Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month | March

Developmental disabilities are a group of conditions due to an impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas that onset before adulthood. Learn more about heroes who happen to have developmental disabilities below.

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Film Program

These short films curated by MY HERO staff feature heroes who have a developmental disability.

The films below show us common misunderstandings about disabilities, and how society's attitudes towards disabilities have changed.

We also see how our heroes with developmental disabilities are unique individuals who live an empowered life.

Watch these films and feel inspired and empowered to overcome obstacles in your own life and reach for worthy goals.

The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia [Trailer]

Produced by:Karen Pritzker
The myths, the stigmas, the truths, of dyslexia revealed.

Minimum Max

Produced by:Joshua Ovalle
A brief and powerful first-hand account from high school student, Max, who must navigate through the world of ADD and all the medications that come along with it.


Produced by:Logan Cascia - Music by Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Portrait of hero Tommy Carroll, who embraces his disability and doesn't view his blindness as a handicap--and meets his hero, skateboard legend Tony Hawk.

The MY HERO Report II - Ablaye

Producer: Fary Sakho & Cheikh Seck
An engaging look at Ablaye, who embodies determination in the face of adversity.

Teachers: Visit the free Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month Lesson Plan for this film program. Includes discussion guide and learning outcomes.

Learn about Developmental Disabilities through Art

Did you know? About one in six children in the U.S. have one or more developmental disabilities or other developmental delays.

Helen Keller by Robert Shetterly,

By: Robert Shetterly

Portrait of Eunice Kennedy Shriver

By: by David Lenz <br>The National Portrait Gallery<br> Smithsonian Institution

Jim Abbott

By: Kieran from San Francisco
Jim Abbott was born without his right hand, and proved that anyone could play the sports they love, even with disabilities.

Some of the issues affecting people with developmental disabilities include:

  • meaningful work
  • language that is respectful to those with disabilities
  • education
  • government funding for disabilities programs

Many organizations understand that supporting individuals with disabilities to live a full life should consider all stages of life, from childhood through adulthood. 

Learn about Developmental Disabilities through Hero Essays

Mattie Stepanek

By: Jim Hawkins
Mattie Stepanek is a hero to people of all ages around the world.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver

By: Kathy Crockett
Eunice Kennedy Shriver dedicated her life to raising awareness and creating opportunities for the intellectually disabled.

Eunice Shriver changed views on intellectual disability

By: Alexandra Marks <br> Contributor of The Christian Science Monitor<br> <h5>Pe...
The accomplishments of John F. Kennedy's sister range from founding the Special Olympics to establishing major centers to study medical ethics.

Want to learn more? MY HERO celebrates World Down Syndrome Day with stories, films and art on heroes with Down Syndrome or who are advocates fro the rights of those with this condition.

Jessie Christopherson

By: Emily from North Sioux City
Jessie Christopherson helps the physically and mentally challenged accomplish things they never thought possible.

Debra Ruh makes high-tech available to the disabled

By: David Karas <br> Contributor of The Christian Science Monitor<br> <h5>Permis...
Debra Ruh's company, TechAccess, works with businesses large and small to ensure the disabled can use their products.

Jennifer Smith

By: Sue Glader
Jennifer Smith is an author, mentor and advocate for understanding those who have dyslexia.

Temple Grandin

By: Camille from San Diego
Temple Grandin is a professor, doctor of animal science and an autism activist.

Helen Keller

By: Ralf Hotchkiss

Paco, My Dyslexic Hero

By: Skye Malik
Paco, My Dyslexic Hero Grandpa Paco shows Skye that she can succeed at anything.

Hero Teachers of a Dyslexic

By: Charles F. Harper
Hero Teachers of a Dyslexic is a personal story that seeks to guide and encourage students who learn differently.

Lisa Markham

By: Kathy Crockett
Lisa Markham is a passionate and committed volunteer to the Special Olympics.

Paula Watson

By: Missy from Austin
Paula Watson is a role model to her granddaughter, Missy.

