National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: Reflections of a Care Manager

The month of March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Since its public proclamation in 1987, we have come a long way from the institutional model of care towards person-centered and community-based care. This is thanks to the hard work and advocacy of people with I/DD, families, communities and professionals which continue today.

In honor of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, ACANY Care Manager Sarah Byrdsong shares reflections on her personal journey and the importance of care management. Check it out below:


ACANY Care Manager,  Sarah Byrdsong

ACANY Care Manager, Sarah Byrdsong

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month is a great way to acknowledge individuals with developmental disabilities. It's a great time of year!  Acknowledging and celebrating individuals with I/DD is fantastic—this month and all-year-round!  Working with individuals with I/DD is outstanding. At one point in my life, I was temporarily unable to perform my day-to-day tasks by myself due to an injury. This experience added to the empathy I have for people for whom that is a permanent experience.  It is important that support is available and delivered in a way that is both respectful and empowering.

Doing this job fits with my morals and values and I love what I do! It is important to me that individuals with I/DD get to experience life or do basic things we take for granted. In this role, a commitment to teamwork is important.  We all need to work together.  I stay enthusiastic because I KNOW that the people I work with WILL succeed at what they set out to do. One person was accepted and now attends the NYU Tandon Disability Studies Consultants Program.  She is now a consultant! Consultants help teach NYU students about disability. I am oh so proud of her! Individuals with developmental disabilities deserve a full life!


Kennedy Dash and mother, Florence Dash

Kennedy Dash and mother, Florence Dash

The work of ACANY Care Managers like Sarah makes a huge impact on the families we support. Another family sent this testimonial to ACANY on Sarah’s contributions:

I would like to take a moment to applaud your agency for your services. I have been receiving services for Kennedy for many years and I rarely come across someone who is both efficient and supportive. My daughter and I love Mrs. Byrdsong and I wouldn’t want to work with anyone else. She is always available to assist us and she is extremely informative about programs and services I might not be aware of.

I can’t say enough to express how very pleased my family is with Mrs. Byrdsong. She is indeed a rare gem.

— Florence Dash

Do you have any reflections this Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month? Feel free to share your story with us by emailing hrdepartment@myacany.org.