[A photo of two men sitting outside underneath a tent. there is a car facing backwards behind them with the trunk door open. The man on the left is black with a beard. He is wearing a grey polo shirt. He is sitting behind a table with a purple tablecloth with a Solutions for Independence sign. The man on the right has a disability and is using an electric wheelchair. The man in the wheelchair is white with brown, close cropped hair and a beard. He is wearing a blue and white striped polo shirt and khaki pants. The two men are smiling at the camera.]

Embracing Inclusion: International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Every year on December 3rd, we celebrate a special day called the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This day is about making sure everyone, no matter how they are, feels included and equal. It’s important to think about how far we’ve come, the challenges we still face, and how we can all work together to make the world a better place for everyone.

The IDPD started because the United Nations made a plan in 1982 to help people with disabilities. But it wasn’t until 1992 that they officially said December 3rd would be the day to celebrate and support people with disabilities. This day helps people understand more about disabilities and supports the rights and well-being of those with disabilities.

Making a community that supports people with disabilities live independently is very important. It’s not just about making places easy to get around; it’s also about making sure everyone feels strong, understood, and connected. In a good community, people with disabilities are not just living there – they are important members whose voices are heard, needs are thought about, and dreams are supported. Everyone in the community works together to remove barriers, like things that are hard to use or attitudes that are not kind. By sharing resources, working together, and being kind, a community for independent living becomes a happy place where everyone’s abilities are celebrated. It’s a place where people can live by themselves and also do well together, showing that true independence is a part of being in a supportive and inclusive community.

Making jobs that include people with disabilities is a big change that makes workplaces and societies better for everyone. Inclusive employment means seeing the talents and skills of everyone, no matter what abilities they have. Businesses can do this by hiring in a fair way, making changes to help people work better, and creating a supportive place to work. Having different kinds of people at work not only makes new and better ideas but also makes a fair and respectful culture. When we give equal chances to people with disabilities to work, it helps them have money and also makes our society more fair, caring, and inclusive.

There are important laws, like the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and an update in 2014 called the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), that help people with disabilities. The WIOA says that most of the people working in communities for independent living should also have a disability. This helps these communities understand the programs they are a part of better.

Making the world inclusive is not just about physical places; it’s also about digital spaces like websites and apps. With more people using technology, it’s crucial to make websites and apps that everyone can use. This means adding things like screen readers and voice commands that help people with disabilities use digital things easily.

While it’s important to make physical places accessible, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities also cares about mental health. People with mental health challenges often face being treated badly, which stops them from joining in everything. We need to be understanding, kind, and make environments that care about mental well-being. This way, people with mental health challenges are treated with dignity and respect.

Here at Solutions for Independence, we serve people with significant disabilities so they can live independently in the community of their choice. Our community members learn how to speak up for their rights and get skills to live on their own. Skills like budgeting, cooking, and using public transportation. We also give resources, information, and support from others who understand. We believe everyone should have the same chances to live their best lives, no matter what.

As we celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, let’s promise to make a world that welcomes everyone, removes barriers, and includes everyone. Let’s look at disabilities not as things that stop us but as things that make us unique and strong. When we do this, we’re taking a big step toward a world that cares for everyone, understands everyone, and includes everyone.


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission https://www.eeoc.gov/statutes/rehabilitation-act-1973

North Carolina Department of Commerce https://www.commerce.nc.gov/jobs-training/workforce-professionals-tools-resources/workforce-innovation-and-opportunity-act