Next week marks an important day around the globe – International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Celebrated on December 3rd, this day celebrates an understanding and support of the rights and well-being of people with disabilities throughout the world. It is a day to raise awareness for inclusion and respect, as well as promote better access to basic human rights.
So what can you do to honor International Day of Persons with Disabilities? We’ve put together a list of ways you can participate in diversity inclusion, especially during the holidays.
1. Make Holiday Gatherings Accessible – Choose a home or venue that is easily accessible for those with disabilities. Don’t exclude anyone because they can’t access a disability-friendly entrance. Make sure there is adequate parking space for someone who might need it, and wheelchair accessible doorways for easy mobility. Review buffet heights with caterers so food is easy to reach.
2. Consider Menu Requirements – If your company or office is hosting a holiday party, consider menu requirements for everyone invited. Are gluten free options available on the menu or buffet? Are the fonts and colors of the menu easy to read? It may be necessary to provide a menu in braille if need be. Take extra time to learn the guest list and accommodate menu and food choices accordingly.
3. Ask Questions – Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask friends, family members, or event attendees with disabilities how you can help them. This one isn’t only reserved for the holidays. Find out what you can do throughout the year to make life easier for people you care about.
4. Attend a Disability Awareness Program – Raising awareness within your community starts with you. Attend Disability Awareness Programs to learn how you can contribute to a society that accepts and respects people with disabilities. To learn more about these programs and how you can raise awareness, read our blog post on How to Promote Disability Awareness.
5. Hire a Sign Language Interpreter – Organizations that host religious gatherings or events that heavily rely on audio should look into hiring a sign language interpreter. Sign language interpreters transform events that would otherwise be audibly inaccessible for those with hearing disabilities into engaging occasions.
6. Offer Remote Attendance – Zoom calls and virtual meetings became the norm in 2020. However, remote attendance shouldn’t stop being offered because we’re able to gather in person again. Many people with certain disabilities are unable to leave their homes or attend large gatherings with limited space. Continue offering remote attendance as a way to reach those that physically cannot attend in person.
Although this blog is specifically geared toward International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the holidays, it’s important to promote inclusion throughout the entire year. If you would like to learn more about the NEIL’s Disability Awareness Programs or how you can get involved, fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (573) 221-8282.