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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

December 3rd is known around the world as International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).

What is International Day of Persons with Disabilities?

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

According to the United Nations (UN), the purpose of International Day of Persons with Disabilities is to promote the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities and to take action for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society.

The UN states that more than one billion people, or approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability; 80 per cent live in developing countries. Evidence and experience shows that when barriers to inclusion are removed and persons with disabilities are empowered to participate fully in societal life, the entire community benefits.

Accessibility and inclusion is about more than just making physical spaces accessible, it’s also about digital spaces, access to education, general awareness about how to make people in your lives feel included. People may be living with a disability that they aren’t ready to disclose, for fear of stigma, or having expectations lowered.

Learn more by watching Carrie Anton, Accessibility Services Coordinator at Athabasca University (AU) on CTV Morning Live, Calgary.

Below, you’ll find some resources to help make the physical and digital spaces around you more inclusive and accessible for all.

Let's talk about inclusive language

Brad McCannell, Vice President, Access and Inclusion at the Rick Hansen Foundation shares ways to ensure the language you are using is inclusive. Ensuring you are using “people-first” language helps everyone feel included. We are people first.

“We’re people… we’re people with disabilities. We’re people who are deaf, people who are blind, people who use wheel chairs. The important thing is, that we are people first.” ~Brad McCannell

“An amazing thing will happen when you start referring to people with disabilities as people. You'll start to think of us as people. If you think of us as disabled people, the first thing you you think of is that we're disabled.”

– Brad McCannell, Vice President, Access and Inclusion at the Rick Hansen Foundation

Accessible Spaces 101

Accessibility affects Canadians text on a blue background with text that reads: 47% of Canadians have a relationship with someone that has a disability or challenge

When was the last time you had trouble accessing a building? Were there too many steps, or no ramps? Perhaps there were no beacons alerting you that a doorway was coming, or a post right in the middle of the door. When you entered the building, were the directional signs clear?

PowerED™ by Athabasca University recently launched a new course called Accessible Spaces 101 in partnership with the Rick Hansen Foundation. This self-paced online course examines the impact of the social and physical environment on people with disabilities and introduces the application of universal design for creating meaningful access.

Accessible Spaces 101 is open to anyone who has an interest in understanding more about how building design can improve accessibility. This course opens on January 18. If you are interested, sign up for the next information session taking place on Dec. 10 at 11-12 p.m. MST.

“The World Health Organization says that there’s over 1 billion people living with a disability today. Someone you know, or meet, or talk to may have a disability and you may not know it. It’s important for us to first understand that they may have a visible or invisible disability.”

– Carrie Anton, Accessibility Services Coordinator at Athabasca University

Accessibility Resources

Accessibility affects Canadians text on a blue background with text that reads: 24% of Canadians have a mobility, vision or hearing disability or challenge

When we discuss making spaces accessible, it’s not just physical spaces that need to be focused on. Here are some ways to make the digital world around you accessible for all.

Whether you are a learner or team member at AU, if you’re having accessibility issues with content, forms, platforms, or whatever it might be, please contact the Accessibility Services office by email.

Published:
  • December 3, 2020