2021 Special Needs Awareness Observance Calendar

Download printable here: 2021 Special Needs Awareness Observance Calendar
Did you know that 1 in 6 or 15% of  children aged 3 through 17 have one or more developmental disabilities? Or that according to the World Health Organization (WHO) that over a billion people live with some form of disability? This means that nearly 1 in 7 people on Earth have some form of a disability. For this reason, disability awareness and acceptance is more important now than ever before.

What is the Purpose of Disability Awareness?

Disability awareness serves many purposes including informing and educating people on a certain cause.  In some cases organizations and agencies use it as part of their annual campaign in an effort to bring awareness and raise money for their cause. Employers often conduct trainings on disability awareness as an effort to educate employees and to decrease bullying in the workplace. Disability awareness also can be used to address myths, misconceptions and the realities of having a disability.  Ribbons are also used that are specific to awareness activities. Through disability awareness campaigns it is hoped that people learn and develop a greater understanding of those with a disability. Annual awareness observances are sponsored by federal, health and non-profit organizations. In some cases observances are worldwide including World Autism Awareness Day or World Cerebral Palsy Day.

Types of Awareness Campaigns

Awareness campaigns fall under three categories:

  • Day- this is often held on the same day each year regardless of the day it falls under. There are cases where an awareness day falls on a specific day such as the last Thursday of a month.
  • Week – The dates dates change and vary based on the week. In some cases, awareness activities are held on the first week of the month to the fourth week of the month
  • Month- activities and awareness celebrations are held throughout the month.
The 2021 calendar includes major special needs awareness days, weeks, and months. Most websites include awareness toolkits, promotional material and fact sheets. This page focuses on awareness activities that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Click on the month below to go to a specific month.
January /February/March/ April/ May/June/July/September/October/November/December

January     

Louis Braille

                                             

January (Month)

National Birth  Defects Month

January 4- World Braille Day

January 20- International Day of Acceptance

January 24- Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day

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February

February (Month)

Turner Syndrome Awareness Month

February (Week)

February 7-14 Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week

February 8-12 Feeding Tube Awareness

February (Day)

February 15- International Angelman Day

February 28- Rare Disease Day

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March

March (Month)

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Kidney Awareness Month

Multiple Sclerosis Month

Social Work Awareness Month

Trisomy Awareness Month

March (Week)

March 21-27- Poison Prevention Week

March (Day)

March 1- Self-Injury Day

March 1- International Wheelchair Day

March 21- World Down Syndrome Day

March 26- Purple Day for Epilepsy

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April

April (Day)

April 2- World Autism Awareness Day 

April 7- Paraprofessional Appreciation Day

May

Better Hearing and Speech Month

Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month

National Mobility Awareness Month

Prader Willi Syndrome Awareness Month

Williams Syndrome Awareness Month

May (Week)

May 5-12- Cri du Chat Awareness Week

May (Day)

May 1- Global Developmental Delay Day

May 5- World Asthma Day

May 14- Apraxia Awareness Day

May 19- National Schizencephaly Awareness Day

May 15- Tuberous Sclerosis Global Awareness Day

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June

June (Month)

Aphasia Awareness Month

Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month

June (Week)

Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week (Last Sunday in June)

June (Day)

June 7- Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day

June 17- CDKL5 Awareness Day 

June 23- Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day (Canada)

 

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July

July (Month)

National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month

National Fragile X Syndrome Awareness Month

July (Day)

July 18- Disability Awareness Day (UK)

July 22- National Fragile X Syndrome Awareness Day

July 26- American Disability Act Day

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September

September (Month)

Chiari Awareness Month

Craniofacial Acceptance Month

Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Awareness Month

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Syndrome Awareness Month

Hydrocephalus Awareness Month

National Spinal Cord Awareness Month

Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Sepsis Awareness Month

September 7- World Duchenne Awareness Day

September 9- Fetal Alcohol Awareness Day

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October

ADHD Awareness Month

Disability History Month

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Dysautonomia Awareness

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Dyslexia Awareness Month

Occupational Therapy Awareness Month

October (Day)

October 6- World Cerebral Palsy Day

October 15- White Cane Awareness Day

October (Week)

October 13-19 Invisible Disabilities Week

Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

Spinal Bifida Awareness Month

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

November

22q Awareness Month

Epilepsy Awareness Month

November 1- LGS Awareness Day

November 7- National Stress Awareness Day

November 15- World Ohtahara Syndrome Awareness Day

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

December

December 3- International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December 1-7- Infantile Spasm

Updated 1/5/2021

2021 Special Needs Awareness Observance Calendar

Download printable here: 2021 Special Needs Awareness Observance Calendar 
Did you know that 1 in 6 or 15% of  children aged 3 through 17 have one or more developmental disabilities? Or that according to the World Health Organization (WHO) that over a billion people live with some form of disability? This means that nearly 1 in 7 people on Earth have some form of a disability. For this reason, disability awareness and acceptance is more important now than ever before.

