Return to Headlines

International Day of Persons with Disabilities Resources

people with disabilitiesSaturday, December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, as proclaimed by the United Nations.

Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26% of people in the United States have a disability that affects their daily life? Since not all disabilities show on the outside, you may not be aware that your neighbor, co-worker or child’s classmate has a disability. There are many kinds of disabilities, including learning disabilities, Autism, physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, mental illnesses, chronic illnesses and more. People with disabilities are represented across all races, ethnic groups and religions.

Despite being one of the largest minority groups in the United States, people with disabilities often face challenges due to conscious and unconscious biases, including discrimination in education, employment, and housing, barriers such as inaccessible physical or digital spaces, and micro-aggressions. This kind of bias and discrimination is known as ableism. The good news is disability is not the same as inability! There have been many successful disabled people, and with the proper support, people with disabilities can live full and self-determined lives.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities is the perfect time to learn more about people with disabilities and what you can do to be a better ally.

A great place to start is by watching the recording of Cheltenham’s Annual Inclusion event from last year. Learn why it matters that we discuss disability and pick up valuable tips on what you can do to be a better ally to people with disabilities.

Set aside some time to read books, listen to podcasts and watch films by disabled people and celebrate the role of disabled people in history.  The Power of Words Disability Resource List is a great place to begin.

It’s also a great time to celebrate people with disabilities along with your children and get them thinking about how they can be good allies.

When you talk with your children about the characteristics that make us different from one another, such as race and gender, be sure to include disability in the conversation, letting them know it is safe to discuss disability and ask questions. You can start by reading one of the books from Talking About Identity’s Disability Inclusive Booklist together.

Celebrate and embrace individuality! Create an understanding that all people, including those with disabilities, have unique strengths, gifts, and challenges.

Words Matter: Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, compassion and respect. Never use disability-related terms as insults.

Learn what to say and what to avoid when talking about disability by taking a moment to review Talking About Identity’s Talking About Disability Toolkit.

Add your voice to the growing movement to end the hurtful use of the “R” word and embrace inclusion through the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign. Pledge to be inclusive!

Reach out to the Special Education Alliance of Cheltenham (SEAC) at with any questions.