Today, Saturday 3 of December is the International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD), an internationally observed day celebrated on the third day of December each year.
An initiative of the United Nations, the day aims to increase public understanding and awareness of people with disability and to celebrate the achievements and contributions of the 4.4 million Australians with disability in our local communities.
It is an opportunity for us all to make positive changes and to build a more inclusive and accepting society through increasing awareness of the barriers that can exist to participation and involvement for people with disability within our communities.
For this year’s theme of ‘Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world’ we wanted to share ways that we can ensure community spaces are inclusive of everyone in our communities. This may be at our private social gatherings, religious congregations, sporting events, concerts or any public event that is attended by members of the community.
People and families who experience disability may at times feel isolated because community spaces are not always designed for their needs.
Inclusion often begins with understanding the diversity of disability; that it can be in how we communicate, our mobility or the way we process the world around us.
The Elcies Disability Care team have provided the following practical steps on how to make a space inclusive;
- having a quiet area for a person to access if they are feeling overwhelmed
- having a space in the building or area where a person can walk or stand if they require more sensory input (your five senses that require stimuli)
- including visual aids (basic and clear pictures) if sharing information about the event to help individuals with communication challenges
- Or providing printed version of information (with visual aids) to share with attendees the different parts of the event and what happens at each point. This can include items such as times to sing or where everyone will be still and/or listening.
Most people and families report that community spaces which allow them to feel like they can be themselves can support them in feeling accepted and connected to their community.
If ever you are in doubt of how to support someone at a community event or gathering, asking respectfully how you can make your communal space more accessible for them will always be a welcoming gesture of inclusion and support.
There are also some great examples of organisations in South Australia and around the country who have already started taking the steps to provide inclusive spaces in our local communities that we can learn from:
- Adelaide 36ers Game Day Sensory Space – https://www.adelaide36ers.com/pages/sensory-room
- Adelaide Fringe Access Guide – https://adelaidefringe.com.au/accessibility-at-fringe
- Marvel Stadium Sensory Room – https://marvelstadium.com.au/sensory-room-accessibility/
More information about International Day of People with Disability, and access to a range of inclusive resources can be found at the IDPwD website here: https://www.idpwd.com.au/resources/
Elcies Disability Care is the disability services branch of Lutheran Community Care (Lutheran Care), a registered NDIS Specialist Behaviour Support Provider.
To find out more about Elcies Disability Care, call 1800 352 437 visit www.lutherancare.org.au/EDC