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International Day of Persons with Disabilities - What You Should Know

Van  Thompson Portrait
By: Van Thompson
November 30, 2022

A globe illustration with the text International Day of Persons with Disabilities



Every year, on December 3rd, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is honoured globally. It is a day meant to recognize people with disabilities worldwide. We celebrate how far we've come with disability rights and acknowledge how far we still have to go.


International Day of Persons with Disabilities is one of many special days in December. While it may not share the same level of public knowledge as other December holidays, the day is significant to people with disabilities. 


Keep reading to find out more about the day's origin, theme, and meaning. 


When did this day start? And who started it?


International Day of Persons with Disabilities was first recognized in 1992 by the United Nations. The United Nations announced the day after the 1980s "Decade of Disabled Persons." Starting on December 3rd, 1982, the United Nations promoted the welfare and dignity of people with disabilities around the world. 


From 1982 to 1992, disability issues got a lot of attention. Here are some examples of the work that went on: 

  • overseeing and studying the violations of rights for people with disabilities
  • increasing funding for various projects 
  • researching disability rights and training
  • publishing the Tallinn Guidelines for Action on Human Resources Development in the Field of Disability in 1989 - these guidelines are still used as principles for the personal freedom and rights of people with disabilities 


December 3rd, 1992, marked the 10th anniversary of the Decade of Disabled Persons. So, this day became the observed day for people with disabilities. 


How is this day recognized?


Every year, the United Nations announces a specific theme about disability. The theme is a catalyst to highlight issues and for groups to host events worldwide to discuss related topics. Leaders, activists, and government can bring attention to issues that create barriers. The yearly themes help to focus groups and determine action for the year to come. Event speakers often include activists, professors, diplomats, and United Nations representatives.


In 2022, the year's theme is "The role of innovation in fueling an accessible and inclusive world." Ideally, people with disabilities will have conversations with media, governments, and corporations that will turn their attention to disability issues for this day. When we all start to talk about ways to fix problems, we might be able to develop innovative solutions. In turn, we can create a much more equitable world for all. 


There is a commemoration of the day in New York. It will occur on Monday, December 5th, over Zoom. The topics include: 

  • assistive technologies aiding accessibility in the workforce 
  • tools and practices for increasing accessibility in the private sector.

You can register for the event by filling out this form.


Keep an eye out for local events hosted by your community, province, or disability-related organizations. Many will host local discussions or conferences that bring disability rights and activism to a more local level. This opportunity is a great way to become active in your community. You can share your thoughts and opinions with others in your area. 


How does Accessibrand fit in with this year's theme?


Innovation isn't always new technologies or inventions. Sometimes innovation can be as simple as a small change that makes a big difference. Accessibrand advises on needed changes to websites, designs, and marketing materials so that they can be accessible. And for some of our clients, this new way of reaching people with disabilities can be truly innovative!


Accessibrand also has an innovative approach to work. We understand that an average 9-5 work-day isn't possible for many people with disabilities. That's why we've made work flexible. Our workplace accommodates people. It's how we can keep the perspectives of people with disabilities at the forefront of design, marketing and communications projects. Our innovative investment in our people ensures an inclusive environment that promotes equity and opportunity. 

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