What is the Purpose of Disability Awareness?

Disability awareness serves many purposes including informing and educating people on a certain cause.  In some cases organizations and agencies use it as part of their annual campaign in an effort to bring awareness and raise money for their cause. Employers often conduct trainings on disability awareness as an effort to educate employees and to decrease bullying in the workplace. Disability awareness also can be used to address myths, misconceptions and the realities of having a disability.  Ribbons are also used that are specific to awareness activities. Through disability awareness campaigns it is hoped that people learn and develop a greater understanding of those with a disability. Annual awareness observances are sponsored by federal, health and non-profit organizations. In some cases observances are worldwide including World Autism Awareness Day or World Cerebral Palsy Day.

Types of Awareness Campaigns

Awareness campaigns fall under three categories:

  • Day- this is often held on the same day each year regardless of the day it falls under. There are cases where an awareness day falls on a specific day such as the last Thursday of a month.
  • Week – The dates dates change and vary based on the week. In some cases, awareness activities are held on the first week of the month to the fourth week of the month
  • Month- activities and awareness celebrations are held throughout the month.
The 2021 calendar includes major special needs awareness days, weeks, and months. Most websites include awareness toolkits, promotional material and fact sheets. This page focuses on awareness activities that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Click on the month below to go to a specific month.
January /February/March/ April/ May/June/July/September/October/November/December

January     

Louis Braille

                                             

January (Month)

National Birth  Defects Month

January 4- World Braille Day

January 20- International Day of Acceptance

January 24- Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

February

February (Month)

Turner Syndrome Awareness Month

February (Week)

February 7-14 Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week

February 8-12 Feeding Tube Awareness

February (Day)

February 15- International Angelman Day

February 28- Rare Disease Day

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

March

March (Month)

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Kidney Awareness Month

Multiple Sclerosis Month

Social Work Awareness Month

Trisomy Awareness Month

March (Week)

March 21-27- Poison Prevention Week

March (Day)

March 1- Self-Injury Day

March 1- International Wheelchair Day

March 21- World Down Syndrome Day

March 26- Purple Day for Epilepsy

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

April

April (Day)

April 2- World Autism Awareness Day 

April 7- Paraprofessional Appreciation Day

May

Better Hearing and Speech Month

Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month

National Mobility Awareness Month

Prader Willi Syndrome Awareness Month

Williams Syndrome Awareness Month

May (Week)

May 5-12- Cri du Chat Awareness Week

May (Day)

May 1- Global Developmental Delay Day

May 5- World Asthma Day

May 14- Apraxia Awareness Day

May 19- National Schizencephaly Awareness Day

May 15- Tuberous Sclerosis Global Awareness Day

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

June

June (Month)

Aphasia Awareness Month

Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month

June (Week)

Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week (Last Sunday in June)

June (Day)

June 7- Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day

June 17- CDKL5 Awareness Day 

June 23- Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day (Canada)

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

July

July (Month)

National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month

National Fragile X Syndrome Awareness Month

July (Day)

July 18- Disability Awareness Day (UK)

July 22- National Fragile X Syndrome Awareness Day

July 26- American Disability Act Day

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

September

September (Month)

Chiari Awareness Month

Craniofacial Acceptance Month

Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Awareness Month

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Syndrome Awareness Month

Hydrocephalus Awareness Month

National Spinal Cord Awareness Month

Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Sepsis Awareness Month

September 7- World Duchenne Awareness Day

September 9- Fetal Alcohol Awareness Day

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

October

ADHD Awareness Month

Disability History Month

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Dysautonomia Awareness

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

National Dyslexia Awareness Month

Occupational Therapy Awareness Month

October (Day)

October 6- World Cerebral Palsy Day

October 15- White Cane Awareness Day

October (Week)

October 13-19 Invisible Disabilities Week

Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

Spinal Bifida Awareness Month

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

November

22q Awareness Month

Epilepsy Awareness Month

November 1- LGS Awareness Day

November 7- National Stress Awareness Day

November 15- World Ohtahara Syndrome Awareness Day

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

December

December 3- International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December 1-7- Infantile Spasm

Updated 1/5/2021

Developmental Disability Awareness Ribbons

Awareness ribbons in recent history began when Penney Laingen used the ribbon as a symbol of vigilance ( from the song, Tie a Ribbon Around the Ole Oak Tree) when she tied a yellow ribbon around the oak tree in her front yard when her husband, Bruce Laingen. a top-ranking U.S. diplomat was a hostage during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979. This was followed by the red ribbon during the AIDS epidemic and the pink ribbon bringing awareness to breast cancer.

