Maine Developmental Disabilities Council

Inclusion Awards

Winners of the 2018 Inclusion Awards pose with their trophies


About the Inclusion Contest

The MDDC Inclusion Contest is an essay and artwork contest that provides awards to schools, teachers, and high school students who demonstrate an exceptional understanding of the meaning of Full Inclusion in which all people are valued members of the community.  The essay and visual arts contests are open to high school juniors and seniors who reside in Maine.

The awards recognize essays that maximize creativity and exemplify the highest level of College and Career Readiness (CCR) Anchor Standards for Language, and artworks that exemplify the standards required by the Maine Learning Results.

On a black and white background showing a person being pushed in a wheelchair stopped at the bottom of a flight of stairs, a pair of red glasses is superimposed, showing a view through the lenses in full color of an inclusive classroom with students of various abilities 

“I don’t know anything about this topic! Where do I start?”

We get it – civil rights for people with developmental disabilities is a BIG topic, and like any new learning subject, it can be intimidating to start out. So, we’ve pulled together some resources here that you can use as a jumping off point in your research, so you can come to this project with a better understanding.

History and Background

The DD Council of Minnesota put together a wonderful and comprehensive look at the treatment of people with developmental disabilities through history, which you can find here:

This short video explores the disability rights movement in the US that lead to the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):

General Information on Inclusion

The CDC provides a good, concise overview of Inclusion here: (and more links on that page, on the tabs on the left side)

The Arc is one of the largest national advocacy organizations for and with people with developmental disabilities. There is so much of value contained in their website, but you can start with the Arc’s Position Statement on Inclusion:

The Institute for Community Inclusion provides training, research and assistance to help organizations promote the inclusion of people with disabilities. Here is their article, “What We Mean When We Talk About Inclusion”:


Feedback from Previous Participants


Four artists in a row paint canvases on easels, the artists are of different races, genders, and abilities, their paintings spell out the word "Join" in finger spelling

Join by Alex Les, Creative Expression Honorable Mention 2018

"Participating in the Inclusion Contest provided me with an unforeseen opportunity to investigate my understanding of an inclusive community. Crafting my design required me to develop my own opinions on what inclusion and community mean, and then express them visually. I enjoyed finding and expressing symbols of inclusion and developing my own ideals for a supportive and inclusive community."

  • Alex Les, 2018 Award Recipient

Community Portrait depicts many framed pictures of people of different abilities, races, genders and types, in black and white ink





"An insightful experience that I would recommend to any high school student. Through 'The Maine Inclusion Contest' I was able to develop my idea of community and how disabilities should never be thought of as a barrier between individuals. Awareness and acceptance being major takeaways from this contest, I feel new participants will cultivate these same beneficial values and an overall appreciation for the communities that they live in."

  • Corilie Green, 2018 Award Recipient






 Community Portrait by Corilie Green, Creative Expression 2nd Place Winner 2018


“By participating in the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council's Inclusion Awards, my students become advocates for a special segment of communities across Maine and beyond.  Through their participation, my students share stories about inspiring individuals who make our world a more beautiful place.”

  • Linda Garcia, educator at Hodgdon High School, 2017 Award Recipient


“I was able to speak out for people like my cousin, with a nerve damaging disorder, and how the disorder affects her daily activities. The essay contest gave me the opportunity to state my thoughts on how we, as a community, could improve our social skills to involve all and make sure everyone is treated equally.”

  • Tabetha Ganzel, 2017 Award Recipient



Community Connect

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Maine Developmental Disabilities Council
526 Western Avenue  Unit 2
Augusta, ME 04330



139 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333


Phone: 207-480-1478 or toll free 833-713-2618