The House of Representatives has adopted a resolution, which I sponsored, that designates the month of March as “Intellectual Disabilities Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. House Resolution 132
aims to raise public awareness regarding the support of those individuals with intellectual disabilities and the services that improve their lives.
Intellectual disabilities are characterized by limitations in intelligence and adaptive skills and may be genetic, neurological or the result of a traumatic life event. An intellectual disability is not a mental illness.
During the last fiscal year, more than 56,000 Pennsylvanians with intellectual disabilities, received services and support. In addition, more than 89,000 children, including a significant number who have intellectual disabilities, received early intervention services.
Public awareness and education improve the understanding of intellectual disabilities and the programs that are needed to meet the specific needs of those with these disorders.
Individuals with intellectual disabilities deserve and require lifelong support and services. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of those with disabilities to receive community-based services as an alternative to institutional care. Unfortunately, in Pennsylvania, nearly 14,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities continue to wait for those services.
These programs ensure they have the opportunity to participate in the range of life experiences all of us enjoy, such as attending school, interacting with neighbors, going shopping and to worship.
House Resolution 132 also urges the citizens of the Commonwealth to give year-round support to efforts which enable those with intellectual disabilities to live full and productive lives.
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office