How to make meaningful impact this International Day of People with Disabilities

Saturday 3 December 2022 is International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPwD).

The theme this year is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world“.

Celebrating the disabled community on December 3rd is great, but for true change, there needs to be more than a single day of recognition.

Awareness days come and go, and we each have a responsibility to ensure that the attention and support for disabled people on this day does not end on 3rd December. So how can we make this IDPwD have a truly meaningful impact and carry momentum?

If you ‘missed the date, that doesn’t need to stand in your way. Every day is the right day to show your commitment to Disability Inclusion and Equity in our workplaces.

Facilitate a Leader to Leader Kōrero

In 2021, Purple Space introduced the concept of ‘Leader to Leader’ conversations as part of #PurpleLightUp, inviting organisations around the world to publish conversations between Disability Employee Resources Group/Network Leaders and their CEO’s/C-suite leaders on the 3rd December. But we need not be limited to this day or week, to shine a light on the work of those committed to making contributions to workplace cultural change.

We encourage leaders to discuss:

  • How does your disability ERG/Network help employees to build their inner confidence?
  • How can organisations support disabled employees to bring their authentic selves to work and thrive?

Share your ‘good news’

Take the chance to highlight the work your organisation is doing to support disabled people, whether that be by establishment of a Disability Employee Network/Resource Group, changes to your organisation’s policy on recruitment, new strategic plans or trainings. Celebrate your success and visibly show others that you are committed to continuous improvement to accessibility.

Host a Training Session

The best way to initiate change in your workplace is to make it a topic of conversation. In order to have a productive conversation, why not host a disability training session or even start with a lunch and learn.

It’s crucial to remember that not everyone who is disabled has a visible disability, so be sure to ensure all employees are aware of the importance of accessibility. Additionally, make sure your disability training does not exclude those with less common disabilities. 

Celebrate and recognise Neurodiversity

If a disability is not visible, that does not discredit the disabled person. Many people may not even identify as disabled. It is vital to recognise neurodiversity in both the workplace and your community.

People who are neurodiverse experience, interact with and interpret the world in unique ways. It is important to reduce the stigma around those with neurodevelopmental differences. 

Some examples of neurodiversity include: 

  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Dyscalculia

It is important to recognise neurodiversity and let those who are your friends, co-workers, and community members know that they are not forgotten.

Celebrate Disability Inclusion in your Organisation

One very effective way of encouraging disability inclusion is to celebrate those that are living and breathing it.

Why not consider including disability inclusion and accessibility in your current awards structure? Or add a new award structure?

Plan an Event

Whether it is at work, within your community, or with your friend group, holding an event on or around December 3rd can help educate others on the significance of the day. Community engagement is essential to not only learn from others but to promote inclusion. 

If you are holding an event, be sure to register the event no matter how big or small so others in the community can participate.