Mental Retardation Awareness Month - Get informed about developmental disabilities this Mental Retardation Awareness Month. Learn more about what you can do to raise awareness.

Mental Retardation Awareness Month 2025 – March 2025

Mental Retardation Awareness Month is observed during the month of March every year. This awareness holiday has been renamed National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The name change was instituted after it became clear that the word ‘retardation’ had hurtful connotations and was used negatively against people with developmental disabilities. National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month was started in an attempt to spread awareness about the multiple chronic conditions that cause delays and difficulties in key life areas such as communication, mobility, and learning. The month is also meant to help create job opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities so they can live fulfilling lives.

History of Mental Retardation Awareness Month

Mental Retardation Awareness Month is observed in March every year. It has been observed throughout the country since 1979. This month aims to recognize the struggles of people with developmental disabilities, spread awareness about the various chronic conditions associated with them, and provide opportunities for people with these disabilities.Along with the name of the month being changed to exclude the word ‘retardation’, the name of the agency that deals with the concerns of people with these disabilities were also changed to show more sensitivity towards those suffering from the condition. Developmental disabilities are chronic conditions that arise from physical and mental issues which typically develop during childhood. These include motor disorders that affect the way people move, learning disabilities like dyslexia and dyscalculia, autism spectrum disorders, and cerebral palsy among others.When developmental disorders affect all areas of development in children, the situation is referred to as a Global Developmental Delay. People with these disorders tend to be more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, and as a result, they develop several psychological disorders as a trauma response. This month aims to raise awareness about the many ways in which people with these disorders may be suffering, and how they can be empowered. The month also aims to encourage the general public to understand people with developmental disorders, including those who express their emotions through challenging and aggressive behaviors.

Mental Retardation Awareness Month timeline

The Institutional Care is Developed

Care and housing for people with developmental disabilities in the 19th Century is based on the asylum model where people were housed in institutions owned by the government or the church.

Civitans Adopts the Cause

The community service organization Civitans adopts service towards people with developmental disabilities as a major emphasis of the organization.

The CRIPA Law is Passed

The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) is passed to prevent the segregation of people with developmental disabilities and protect the rights of people in institutions.

Institutions are Replaced with Community Services

The majority of states in the country commit to de-institutionalization, especially after movements for self-advocacy and against the abuses committed in these institutions.

Mental Retardation Awareness Month FAQs

What is the most common developmental disability?

Autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome are the most common developmental disabilities.

What are the four ranges of developmental disabilities

The nervous system, sensory, metabolic, and degenerative disorders are the four ranges of developmental disabilities.

Is ADHD a developmental disorder?

Yes ADHD is a developmental disorder.

How to Observe Mental Retardation Awareness Month

  1. Volunteer with an organization

    There are a lot of community-based organizations that work for people with developmental disabilities. Find one that works in your local community and volunteer with them.

  2. Be aware of your language

    Harmful words impact people negatively. Whether intentionally or not, there are words that we often use that hurt people with developmental disabilities, so try to be aware of the impact of your choice of words.

  3. Educate your community

    Work with your community leaders to develop pamphlets and reading material about how to support people with developmental disorders. It’s a great way to get the whole community together to support its disabled members.

5 Intriguing Facts About Developmental Disabilities

  1. The causes are unknown

    Because the cases are so varied, the reasons why developmental disabilities develop are still unclear, although genetics may play a role in some instances.

  2. They are more common in men

    Developmental disabilities are twice as common in men than in women.

  3. The life expectancy is low

    In many cases, the life expectancy of people with disabilities is less than 20 years, although this is improving.

  4. They can cause PTSD

    Living with developmental disabilities leaves people open to abuse and difficult life experiences, which can result in PTSD.

  5. Qualifies people for SSI

    Individuals with developmental disabilities usually qualify for social security benefits like SSI, which is Supplemental Security Income.

Why Mental Retardation Awareness Month is Important

  1. We want to help

    We feel for people with developmental disabilities and want to support them in any way that we can. This month is an opportunity to learn more and help out.

  2. We empathize with people suffering

    Regrettably, people with developmental disabilities should also have to deal with stigma and abuse. We sympathize with them and want to be part of the change.

