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Celebrating International Day of Persons With Disabilities

Celebrating International Day of Persons With Disabilities

December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). Also referred to as the International Day of Disabled Persons or, simply, World Disability Day, the event aims to raise awareness about issues affecting people with disabilities and the contributions of these communities to all areas of life, including the social, political, cultural, and economic spheres. It also aims to mobilize support for their well-being, dignity, and rights.

The United Nations General Assembly first proclaimed annual observance of this occasion in 1992, making this year the 29th celebration and marking almost three decades of positive and proactive change for the diverse communities of people with disabilities.

Themes for IDPD 2022

Every year, the UN declares a new theme for the event. Last year’s IDPD theme, for example, was “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible, and sustainable post-COVID-19 world,” while the first themed year in 1998 highlighted “Arts, culture, and independent living.”

For 2022, the IDPD theme is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world.”

Interactive IDPD 2022 events will explore this topic through three different lenses:

1. Innovation for disability-inclusive development in employment

These conversations will focus on the skills and knowledge needed for everyone to access employment in a fast-changing technological environment. Discussions will cover the use of assistive technologies to improve employment accessibility for people with disabilities and the popularization of these technologies in the workforce.

2. Innovation for disability-inclusive development in reducing inequality

These conversations will promote workplace diversity and explore good practices, practical tools, and innovations designed to make employment in both the private and public sectors more equitable and disability-inclusive.

3. Innovation for disability-inclusive development in sports

These conversations will explore the topics mentioned above through the lens of sports as an “exemplary case,” i.e., a sector in which all these aspects come together. This is because sports provides a comprehensive intersection of good practices, innovation, equity, and access to employment.

IDPD 2022 events

If you’re in New York City, you can celebrate IDPD at the UN Headquarters itself; there you’ll find the Official Opening Ceremony along with an array of panel discussions and special cultural events.

If you’re not in New York, don’t worry — there’s a good chance you can still find IDPD 2022 events near you. The UN encourages civil-society organizations, private-sector organizations, and member states themselves to hold events of their own to “raise awareness and promote the rights and perspectives of persons with disabilities around the world.”

The 2022 IDPD also focuses on raising awareness about “unseen” disabilities, such as mental disorders, fatigue, and chronic pain. As these events remind us, just because someone’s disability isn’t visible, its impacts are no less significant.

Celebrating IDPD 2022 in the workplace

The Diversity and Inclusion Speakers Agency suggests several ways to celebrate IDPD in the workplace, including those outlined below.

Make a meaningful pledge

Pledge to value accessibility, serve your workers and coworkers with disabilities, and celebrate diversity in your workplace. Examples of concrete action include:

  • establishing stronger discrimination policies,
  • improving accessibility,
  • evaluating diversity among your team,
  • donating to a disability-related charity, and
  • making a public statement supporting the rights and needs of workers with disabilities.

Acknowledge neurodiversity

Neurodivergence is a common invisible disability that manifests in several ways, including the following:

  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Dysgraphia
  • Dyscalculia
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Tourette syndrome

Improve inclusion and accessibility

Improving accessibility facilitates inclusion and acceptance in the workplace. Ways to improve accessibility include:

  • wheelchair lifts and ramps,
  • signs in braille,
  • digital accessibility technologies and tools,
  • quiet rooms for those with noise sensitivities, and
  • adaptive chairs and desks.

One final way to celebrate IDPD 2022 in the workplace or your community is to organize training sessions that improve customer service, educate on legal requirements concerning people with disabilities, encourage communication, and change perceptions about disabilities and the people with them.

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