Ribbons have long been used as a way to bring awareness and raise consciousness for a cause. Ribbons and disability awareness have evolved from bringing awareness to various disability topics such as sensitivity, inclusion and advocacy to including various formats. People are using social media as a means to promote awareness including using hashtags and setting up Facebook pages specifically for disability awareness.

Disability awareness and acceptance is being done through the use of awareness ribbons.

The Ribbons below focus on ribbons that bring awareness to developmental disability and special needs issues.  including individuals with neurodevelopmental and intellectual disabilities. Awareness is only a part of educating and training people on disability awareness. Training activities should also include acceptance and understanding.

Awareness Ribbons

Autism Spectrum Disorder- The Autism ribbon continues to evolve overtime. The puzzle piece was first used in 1963 by a parent and board member of the National Autistic Society in London indicating the puzzling, confusing nature of autism. In 1999, the puzzle piece ribbon was adopted as the universal sign of autism awareness by the Autism Society reflecting the complexity of the autism spectrum. Overtime, the both the puzzle and ribbon have become a symbol for seeing autism as something that is puzzling an needs to be fixed rather than acceptance. A more positive symbol includes the infinity loop used as a symbol for acceptance rather than awareness.

Angelman Syndrome- Blue

Apraxia- Light Blue

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity (ADHD)- Orange

Cerebral Palsy- Green

Cri Du Chat- Blue

Developmental Disabilities- Silver or light blue

Di George Syndrome- Teal

Down Syndrome- Blue and Yellow

Dravet Syndrome- Purple

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy- Light Green

Epilepsy- Purple

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder- Silver and Blue

Fragile X Syndrome- Teal

Hydrocephalus- Light Blue

Prader Willi- Orange

Rare Disease- Zebra Stripe

Rett Syndrome- Purple

Sensory Processing Disorder- Blue or Orange

Sickle Cell Anemia- Burgundy

Spina Bifida- Yellow

Spinal Cord Injuries- Green

Tourette Syndrome- Teal

Trisomy 18- Light Blue

Turner Syndrome Purple Butterfly

Williams Syndrome- Burgundy

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Burgundy Awareness Ribbon

  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Williams Syndrome

 

Blue Awareness Ribbon

  • Angelman Syndrome
  • Cri Du Chat

Green Awareness Ribbon

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Spinal Cord Injuries

Light Blue Awareness Ribbon

  • Apraxia
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Trisomy 18

Orange Awareness Ribbon

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Prader Willi Syndrome
  • Sensory Processing Disorder

Teal Awareness Ribbon

  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • DiGeorge Syndrome
  • Tourettte Syndrome

 

 

 

Purple Awareness Ribbon

  • Dravet Syndrome
  • Epilepsy
  • Rett Syndrome
  • Turner Syndrome

Blue and Yellow Awareness Ribbon

  • Down Syndrome

Light Green Awareness Ribbon

  • Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

 

Silver and Blue Awareness Ribbon

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder

Yellow Awareness Ribbon

  • Spina Bifida

Observance and Awareness Month

February

Turner Syndrome Awareness

March

Trisomy18

Kidney Awareness

Multiple Sclerosis

Cerebral Palsy

Developmental Disabilities

April

Autism

Auditory Processing Disorder

May

Apraxia

Cri Du Chat

Cystic Fibrosis

Williams Syndrome

June

Dravet Syndrome Day

July

Fragile X Syndrome

National Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month

September

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Day

Hydrocephalus

Sickle Cell Anemia

Spinal Cord Injuries

October

ADD/ADHD

Down Syndrome

Rett Syndrome

Sensory Processing Disorder

November

DiGeorge Syndrome

Epilepsy

 

Updated 1/2/2021

Williams Syndrome Factsheet

 

Download Here: Williams Syndrome Factsheet

Prader Willi Syndrome Factsheet

 

Download Here: prader willi fact sheet