  3. We want to encourage self-advocacy

    We think that people with developmental disabilities should be given the tools needed to function in society. We believe in creating a sense of community by supporting people in getting their needs met.

Mental Retardation Awareness Month dates

Year Date Day
2023 March 1 Wednesday
2024 March 1 Friday
2025 March 1 Saturday
2026 March 1 Sunday
2027 March 1 Monday
World Compliment Day
National Peanut Butter Lover's Day
St. David's Day
National Pig Day
Baby Sleep Day
Self-Injury Awareness Day
National Wedding Planning Day
Share a Smile Day
National Black Women in Jazz and the Arts Day
Independence Movement Day
World Music Therapy Day
National Dadgum That's Good Day
Refired Not Retired Day
Yap Day
World Civil Defense Day
National Fruit Compote Day
National Horse Protection Day
Zero Discrimination Day
International Ideas Month
Asiatic Fleet Memorial Day
Tsagaan Sar
National March First Day
National Texas Stress Day
World Seagrass Day
International Martisor
Public Risk Management Awareness Day
National Sage Day
Endometriosis Awareness Day
National Hotel Slipper Day
National Minnesota Day
Plan a Solo Vacation Day
Peace Corps Day
National Welsh Corgi Day
Earth God's Birthday
Ramadan Begins
Baba Marta
International Women of Color Day
Justin Bieber's Birthday
Kenny Redneck Tv's Birthday
Frederic Chopin's Birthday
Sawyer Sharbino's Birthday
Philza's Birthday
Kesha's Birthday
Ron Howard's Birthday
Wonho's Birthday
Universal Human Beings Week
Hearing Awareness Week
North Dakota Winter Show
National Will Eisner Week
National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week
National Ghostwriters Week
Festival of Owls Week
Iditarod Race
National Aplastic Anemia & MDS Awareness Week
National Invest in Veterans Week
International Women’s Week
Poison Prevention Awareness Month
Irish American Heritage Month
National Caffeine Awareness Month
National Celery Month
National Crafting Month
National Frozen Food Month
National Kidney Month
National Noodle Month
National Nutrition Month
National Peanut Month
National Sauce Month
National Cheerleading Safety Month
National Umbrella Month
National Flour Month
March Madness
Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month
National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
National Social Work Month
Brain Injury Awareness Month
Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month
Workplace Eye Wellness Month
Trisomy Awareness Month
National Crochet Month
Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month
National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month
Dolphin Awareness Month
Red Cross Month
National Color Therapy Month
National Endometriosis Awareness Month
National Reading Month
Colic Awareness Month
Veggie Month
National Athletic Training Month
National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
Save Your Vision Awareness Month
National Women's History Month
National Eye Donor Month
Berries and Cherries Month
National Ethics Awareness Month
NZ Book Month
Alport Syndrome Awareness Month
Exotic Winter Fruit & Leeks and Green Onions Month
Listening Awareness Month
Gardening, Nature and Ecology Books Month
Middle Level Education Month
Women’s Month (Philippines)
Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal
Vascular Anomalies Awareness Month
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Awareness Month
National Deaf History Month
American Red Cross Month
Endometriosis Month
Gender Equality Month
Read an E-Book Month
National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
Mad for Plaid Month
Youth Art Month
National Breast Implant Awareness Month
National Bed Month (U.K.)
Colorectal Cancer Education and Awareness Month
Greek American Heritage Month
Birth anniversary of Samaon Sulaiman
Supply Management Month
National Optimism Month
Employee Spirit Month
Humorists are Artists Month
National Essential Tremor Awareness Month
Spiritual Wellness Month
Academy Awards Month
Sing With Your Child Month
National Professional Social Worker's Month
The Great Daffodil Appeal
Honor Society Awareness Month
Small Press Month
Malignant Hyperthermia Awareness and Training Month
Mental Retardation Awareness Month
National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month
International Mirth Month
Play the Recorder Month
National Music in Our Schools Month
National Clean up Your IRS Act Month
National Credit Education Month
Expanding Girls' Horizons in Science and Engineering Month
National March Into Literacy Month