Creating an Accessible Future!

International Day of Persons with DisabilitiesDecember and the Holidays are synonymous, but there also is a very important date: December 3rd, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD). Founded 27 years ago by the United Nations General Assembly, IDPWD is a day to promote the understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities.

With 2019’s theme “The Future is Accessible,” all of us – individuals, organizations, communities at large– should look towards a future in which people with disabilities are included, not excluded. Working towards an accessible future where barriers no longer exist is everyone’s responsibility.

How can you help? These are some basic ideas, feel free to add some of your own.

  • Speak directly to people with disabilities instead of turning to a family member or caregiver who may be with them. It’s very easy to do this when a person speaks too quickly. This often happens to Ryan, as he speaks very fast. If someone doesn’t understand him, they look to me to “translate.”
  • Make sure your events and meetings are accessible. I have noted a great checklist to ensure your event is inclusive: https://campus-climate.umn.edu/content/creating-accessible-and-inclusive-meetings-or-events
  • Acknowledge that many disabilities are invisible. Autism certainly is an invisible disability.
  • Be aware that others will model your behavior.

Each of us needs to advocate for change if accessibility is to occur. Perhaps the first step is to ask yourself what are your attitudes to accessibility?

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