How to Promote Disability Awareness
How to Promote Disability Awareness
There are roughly 14.1 million disabled people in the UK. This number may surprise some as disabilities are not always visible or openly discussed.
Although many charities and disability advocates have worked tirelessly over the years to bring more visibility to various disabilities and help give disabled people a voice, there is still a long way to go when it comes to the mainstream promotion of disability awareness.
As providers of adventure holidays for people with disabilities, creating an inclusive, welcoming environment and supporting equality is at the heart of what we do.
To that end, we share some ideas on how to promote and encourage disability awareness in your community! Our list is certainly not exhaustive, but we hope to inspire and motivate those who may not know where to begin.
Why is Disability Awareness Important?
If you are not disabled, chances are you know someone or numerous people who are, yet there is still much misinformation and ignorance surrounding disability. Because so much of the non-disabled population is unaware of the barriers disabled people face, the flaws of society can go unaddressed.
Promoting disability awareness is about considering how we can work together to recognise and remove social and workplace barriers to create more inclusive environments for all who have dealt with discrimination because of disability.
Creating Equality Through Education
Learning more about disability is essential in improving equal opportunities for disabled people. Accessible education helps more people understand the reality of having a disability compared to how it is commonly perceived.
Some believe that disability itself is the sole reason why someone faces barriers in their life. However, it is not an impairment that hinders a person but a discriminatory environment that doesn’t accommodate diversity.
With more awareness comes the opportunity for a more accessible and equal world. This would transform the day-to-day lives of disabled people by improving things that many non-disabled people may take for granted, such as access to buildings or other facilities.
The general assumption that disabled people are unable to do certain things can also be challenged through increased awareness. Assumptions like this can include the belief that a disabled person is unable to:
- Live independently
- Have children
- Be employed
These types of assumptions need to be addressed and changed.
Using the Correct Language to Talk About Disability
Awareness campaigns often begin by starting a conversation. The kind of language we use in these conversations can have a significant impact on others’ perceptions of disability.
Educating yourself on current and preferred disability terminology is essential. If you hear others using hurtful or outdated terms, do your best to inform them about inclusive language in a productive manner.
Words and their definitions will change and evolve over time, so make sure to keep informed about the most up-to-date language.
You can learn more about how to talk about disability in our guide to acceptable and unacceptable disability terminology.
Becoming informed doesn’t stop at the correct language usage. To develop a deeper understanding of disability, you need to appreciate the impact that a prejudiced society can have on people with disabilities, understand how many people it affects and how you can support changing it.
There are many organisations out there to help inform people, including:
If you are hoping to spread awareness on a large scale, such as through a social media campaign, it is integral you know the facts and present them properly, so make sure to get educated by recognised sources.
Lead By Example
It is important to model the correct behaviour, so others can take your lead when they themselves are not informed – this might be within your friendship group, family, workplace or wider community.
If you witness anything that undermines a disabled person, it is important to speak up. Ensure that everyone interacts with respect and genuine support, especially in public situations where others may copy your behaviour.
Don’t act out of pity, but instead strive for equality and meaningful change.
Disability Awareness and Inclusion in the Workplace
There are many ways workplaces can become more inclusive, with training and workplace initiatives becoming more common over recent years.
Places to start when opening up the conversation about inclusion in the workplace include:
- Encouraging volunteering opportunities
- Facilitating fundraising events
- Hosting training sessions on unconscious bias or barriers in the workplace.
Engage With Inclusive Media
Media, whether this means books, TV shows or movies, can at times offer a narrow view of the world, often not representing disabled people or doing so poorly. Seeking inclusive media can be a great way to bring disability awareness into the everyday life of people of all ages.
Positive portrayals of a disabled person help remove harmful stereotypes about disabled people not being able to do certain things or living their life in a certain way.
Look for media that uplifts disabled voices; stories and the media can do wonders for changing perceptions and societal norms, challenging views that disabled people are defined by their disability.
Support Charities & Donate
Change cannot be made through awareness alone; you also need to take direct action. Supporting charities and donating where you can is one great way to further the cause of disability awareness and support other disability campaigns.
Even if you cannot donate, offering your time as a volunteer can be another effective way to support your local charities.
It may not seem like it, but signing petitions for things that you care about can make a difference.
If there are petitions that you feel can change the lives of disabled people, whether national or local, you should support the cause that is close to your heart and your beliefs.
Follow Disability Awareness Groups on Social Media
Social media is a great way to stay up to date with key information and events, so make sure to follow groups and organisations that promote disability awareness!
This also allows you to share relevant information on your own social media channels to help spread awareness to your followers and beyond.
Disability Awareness Months & Days
Numerous organisations host awareness months for various disabilities throughout the year. These kinds of campaigns generate public awareness and prompt more people to get involved through donating and volunteering.
UK Disability History Month is an annual event that aims to discuss the oppression of disabled people in the past and present and provides education to ensure individuals can work towards equality and become agents of change. In 2021, the campaign takes place from the 18th of November to the 18th of December.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is another awareness campaign held every year on December 3rd. This campaign focuses on highlighting disability issues and discussing the changes that can be made to promote equality and inclusivity in all societies.
We have only touched on a few useful ways to promote disability awareness here; there are plenty more ways to get creative and show your support. If you have any further advice, please share it with us on our Facebook page; we’d love to hear from you!
If you’d like to find out more about our accessible adventure holidays and the inclusive activities we offer, please get in touch.