New York State has launched an innovative anti-stigma campaign to support and empower people with developmental disabilities. The campaign, unveiled by OPWDD and New York’s Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) to coincide with the anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act on July 26th, seeks to break down barriers and misconceptions surrounding these individuals, fostering a more inclusive and compassionate society.
The “Look Beyond My Developmental Disability” anti-stigma campaign was spurred by legislation Governor Hochul signed in 2022 directing OPWDD to develop and implement a public awareness campaign that combats discrimination, stigma, and stereotyping of people with developmental disabilities. The law took effect in September 2022.
“In New York, we take incredible pride in protecting and advancing the rights of all New Yorkers, including those with developmental disabilities,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “I am proud to be part of an administration that is taking critical steps to highlight and celebrate the tremendous contributions of the developmental disability community all across our great state. We will continue to ensure they are empowered and supported.”
“OPWDD does so much more than provide support for people with developmental disabilities. OPWDD is proud to promote and draw attention to the many New Yorkers with developmental disabilities from across our state that we are fortunate to interact with and advocate alongside daily,” said Kerri E. Neifeld, Commissioner of the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities. “Part of our advocacy continues to be educating the public about developmental disabilities and to help people learn more about their peers, neighbors, coworkers, and fellow community members with developmental disabilities. We are excited to launch this important campaign and challenge people throughout our state to ‘Look Beyond’ someone’s developmental disability and see the person for all that they are.”
The “Look Beyond” anti-stigma public awareness campaign uses public and online forums, social and mass media, and radio and print advertising to educate the public about developmental disabilities, and highlight the positive contributions of people with developmental disabilities to their state and their communities. Through rich, diverse imagery and graphics, stories include compelling messaging that reflects the universal need to learn, grow, and be interconnected.
For more information on OPWDD’s “Look Beyond” Anti-Stigma Campaign, please visit https://opwdd.ny.gov/lookbeyond.