The idea for Connectable began in 2017 when Delores Barr Weaver, the funder of the campaign, attended an event showcasing the remarkable stories of local individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. At the event, she noted how often she heard the word “disabled” being used.
She thought it was time to change the conversation. Instead of disabilities, we should focus on what people with IDDs are able to bring to our community – such as hard work, friendship and acceptance of others.
Through her fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, Delores Barr Weaver inspired and encouraged the groundwork that would lead to a new public awareness campaign to achieve this goal. The Foundation collaborated with local nonprofit leaders in the IDD community to collect qualitative research and gain key insights. Armed with this valuable information, they selected local advertising agency Daigle Creative to develop branding and an outreach program designed to build awareness about the abilities of people with IDDs and to encourage more authentic connections between this community and the Northeast Florida community at large. This is how Connectable was born.
Since then, individuals and nonprofits have changed their language to include “differences” rather than “disabilities” whenever possible and championed the Connectable message. Today, Connectable is more than a campaign, it is a momentous effort, an invitation, to adapt language and foster connections with individuals with IDD’s in business and community.
People with IDDs can form strong personal connections like anyone else, but many people feel nervous about or don’t know how to approach them. When you do take the time to connect with a person with IDD, you’ll likely have a rewarding experience.
If you’re ready to connect with people with IDDs, read our Approachability fact sheet for tips on how to start a conversation, and check out the IDD nonprofits in our area.