Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Look beyond someone’s disability and see them as the person they are.

March is Developmental Disabilities Month. The goal for 2018 is to create awareness about developmental disabilities, teach the importance of inclusion within every aspect of life, and to share the stories of individuals with a disability to show that a successful life is possible!

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) present Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month 2018, themed See Me for Me!, to promote respect for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities and to focus on the importance of inclusion and living life side by side. During this month, people can share their stories, photos, and resources to expand the conversation of inclusion and accessibility.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, a developmental disability is chronic, begins at birth or during childhood and adversely affects an individual daily living and functioning.

Developmental disabilities can be caused by mental or physical factors, or a combination of both. Living with a disability can affect a person’s ability to:

  • Care for oneself
  • Communicate
  • Learn
  • Move and get around
  • Make decisions
  • Live independently
  • Be financially self-sufficient

Disabilities in North Carolina:

  • An estimated 1,391,600 people living with a disability live in North Carolina, which is 14% of the state’s population
  • Approximately 285,500 people live with a visual disability
  • There are around 387,700 people living with a hearing disability
  • About 725,900 people live with ambulatory disabilities
  • Around 530,600 people live with cognitive disabilities
  • About 272,600 experience difficulties with self-care
  • Another 494,500 people 16 years old and older have an independent living disability

To submit or view photos, videos, stories, and resources, visit and or follow #DDawareness18.

To start supporting people living with developmental disabilities or get engaged with rights and policies affecting people with disabilities, visit these organizations in North Carolina:

The Arc North Carolina

The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Phone: 919-782-4632
Location: Raleigh, NC

The North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities

The Council works to improve the opportunities and lives of North Carolinians living with disabilities through advocacy, capacity building, and systems change.

Phone: 919-850-2901
Location: Raleigh, NC

Disability Rights North Carolina

Disability Rights helps people across North Carolina gain access to services and opportunity through its legally-based advocacy.

Phone: 919-856-2195
Location: Raleigh, NC

Help for Mental Health and Substance Use is Right Around the Corner

Did you know people in Burke County have a local place to go if they need help with a mental illness, substance use disorder, and primary health? Burke Integrated Health, at its new location, 301 E. Meeting St., Morganton, provides primary health care and specialty behavioral health care, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Start your care today! Visit the office, call 828-624-0300 (Toll Free: 1-888-370-9290), or go to

Burke Integrated Health is a collaboration between Partners, A Caring Alternative, The Cognitive Connection, CCNC/AccessCare, High Country Community Health, and Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare.

If you ever experience a behavioral health crisis, call Partners anytime, every day at 1-888-235-HOPE (4673).

Enrollee Navigator Choosing a Provider?

In addition to the rights and responsibilities for everyone receiving services, those living with intellectual or developmental disabilities have additional rights regarding care in facilities. The following information is a general overview of these rights found in the Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Act of 1985.

  • Individuals may get care in a facility for the developmentally disabled to receive care, habilitation, rehabilitation, training, or treatment.
    • Before being allowed to move to the facility, a qualified professional will determine the extent of the developmental disability. The professional also determines what care a person needs, and if the facility is the best place for treatment.
  • Individuals living in a residential facility have the right to move to another facility if the current facility cannot provide necessary care or treatment.
  • If a residential facility is closing or wants to discharge someone, the person is guaranteed services until:
    • Partners determines the individual no longer needs continuing care
    • The person is moved to another facility
    • 60 days have passed since notifying Partners of the closing or discharge
  • Individuals can appeal Partners’ decisions regarding the need for continued placement or regarding the availability of an alternative placement
    • If the appeal process takes longer than 60 days, the person can live in a state facility until the outcome of the appeal.
  • Any legally competent adult who applied for treatment in a facility and voluntarily moved to the facility has the right to request to leave.
    • If the facility believes the adult is in danger by leaving, the person may be held for up to five days while the facility asks the courts to name an interim guardian to make decisions.

If you feel your rights are being violated, you can make a formal complaint called a grievance. You can place a grievance by:

  • Calling 1-888-235-HOPE (4673)
  • Mailing your complaint to Partners Behavioral Health Management, C/o Grievances, 901 S. New Hope Rd., Gastonia, NC 28054
  • Emailing
  • Using our online feedback form
  • Approaching any Partners employee

Each option is confidential and secure. You also have the right not to be contacted by us, and not to have your information shared with others involved in the grievance. However, to serve you better and to effectively resolve the issue, we hope you will let us contact you, if needed.

In the Community 

Connect Catawba Resource Forum

The quarterly Connect Catawba Resource Forum is on Tuesday, March 13, 2018, from 8-10 a.m., at the Newton Recreation Center, 23 S. Brady Ave., Newton, NC (enter at back of building; lower level). The March forum will focus on early childhood–“The First Five Years”. You will hear from agencies and programs that provide services & resources for children birth to 5 in the community & how to connect those you serve. Please register online by March 9.

NC MedAssist – Mobile Free Pharmacy Event

NC MedAssist and CaroMont Health are hosting a free pharmacy event on Friday, March 23, 2018, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., at First United Methodist Church, 190 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia, NC. You must be 18 or older-No ID is required. The event includes

  • Free health screenings
  • Enrollment in the NC MedAssist Free Pharmacy Program (must meet eligibility requirements)
  • Expired medicine drop-off
  • Free medicine cabinet items to take home

For more information visit:

Gaston County Community Health Assessment

Every three years, Gaston County conducts a Community Health Assessment so residents can identify the issues that they feel the community should address.  All county residents from each of the 13 municipal towns have a chance to share their opinion.

Complete the survey at

The survey will be open from March 1st to May 31. All answers are completely anonymous.  If you have any questions about the survey, please call Yvonne Boafo at 704/853-5097 or Abby Newton at 704/853-5103 at the Gaston County Department of Health & Human Services.

Partners Health Summit: TREATING the OPIOID CRISIS

Learn about local solutions and treatments for North Carolina’s Opioid Epidemic at this free educational conference, sponsored by Partners Behavioral Health Management. Keynote Speaker Dr. Omar Manejwala presents “The Opioid Epidemic – A Wicked Problem,” – about the complicated, poorly understood opioid crisis in the U.S. The summit is on April 6, 2018, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Hickory Metro Convention Center, 1960 13th Ave. Drive SE, Hickory, NC 28602. ADMISSION IS FREE! Find out more and register at

Behavioral Health Focus is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month and is intended to be a source of information for those working or interacting with behavioral health care in Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Surry and Yadkin Counties. If you would like to contribute, contact Jeff Brucato at 704-884-2564 or Items should be submitted by Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the next week’s issue.

Volume 3 – Issue 15
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