International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an international observance promoted by the United Nations, since 1992. This is more than just an annual day, but a movement used to break down barriers to inclusion and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
This Year’s Theme
This year’s theme is ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible’. In the UK alone, 1 in 5 people are living with disabilities, with 80% of those having an invisible disability. Promoting the understanding that not all disabilities are immediately apparent helps reduce the prejudice and mindset people have, placing disabled people into a one size fits all box. Spreading awareness for invisible disabilities stresses the importance of removing barriers, such as what a disabled person ‘should’ look like, for this huge collective of people.
Some examples of non-visible disabilities might include:
• Heart Conditions
• Crohn’s Disease
• Brain Injuries
• Mental Health Conditions
When considering the diagnosis process of many hidden disabilities, it is not uncommon that people experience delayed diagnosis due to the lack of understanding and belief from medical professionals. Using the example of Endometriosis, although 1 in 10 women and those assigned female at birth in the UK are said to have the condition, it on average takes 7.5 years to be diagnosed with it.
Unfortunately, symptoms can often be overlooked if the cause of them is something that is not present on examination or minor investigation.
Many women and those assigned female at birth face a long battle including self-advocacy to have investigative surgery called a Laparoscopy which is performed to establish a diagnosis and treat Endometriosis, if found to be necessary. Endometriosis UK outline some key symptoms of the conditions, as well as highlighting ways you can access support if you yourself suffer with this condition.
Aim of International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Dedicating a day to promote awareness of the struggles that others face, allows for compassion and willingness to try and understand how you can take steps to alter your unconscious bias and prejudice. In turn, this helps achieve the aim to increase the awareness and wellbeing of disabled people in all aspects of their life.
Having the reminder that being an ally of the disabled community does not just require your ability to listen, but also requires action to re-align your own opinions and actions to create a more inclusive environment, ultimately helps to combat the discrimination many disabled people still face.
The commitment to realising the rights of persons with disabilities is not only a matter of justice; it is an investment in a common future. Disability inclusion is an essential condition to upholding peace, security, sustainable development and human rights. It is vital to ensure a group as large as one billion people, worldwide, are not excluded in our societies.
Disability inclusion means understanding the relationship between the way people function and how they participate in society. This in turns helps ensure everybody has the same opportunities in every aspect of life, to the best of their abilities and desires.
At Wolferstans our specialist team has experience of assisting people who have suffered injury and loss as a result of negligently delayed diagnosis and treatment of non-visible disabilities. If you or a family member has suffered in this way, please contact us on 01752 292201.