Submitted by jbraun on

Since 1992, the United Nations has promoted International Day of People with Disabilities. The day, Dec. 3, is aimed at encouraging a better understanding of people affected by disabilities and more awareness of their rights, welfare and dignity.

More than one billion people, 15 percent of the world’s population, are living with disability, according to the World Health Organization World Report on Disability. Of that number, an estimated 450 million people are living with a mental or neurological condition and two-thirds will not seek professional medical help, largely due to stigma, discrimination and neglect. Another estimated 69 million people sustain traumatic brain injuries each year worldwide, while one in 160 children are identified as being on the autism spectrum.

Creating a more inclusive society is not limited to ensuring that people with disabilities are able to travel with ease and go anywhere they desire. Access to jobs is also important. Other suggestions include providing proper equipment to accommodate different heights, different levels of mobility, vision and hearing, and closed-captioning on all visuals with audio.

The 2020 theme for International Day of People with Disabilities is “Not all Disabilities are Visible.” The focus is on spreading awareness and understanding of disabilities that are not immediately obvious, such as mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing impairments, diabetes, brain injuries, neurological disorders, learning differences, and cognitive dysfunctions. Millions of people are currently living with disabilities that are not immediately apparent. The theme for 2020 is a reminder of the importance of removing barriers for all people living with disability, both visible and invisible.