Kelly Barnhill

By: Cecilia from Austin
Kelly Barnhill inspires her daughter with her commitment to help children with developmental disorders

Zachary Ryan

By: Kimberly from Medford

Tom Chau
Biomedical Engineer

By: Wendy Jewell
Tom Chau Biomedical Engineer uses science and technology to maximize opportunities for people with disabilities.

Special Olympics Athletes

By: Jessica Kuropat
Special Olympics Connecticut Unified Sports - Heroes Shine in this Unique Program

Darius Weems

By: Amanda Molinaro from Irvine
Darius Weems is a full-time ambassador for Dechenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Loretta Claiborne

By: Charles F. Harper
"God is my strength and Special Olympics is my joy."

Wilma Rudolph

By: Nancy Nickerson
Wilma Rudolph was the first American woman to win 3 Olympic gold medals.


By: Melanie Bysouth
Rudy wanted to run before he could walk.

Aimee Mullins

By: Claudia Herrera Hudson
Aimee Mullins challenges the definitions of physical beauty and athletic ability.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

By: Thomas from San Diego
Franklin D. Roosevelt formed the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation for polio victims.

Erik Weihenmayor

By: Sam from Orem
Erik Weihenmayor inspires those who have discovered his heroic journey.

Detective Luis Rosa

By: Kathy Crockett and Karen Pritzker, The MY HERO Project
Detective Luis Rosa volunteers to make the lives of people with disabilities better.

Josh Vander Vies

By: Jane Wallace from New York
Josh Vander Vies: born without arms or legs, this handsome, funny, warm young man has created an almost limitless life for himself.

Nick Vujicic

By: Tim from San Diego
Nick Vujicic went from a life without limbs to a life without limits

Brice Cunningham

By: Bailey from Pickerington
Brice Cunningham is a hero to his sister because of his attitude, drive and wisdom.

Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

By: Alyssa from Sycamore Junior High
Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah rode a bike across Ghana to challenge the stigma of being disabled.

Marla Runyan

By: Jane from Grand Rapids, Michigan
Marla Runyan overcame a visual impairment to become an Olympic runner.

Mel Levine

By: Ashley Ball<br><h5><h4>Copyright 2004 © <br>The George Lucas Educational Fou...
Mel Levine believes that students who understand their learning styles are better equipped for success.

Calista M. Pierce

By: Jenifer Pierce from Pennsylvania
Calista M. Pierce makes and sells crafts to raise money for the Special Olympics.

Cody Smith

By: Amanda Molinaro from Irvine

Samantha Marie Rowlands

By: Christina from Colorado

Albert Pujols

By: Travis from Roxboro, North Carolina
Albert Pujols is a hero to Travis because of his faith, devotion to his family, and skill as a baseball player.

Annie Glenn

By: John Glenn
Annie inspired a lot of people to get treatment for their disabilities. Through the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), she would meet with people to tell her story and how she stuck with her treatment.

Stevland Morris (a.k.a. Stevie Wonder)

By: Tim from Montvale

Annie Mansfield Sullivan Macy

By: Sarah from Montvale
Annie Mansfield Sullivan Macy developed new methods for teaching blind and deaf students.

Louis Braille

By: Brett from San Diego
Louis Braille invented a system of writing and reading used by blind people all over the world.

Ameen Abdulrasool

By: David Kemker
Ameen Abdulrasool is a young inventor who developed a portable navigation system for the blind.


By: Demi
Equest integrates academic, social and physical skills, using the horse as a catalyst.


By: Hero's Friends at School
Hero is an extraordinary therapy dog.

Mary Spaulding

By: Amy from Henderson
Mary Spaulding inspires her fellow college friend with her determination.

Anthony Robles

By: Nick from San Diego
Anthony Robles is an accomplished wrestler despite his disability.

Katherine Mairead Eggleston

By: Erin from Fredericksburg
“A hero is somebody who is selfless, who is generous in spirit, who just tries to give back as much as possible and help people. A hero to me is someone who saves people and who really deeply cares.”

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Organizer created on 1/9/2013 11:41:39 AM by Becky Miller

Last edited 11/7/2019 9:58:14 AM by Jeanne Meyers