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Struggling through everyday life with a condition is difficult enough for people with disabilities. But what makes it harder for them is dealing with the judgement and discrimination from other people. Thousands of people around the world suffer from one form of disability. Some of them are fortunate enough to be able to succeed despite their condition, but a lot of them are not as fortunate. They are afraid to step out of their comfort zone because of the fear of not being accepted. This brings us to the question – is our world ready to accept and integrate with people with disabilities?
What is Disability Awareness?
Disability awareness is being able to understand and recognize people with disabilities and their disposition. It is educating oneself about their condition, their rights, and what we could do to help them. Disability awareness is very important because it breaks the stigma and stereotypes about people with disabilities. It is a very helpful step in breaking down barriers and creating a world that is more accepting and inclusive for them.
Tolerance vs. Acceptance and Inclusion
Tolerance, acceptance and inclusion are three words that we usually encounter when talking about disability awareness. Although they may seem to be related, the concept of these terms towards disability is completely different.
Tolerance towards people with disabilities means you are submitting to the differences – you recognize them and you are okay with it. It is being open and understanding about their condition and respect who they are. However, acceptance and inclusion go beyond tolerance.
Acceptance of people with disabilities is not just being okay with them. If tolerance recognizes the differences, acceptance disregards the differences because they accept the person as they are without judgement. It is seeing them as an equal.
Lastly, inclusion of people with disabilities means you take part in recognizing their rights and providing equal support and opportunities for them. It means understanding the relationship between the way they function and how they participate in society, and making sure they have the same opportunities to participate in every aspect of life to the best of their abilities and desires.
Promoting disability awareness should not just stop at tolerance. We should encourage the community to be more accepting and inclusive of people with disabilities. Now, what can we do to promote disability awareness?
The first step in promoting disability awareness is of course, education. Educating ourselves and also other people about people with disabilities can give us a better understanding about what they are experiencing. These are some of the things you can do to educate people about disability awareness:
- Organize events such as talks and seminars that promotes disability awareness
- Create an online propaganda to promote awareness. Use the internet and social media to spread awareness as they are becoming a successful tool for information dissemination.
Opportunities for People with Disabilities
Not many people with disabilities are given the same opportunities in the workforce as compared to their peers. They are often discriminated because of their disabilities. Providing equal opportunities and giving them a fair chance to prove themselves is the best way to promote awareness and inclusivity.
View them as Valuable Consumers
Marketing plans often disregard the disabled community. We sometimes forget that they, too, have the power to purchase. Considering people with disabilities as potential consumers when marketing products allows people to be aware of them and thus, make a greater effort to include them.
These are just some of the many things we can do to help promote disability awareness. Tolerance towards people with disability is fair and objective enough but let’s not settle with doing just that. As our world continues to grow and innovate, we should also keep on breaking down walls and stereotypes among people with disabilities.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, March 14). Disability Inclusion. Retrieved from Centers for Disease COntrol and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/disability-inclusion.html
Duquette, K. (2015, January 9). 10 ways to make society more inclusive for people with disabilities. Retrieved from One Young World: https://www.oneyoungworld.com/blog/10-ways-make-society-more-inclusive-people-disabilities
Global Lift Corp. (2016, February 8). The Importance of Disability Awareness and Getting Involved. Retrieved from Global Lift Corp: http://www.globalliftcorp.com/the-importance-of-disability-awareness-and-getting-involved/