Meet Elizabeth, she lives with Cerebral Palsy. She writes about her experience and explains why International Day of People with Disability is important.
My name is Elizabeth, I’m 51 years of age and diagnosed with Spastic Cerebral Palsy in 2019.
Why is International Day of People with a Disability important to acknowledge?
Because as a society it’s important to spread the word that we’re all equal. We need to break down the huge barriers and stigma that still surround disability.
What does International Day of Disability mean to me?
It is a day to recognise, embrace, acknowledge and accept people with disabilities in all walks of life. To celebrate their achievements and valuable contributions in life whilst acknowledging the hurdles they’ve had to overcome to get there.
My tips for challenging the way you think about disability are…
To always have an open mind, an open heart, be patient, be willing to listen without judgement, be accepting of someone who’s different. Never judge a person before you’ve really been given an opportunity to really get to know them and never think a person’s not capable of achieving what they set their mind to because they look or act different. Be willing to help people when they ask for assistance but never assume they can’t do anything. Be willing to explore other ways of getting things done.
How can you help grow a more inclusive Australia?
By challenging people’s perception of and encouraging change in the way they view a person with a disability. Society needs to have a more holistic approach by including disabled people more in normal day-to-day life, such as having more inclusive employers who are willing to employ people with disabilities, including them in sport, making venues more accessible, having more locations for accessible toilets so disabled people can enjoy life more knowing they have the same choices as able-bodied people.