SatDec 3

International Day of People with Disabilities – December 3, 2022

International Day of People (or persons) with Disabilities falls on December 3 each year, and if the ongoing engagement with, and fight for human rights is important to you, then this day should definitely be marked on your calendar. This day is endorsed alongside the United Nations by the World Health Organization (WHO), and is important because we often do not realize just how many people there really are who are impacted by disability. We’ll help you out — the standing figure is currently at around one billion people! That’s essentially saying that one in every seven people in the world are facing challenges and barriers due to some specific type of disability, so they need to be recognized.

History of International Day of People with Disabilities

First launched by the United Nations in 1992, the International Day of People with Disabilities is a crucial step in the right direction towards realizing inclusion, peace, security, and sustainable development in the future. In fact, these are some of the central tenets listed in the UN’s ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,’ which aims at “leaving no one behind.” It is a day that is primarily about ensuring that the well-being of people with disabilities is prioritized in policy, social welfare, and all aspects of socio-political life.

It serves the twofold purpose of both celebrating the lives of such persons, as well as raising awareness of current realities and joining with them in championing their fundamental human rights. So full participation is the base expectation when observing a day like this. Originally, the name of this international observance was International Day of Disabled Persons, which was changed in 2007 to its current name. To keep engagement high, every year a different issue relating to disability is placed in the spotlight.

Interestingly, this day of observance also had an entire year and decade dedicated to it. It was in 1976 that the U.N. General Assembly declared that the year 1981 would be known as the ‘International Year of Disabled Persons’ and the focus was on equality across societal levels and aspects of social participation. Since a year was too limited for the implementation of potential and recommended changes, the U.N. General Assembly then decided to give a time frame of a decade for nations to spur into action, hence the period from 1983 to 1992 then became the ‘ United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons.’

International Day of People with Disabilities timeline

First President With A Disability Is Elected

Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the first president with a disability, advocating for the rights of those like him.

The Rehabilitation Act Is Passed

The Rehabilitation Act is passed to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities.

Disabilities Get a Year

The United Nations General Assembly declares this the year for disabled persons — with an aim towards equality.

A Day of Observance is Instituted

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is established by the U.N. General Assembly.

International Day of People with Disabilities FAQs

Why do we celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities?

We celebrate this day to appreciate the contributions which people with disabilities make to our societies, and also to express solidarity with them in their struggle to overcome the barriers and challenges which they still face, due to stigmatization and exclusion.

What term do we use for a disabled person?

The correct term which is accepted universally is to refer to them as a ‘person with a disability.’ By putting the person first, their humanity is more the focus, rather than their disability.

How do you describe someone with special needs?

Anyone with a disability is to be referred to as a person with a disability. They are not to be called ‘patients’, until and unless they are under the care of a medical professional or institution.

How to Observe International Day of People with Disabilities

  1. Engage with disability

    There are some amazing books out there that are being written by people with disabilities. Some popular favorites written by persons with disabilities include “The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love with Me,” by Keah Brown, “Solutions and Other Problems,” by Allie Brosh, and “Girl at War: A Novel.” by Sara Novic. If fiction is not your cup of tea, or if you prefer moving pictures, there are lots of films and literature on disability for you to explore.

  2. Spread awareness

    Join an event being organized around disability, it could be a conference, a mixer, or even by tuning into a local podcast on it. There are plenty of ways to get involved once you look, and inviting others to join in is a great way to muster up more engagement.

  3. Learn the language(s) of disability

    As disability is not merely limited to physical impairment, it’s important to learn more about how to communicate better with people across a range of disabilities. From learning the sign language of your country to learning the actual correct terminology to use, there are multiple ways to better engage with a disability as a whole. Find the one which may benefit persons you know!

5 Facts About Disability Which Are Worth Noting

  1. Disability and poverty do go hand-in-hand

    Societies with lower incomes tend to have a higher rate of disability.

  2. Women, children, and the elderly are vulnerable

    Men are less likely to develop a disability than women, children, and elderly people.

  3. The most impacted age group

    Some studies show that young people in the age group 10 to 19 years have the highest rate of disability.

  4. 25% of 20-year-olds are a risk

    It’s said that before they retire, at least one in every four 20-year olds will develop a disability.

  5. 9% of disabilities are due to accidents

    This means that accidents are probably the least of your worries when it comes to developing a disability.

Why International Day of People with Disabilities is Important

  1. Because people are people

    If Dr. Seuss did not already teach you that, then do read “Horton Hears a Who.” Jokes aside though, this day is important in showing solidarity and supporting the rights of people with disabilities, in the quest for societal inclusion.

  2. Empowerment and change

    The aim of this day is to get people talking about and engaging with disability in order to effect change at micro and macro levels. Persons with disabilities need to be included and given the same access and opportunities which those without disabilities have as a right.

  3. Global recognition

    Disability is a global phenomenon that affects about 15% of the world’s population. With such a large number of people living with disabilities, there is a need to recognize them and celebrate them, worldwide.

International Day of People with Disabilities dates

2022December 3Saturday
2023December 3Sunday
2024December 3Tuesday
2025December 3Wednesday
2026December 3Thursday

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