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Empower

Developmental disabilities affect each person and their family differently. No matter if the disabilities are physical or mental or both, there are steps to take to remain healthy and positive in the face of daily challenges.

Experts recommend focusing on what the individual can do—that is, their abilities—rather than what they are not able to do. This person-directed approach to care emphasizes the unique abilities of the individual and has the potential to free them up from some of their  feelings of helplessness.

The goal is for the person with developmental disabilities to establish as much independence as possible, while still remaining safe. Independence can be as seemingly small as pausing when someone asks about them directly (in their presence) and seeing if they want to answer for themselves. Empowering a person living with disabilities to speak for and about themselves helps with learning the skills to engage with others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends finding appropriate milestones to celebrate together as a way to foster growth and empower the individual living with developmental disabilities.

When someone feels empowered they can continue to grow as a person by building on their current strengths and abilities, as well as provide direction for their own care. Each person has unique abilities or gifts to offer others.

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