December 3 was International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD). Here, Phin Meere, our Community and Disability Services Comunications Officer, shares his thoughts on the day.
“In Australia this IDPwD, we are being encouraged to see the ABILITY in disability.
As a person with lived experience of disability, this is problematic as it suggests that having a disability is inherently bad, so much so that we have to emphasise someone’s ability. For me, such a suggestion diminishes somebody’s personhood. It also indicates that the focus should be on someone’s medical impairment rather considering the social model of disability. The Social Model of Disability suggests that attitudinal, physical communication and social barriers from within society prevent people with disabilities equally participating in society. Perhaps if we address these barriers from within society, people with disabilities will be able to fully participate in all aspects of society, as our nondisabled counterparts can do?
On a positive note, IDPwD does provide us with an opportunity to reflect on what we do and envision the possibility of doing it better. The challenge is with all of us: how are we being inclusive and making the world accessible in actions as well as words?
As we live our daily lives we need to consider…
Is public transport, our workplace, our sporting or community group accessible?
Is the café we visit accessible?
Is my street or my house accessible?
Are my local beaches accessible?
It is only by making change at a micro-level in our own lives, that we can create change at a macro level within society.
There is much to celebrate and recognise regarding the contribution people with disability make to our community. Equally, we have to acknowledge our responsibility to ensure we are doing everything we can (and acknowledge we are still learning how to) make the world accessible and inclusive of people with disability.”