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

2020 Disability Awareness Month and Observance Calendar

The calendar includes major special needs awareness months, weeks, and days. Most websites include awareness toolkits, promotional materials and fact sheets.  This page focus is on awareness activities that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities only.

January

January (Month)

National Birth  Defects Month

January (Week)

January 19-25- Special Education Week

January (Day)

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 (Day)

February 15- International Angelman Day

February 28- Rare Disease Day

March

March (Month)

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

National Early Intervention Awareness Month

Kidney Awareness Month

Multiple Sclerosis Month

Social Work Awareness Month

Trisomy Awareness Month

March (Day)

March 1- Self-Injury Day

March 1- International Wheelchair Day

March 3- World Hearing Day

March 21- World Down Syndrome Day

March 26- Purple Day for Epilepsy

April

April (Day)

April 1- Paraprofessional Appreciation Day

April 2- World Autism Awareness Day 

May

May (Month)

Better Hearing and Speech Month

Early Intervention Awareness Month

Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month

National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month

Prader Willi Syndrome Awareness Month

Williams Syndrome Awareness Month

May (Day)

May 1- Global Developmental Delay Day

May (Week)

May 4-6 Children Mental Health Awareness Week

May 15- Tuberous Sclerosis Global Awareness Day

May 5-12- Cri du Chat Awareness Week

June

June (Month)

Aphasia Awareness Month

June (Week)

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

Scoliosis Awareness Month

June (Day)

June 17- CDKL5 Awareness Day 

June 23- Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day (Canada)

Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month

July

July (Day)

July 14- Disability Pride Parade (NY)

July 14- Disability Awareness Day (UK)

July 22- National Fragile X Syndrome Awareness Day

July 26- American Disabilities Act Day (30 Year Anniversary) 

September

September (Month)

Chiari Awareness Month

Craniofacial Acceptance 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 (Week)

September 13-19- Direct Support Professional Week

September 7- World Duchenne Awareness Day

September 9- Fetal Alcohol Awareness Day

October

October (Month)

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 5- World Teacher’s Day

October 6- World Cerebral Palsy Day

October 10- National Depression Screening Day

October 15- White Cane Awareness Day

October (Week)

October 4-10- Mental Illness Awareness Week 

October 5-11 Dyspraxia Awareness Week 

October 13-19 Invisible Disabilities Week

October 13-19 International OCD Awareness Week

October 19-23- National School Bus Safety Week

National Physical Therapy Month

Rett Syndrome Awareness Month

Special Needs Law Month

Spinal Bifida Awareness Month

November

November (Month)

22q Awareness Month

Epilepsy Awareness Month

November (Day)

November 1- LGS Awareness Day

November 4- National Stress Awareness Day

November 15- World Ohtahara Syndrome Awareness Day

December

December (Day)

December 2- National Special Education Day

December 3- International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December (Week)

December 1-7- Infantile Spasm

October is National Disability Employment Month

National Disability Employment Awareness is recognized each October to highlight the workforce contributions of people with disabilities.

Facts:

  • Only 20 percent of the labor force with disabilities are employed.
  • 59% of the people with hearing impairments were employed.
  • 41% of people with visual disabilities were employed.

16% of people with severe disabilities work full-time.

What can you do in your organization to recognize National Disability Employment Awareness Month?

Train frontline staff on the facts

Reach out to local media

Proactively recruit people with disabilities

Review company policies and procedures

Conduct training for supervisors on understanding their role in fostering an inclusive workplace culture

Participate in a disability mentoring day

Conduct a training on disability history.