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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Students and Teacher working together

December 3rd is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities! The theme for 2018 is: “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.”

People with disabilities still face barriers to inclusion in the workplace, in schools and in our society. Removing barriers for people with disabilities empowers individuals to fully participate and contribute in society. Whether the person with a disability is a student, a co-worker, a community member, or a family member, we know that the entire community benefits because of the contributions made by everyone. Many aspects of disability result from the barriers presented by the design of our society rather than being reflective of the ability of the individual to contribute to society. 

The United Nations has established each December 3rd as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).  This is a day intended, “to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.”

The theme for IDPD 2018 is: "Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality." The United Nations has set 17 goals related to sustainable development. These sustainable development goals (SDGs) are set for the period of 2015 – 2030. Disability is referenced in various parts of the SDGs.  For instance:

  • Building and upgrading education facilities that are disability sensitive.
  • Full and productive employment and decent work for all.
  • Equal pay for work of equal value.
  • Empowering and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all.
  • Access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all.
  • Providing universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible green and public spaces for all.

To read more, access:

The entire school community benefits when barriers are removed and individuals with disabilities are empowered to contribute and participate in our school community.  Educators have a valuable role to play.  We can raise awareness, change attitudes, and embrace differences. We can help change negative assumptions and stereotypes, creating a school community that recognizes everyone truly is able.

ETFO offers Disability Connections Incentive Funding (up to $300) to ETFO members to further this work. Contact Punita Bhardwaj at for more information.

ETFO also has a resource highlighting disability issues, called Everyone is Able. It includes a DVD and Guidebook which is a curriculum resource to use with students and educators to help develop an understanding and appreciation for the diversity in our schools.  Find this resource at shopETFO: Your local can book a workshop related to this resource by contacting ETFO Equity and Women's Services.