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International Day of People with Disabilities: 3 December

Tue 28 Nov 2023

International Day of Disabled Persons is the 3 December 2023. First launched in 1992, the day is hosted by the United Nations (UN) and encourages business leaders across the globe to value the unique contributions of disabled people. For more information click here.  Annually WHO decides on a theme, in 2023, the theme is ‘Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world'.

The day is about promoting the rights of people with disabilities in all areas of society. It aims to increase the awareness and wellbeing of disabled people in all aspects of their life.  It acts as a reminder for us all to combat the discrimination many disabled people still face.  The World Health Organisation (WHO) joins the UN in observing this day each year, highlighting the importance of securing the rights of people with disabilities, in order for them to participate fully, equally and effectively in society, and face no barriers in all aspects of their lives.


Why international day of persons with disabilities is important

  • Celebration – to recognise and value the diversity of our global community, and to celebrate the role we all play, regardless of our abilities.
  • Learning – to understand and learn from the experiences of people living with a disability.
  • Optimism – to look forward to a world where a person is characterised by their abilities not their disabilities.
  • Awareness – to build awareness of people with disabilities, as people with disabilities sometimes feel invisible in our society. To reduce any stigma and discrimination those with disabilities may feel.
  • Legal – Under the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits discrimination against people with the protected characteristics that are specified in the Act. Disability is one of the specified protected characteristics.


Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean that it is not there

Some disabilities, like mental health disorders, chronic pain and fatigue, are invisible, but that does not make them any less devastating to someone’s quality of life.

Non-visible disabilities, also known as invisible or hidden disabilities are not immediately obvious. They can be physical, mental, or neurological and include, autism and Asperger syndrome, cognitive impairments such as learning disabilities and dementia, mental health conditions and speech, visual impairments or hearing loss, as well as many other conditions. They also include respiratory and chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, chronic pain and sleep disorders when these significantly impact day-to-day life.  Some physical disabilities are not always visible until in their later stages, this include conditions like Multiple Sclerosis.

And often, many people experience a combination of both visible and non-visible impairments and conditions.

Globally 1 in 6 of us live with a disability. And of those, 80% are invisible. That is 1.3 billion people who are living with a non-visible disability.

The more we all understand about both visible and non-visible disabilities, the more we can help to improve the lives of people experiencing them. Some people with a non-visible disability choose to wear a Sunflower lanyard with details of their condition.  For more details click here.

Overall, the day is to help everyone become more compassionate and understanding of the challenges faced by people with disabilities. To ensure that all people in the world have equal opportunities for work, play, health, and success. To appreciate that people with disabilities are valued members of society.


Getting information, help and support

Type of article: Articles
Category: Wellbeing

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