Learning About the International Day for People with Disabilities

International Day of People With Disability is on the 3rd December

Since the annual International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is just around the corner, you’ll want to arm yourself with knowledge about it. This widely celebrated international day for people with disabilities of all shapes and sizes is held on 3 December each year. We love its aim – to raise awareness and acceptance of people with disabilities, which is also part of Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031.

IDPwD is a United Nations initiative that’s observed across the globe and deserves all the attention it gets. In Australia the day is marked as a big opportunity to make positive changes in the lives of people with disability, which number around 4.4 million.

The theme for International Day of People with Disability 2022

Every year the UN announces a new theme for the IDPwD. This has been happening since 1992 when the UN’s general assembly first set aside an international day for people with disabilities on the calendar.

The theme guides society on how to better include people with disabilities across workplaces, communities, families, friendships and beyond. Its admirable goal is to break down physical, technological and attitudinal barriers.

The International Day of People with Disability 2022 has the theme of ‘Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world’.

People with disabilities in Australia like this man wearing a mustard jacket, glasses and a hat on his mobility scooter in front of pink flowers are an important part of society.

How government supports the IDPwD

The Federal Government’s been supporting the IDPwD since 1996 through funds to raise awareness across the country. Australians are also encouraged to organise activities in schools, communities and businesses to show support for the day.

This globally recognised international day for people with disabilities also features in Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-2031 (read about that here and below). Government projects and campaigns go well beyond 3 December to create awareness and celebrate the contribution of people with disabilities in Australia.

Some of these initiatives include:

  • Showcasing the achievements of people with disabilities through sponsored national awards, events and activities.
  • Making use of ambassadors and storytelling to celebrate the accomplishments of people with disabilities.
  • Breaking down barriers and misconceptions through education at a community level.
  • Ensuring people with disabilities in Australia feel represented and celebrated by building a strong community of support for them. (Read our article on disability access in travel and tourism)
  • Encouraging disability organisations to work together and share resources. (Also read our guide to disability in the workplace)

What does Australia’s Disability Strategy entail?

The strategy aims to build a more inclusive society where people with disabilities can live their lives and realise their dreams as equal members of the community.

Here’s a snapshot of the strategy’s mission:

  • Provides national leadership towards greater inclusion.
  • Guides activity across all areas of public policy to be inclusive and responsive.
  • Drives mainstream services and systems to improve outcomes for people with disabilities.
  • Engages, informs and involves the whole community in achieving a more inclusive society.

Watch this video about the strategy:

The seven focus areas of Australia’s Disability Strategy

Australia’s Disability Strategy highlights seven key areas that need to improve in terms of inclusivity for people with disabilities:

  1. Employment and Financial Security
  2. Inclusive Homes and Communities
  3. Safety, Rights and Justice
  4. Personal and Community Support
  5. Education and Learning
  6. Health and Wellbeing
  7. Community Attitudes

As the NDIS website states, the strategy’s overarching purpose is to: 

  • Provide national leadership towards greater inclusion of people with disability 
  • Guide activity across all areas of public policy to be inclusive and responsive to people with disability 
  • Drive mainstream services and systems to improve outcomes for people with disability 
  • Engage, inform and involve the whole community in achieving a more inclusive society

Our international day for people with disabilities – visible and invisible

The International Day of People with Disability 2022 is also a time to highlight that not all disabilities are obvious. In Australia about five million people live with invisible disabilities.

“Invisible disabilities, also known as Hidden Disabilities or Non-visible Disabilities (NVD), are disabilities that are not immediately apparent, are typically chronic illnesses and conditions that significantly impair normal activities of daily living” – Wikipedia

As with IDPwD, Australia's Disability Strategy promotes awareness, like this sign that reads "not all disabilities are visible" stuck on a window of a red car.

There are many disabilities that can’t immediately be seen by looking at someone. Examples include Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, cancer, arthritis, lung disease, fibromyalgia, mental health issues and many more.

While these disabilities don’t always require the use of mobility equipment, they can impact some people’s ability to walk long distances without difficulty. This is why many people with invisible disabilities quality for disability parking permits or use accessible toilets.

Although it isn’t against the law for people who don’t live with disability to use accessible amenities, it is written in law that only valid permit holders can use accessible parking spaces.

So often, people with invisible disabilities feel pressure to prove their condition because they don’t “look disabled” enough to use accessible parking spaces (as highlighted in our Invisible Disabilities Week article). This is one reason why, just like with visible disabilities, educating people about invisible disabilities is so important.

Empathy is key for IDPwD and beyond

Empathy, which is the ability to understand the feelings of another, goes a long way in gaining an understanding of the different circumstances people experience in their daily life. Let’s all remember to be respectful regardless of who we’re dealing with and in what situation. Their disability may be obvious, or it may not be.

This year’s designated international day for people with disabilities – IDPwD 2022 – is a chance to remind ourselves of this and adopt a more proactive approach.

Consider protecting your wheels this IDPwD

If you drive a WAV or converted car you may find regular motor insurers will charge you more. Blue Badge Insurance doesn’t. We offer up to 25% off your disability car insurance premium if you have a disability parking permit and we offer affordable comprehensive car insurance for wheelchair accessible vehicles and disability converted cars as well as wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Contact us today for a quick quote. 

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