A United Nations (UN) driven day to raise awareness. The theme this year is empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality, which is part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The pledge is to ‘leave no one behind’.
The use of inclusive language helps to avoid assumptions and misunderstandings and promote respectful relationships.
- Do not focus on the disability, but do not be afraid to refer to it if necessary.
- Empathise with the person rather than sympathise; people with disability want to be accepted not pitied.
- Disabled people are diverse. Many work in a range of professions, pay taxes, have families and relationships and have a range of interests.
- Avoid assuming that disability is experienced as an illness. Many disabilities are stable and do not automatically involve problems with general health.
- Don’t be afraid to ask if the person has any individual requirements or to offer assistance if warranted but don’t be offended if the person says they don’t need support.
- Don’t assume that everyone with a disability is an expert on a range of disability issues or accessibility.
- Understand that it is not the disability that can be disabling but a lack of accessibility i.e. buildings that only have steps.
- Ensure that if you are making reasonable adjustments in the workplace that you regularly review them and do not use a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model. People are individuals.
To find out more about disability rights in the UK see Equality and Human Rights Commission information.