International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3 lets us focus on challenges faced by people living with disabilities. The day doesn’t discriminate between mental and physical disabilities, and the spirit of the day is to ensure that all people in the world have equal opportunities for work, play, health, and success. People with disabilities can be and very often are contributing and valued members of society, and today is all about appreciating them.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities timeline
Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the first president living with a disability, and he advocates for the rights of those like him.
The first official Paralympic Games were hosted.
The Act is passed to protect the civil rights of people living with disabilities.
The United Nations made the decision that the year 1981 should be the International Year of Disabled Persons.
The United Nations General Assembly declares this the year for disabled persons — with an aim towards equality.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities is established by the U.N. General Assembly.
Australia passed the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
International Day of Persons 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 Persons with Disabilities
Become an advocate for people living with disabilities
Look around your community and the places you frequent. If accommodations for people living with disabilities are not in place, ask the shop owner, mall manager and/or your elected officials to install them. It’s the law.
Lend a helping hand
Sometimes just delivering medication, dropping off the mail, or picking up a few things at the grocery —simple tasks for you—will make a world of difference to someone living with a disability.
Learn a new skill
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 sign language to learning the actual correct terminology to use, there are multiple ways to better engage with the individual as a whole. Find the one that best suits persons you know!
5 Facts About Disability
Disability and poverty do go hand-in-hand
Societies with lower incomes tend to have a higher rate of people living with disability.
Women, children, and the elderly are vulnerable
Men are less likely to develop a disability as compared to women, children, and elderly people.
The age group most affected
Some studies show that young people in the age group 10 to 19 years have the highest rate of disability.
25% of 20-year-olds are a risk
It’s said that at least one in every four 20-year-olds is at risk of developing a disability.
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 Persons with Disabilities is Important
It creates awareness
People living with disabilities sometimes feel invisible in our society. People rush around them in their daily routines, barely noticing them. Today, try to make eye contact and smile and be available to help should they seem to be having difficulties.
We understand the difficulties people living with disabilities have
The treasured parking space right in front of the pharmacy, the sloped curbs at intersections with the textured mats in place so the vision impaired folks can feel the curb end, the buttons to open doors automatically, even elevators on the Subway —are all in place to make a difficult life a little easier for a person with disabilities. Notice these accommodations today, and then notice how few of them there are.
It’s more than a day —it’s the law
The Americans with Disabilities Act was created to define the rights of people with disabilities and the design standards which businesses and municipalities must incorporate to comply with the law. Called the ADA, it is quite explicit in the standards required, and a familiarity with it could be most helpful to anyone in.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities dates