integral role
every day in helping individuals with developmental disabilities lead
productive lives."

The exhibit will run from March 5 through March 31 in the Empire State
Plaza's South Concourse in Albany. It will feature displays from the Museum
of disABILITY History near Buffalo and profiles of accomplished individuals
with developmental disabilities.

Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson said: "As a society we now know that a
developmental disability no longer means that an individual cannot achieve
his or her dreams and contribute to society. In fact , we have come to
realize the exceptional contributions people with disabilities can, and do,
make every day. This awareness month established by Governor Spitzer is a
time to reflect on these contributions."

OMRDD Commissioner Diana Jones Ritter said: "We applaud the Governor for his
leadership in continuing New York's State's extraordinary legacy of
supporting people with developmental disabilities and for commissioning this
month-long celebration and observance. Our goal is to help the community
at-large see the merits and abilities of the whole person - not simply a

Ramon Aldecoa, Co-Vice President of the Board for the Self-Advocacy
Association of New York State, Inc. (an organization run by and for people
with developmental disabilities) and a subject of one of the exhibits at the
Empire Plaza said: "For me, it was very important to learn about my rights
as a person with a developmental disability. No w, it's time for me to use
all I've learned to help teach other people with disabilities to do the same
thing. We all have the same rights. I feel it's my job as an advocate to
make sure all individuals know this, so they can act on those rights."

Nearly 350,000 New Yorkers live with a developmental disability. Initiatives
like NYS-CARES III, which provides out-of-home community residential
alternatives for adults, and other programs such as supported employment,
which helps individuals enter the workforce and become productive members of
society, are vitally important in creating opportunities for New Yorkers
with developmental disabilities.

For more information about the exhibit or about programs and services offered through OMRDD, visit the OMRDD website at

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