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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

How you can work towards inclusion

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

By Alana MacLeod on December 3, 2021

Happy International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

If you didn’t know, this year’s theme is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.”

In keeping with the theme, we wanted to talk a bit about how YOU can work towards creating a more inclusive, accessible and sustainable environment. This goes way beyond just ensuring you have a few hires that fall under the umbrella or a few lines on a website about accessibility. It is so much bigger than that and can include vocabulary, reassessing how accessible a space REALLY is, engaging the people it actually affects, educating yourself, and more.

It is very likely you know, or you are, someone living with a disability. Here’s how you can make sure you’re listening and working toward an inclusive environment for everyone:Firstly and most importantly…

Engage people who actually have a disability. Often we see companies with the right intentions but the wrong methods. It is so important to actually include the people it affects when you are discussing accessibility and inclusion in any setting

Do your own research. Don’t make the people you know living with a disability do the hard work for you. Be the friend, family member, colleague, etc., who takes time to understand the unique abilities of each person. Educate yourself, look into how you can create a positive environment, how you can be an advocate and create positive change in your little part of the world. Every thing we do with inclusion and accessibility in mind can be powerful in its impacts.

Use appropriate language. Not sure what to say? Again, educate yourself. Ask the individual what they prefer. We’ve mentioned this one before, but I can not express how important it really is. Don’t assume or correct a person with a disability in how they refer to themselves. Both identity-first and person-first language is okay, but make sure you ask which they prefer. Assuming or correcting an individual can make a person feel like you don’t respect them, their decisions, or their autonomy.

Don’t assume what a person can or can not do. This is a BIG one and one you may do without even realizing. At Rocky Mountain Adaptive, we know first-hand how important independence is. Don’t assume a person can’t do something because of their disability and don’t inflict barriers on them that they don’t consent too. Another friendly reminder to educate yourself.

So, for this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, work towards ensuring your own bubble is as inclusive as it possibly can be. Every little thing we do counts.

Inspired by this Story?

If this story has inspired you to get involved in adaptive sports, we have a large range of accessible adventures available to you.

Join In the Fun

Want to join the fun and give back? Volunteering with Rocky Mountain Adaptive is a great way to support your community while assisting others.

Struggling with Mental Health?

If you are struggling with mental health, there are many great resources in the Bow Valley. Please do not hesitate to reach out.

Make a Difference

You can make a difference to the growth of adaptive sports by donating to the Clairey Lou Memorial Fund & Matthew Hamer Legacy Fund. Thank you.

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