How to Celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Recognising both visible and invisible disabilities, International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD) highlights the significance of inclusion in daily life and the workplace.
Celebrated annually, IDPWD recognises the distinctive contributions made by persons with disabilities. Marking the 29th year of celebration, this year's theme highlights the importance of “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world“.
Whether you are a member of the disabled demographic or an ally, you may be wondering, "how can I celebrate, learn and take action by showing my support for persons with disabilities to help transform and reduce inequalities?" Well, there are several ways.
Listen to what the disabled demographic
has to say.
Pay attention when a person with a disability discusses ableism, accessibility, disability rights, access to social and health care, and benefits for people with disabilities. Take it all in. So much would change if people took as little as five minutes to learn about their life.
Take the time to educate yourself
about disability issues
Read articles, watch videos, ask questions and join the conversation on disability issues.
Research, speak with and share content
from the disabled demographic to
help lift their voices
Share as many published materials, including articles, podcasts, posts and tweets. Retweeting a post only takes a few seconds and is a form of support that every disabled person values greatly. If you take this action, disabled people will view you as a strong ally.
Advocate for disability rights
Now that you've done your research and spoken to real people from the disabled demographic, you're more knowledgeable than ever about disability rights. It's time for you to speak out and tell others what we need to improve. Moreover, this is the time to share the information you read, pointing people in the direction of voices from individuals with disabilities so they, too, can become educated. Speak up if a building is inaccessible. Speak up if someone uses an ableist term. Don't be silent.
Not staying silent, encouraging empowerment and assisting in the development of genuine opportunities for the disabled demographic strengthens their capacity for self-determination.
Moreover, investments in education, health, employment, nutrition, and social protection are all part of empowerment. When the disabled demographic feel empowered, they are more likely to seize opportunities.
Seizing opportunities is what encourages Lithuanian/American Author, Marc O'Brien's and his deeply felt fictional works including his novel, The Final Fence: Sophomores In The Saddle, which presents his own experience of dealing with something that was beyond his control.
O'Brien, a Barry University Graduate, always knew it was his responsibility to effectively educate and question readers through his fictional works on what may happen if one was disabled and overcoming adversity, making it obvious it is not always the person's fault.
Eddie Patrick, the main character, is based on O'Brien, a Communications Arts major. Due to circumstances beyond his control and as a sign of self-destructive behaviour, Patrick made a suicidal attempt.
On the contrary, Danielle Lynne, who has never participated in a national competition, is capable and possesses the necessary abilities to earn a spot in the Olympics.
Their shared interest in horses causes a discussion in class when Patrick and Lynne first meet on a college campus. Patrick and Lynne's friendship is an example of how one person dealt with a physical impairment that was not their fault, the importance of talking about disabilities, mental health, great friendships, respect and having a stable base.
Once this is achieved, the disabled person no longer self-destructs and matures into an adult ready to take on the world.
Outside of traditional "inspiration," it is incredibly uncommon for someone to show concern about the significance of a disabled person to others. Based on real-life incidents, The Final Fence: Sophomores In The Saddle emphasises the need of assisting the disabled demographic centred on socialisation and how we view disability, taking an honest and imaginative look into a life filled with assistance.
Facing adversity, which is by no means easy, entails learning what you are truly made of and observing how you behave when things are beyond one's control. No matter how big or small, everyone can make a difference in society.