Observing this day annually was first proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations,  with the sole aim of promoting the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. This day also provides an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate the individuals with disabilities in their communities.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is celebrated on the 3rd of December and it helps mobilize support for critical issues relating to the inclusion of people living with disabilities. It also promotes awareness about disability issues and draws attention to the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda”.

Disability is any condition that restricts day to day activities, which can be attributed to an intellectual, psychiatric, cognitive, neurological, sensory or physical impairment. It is permanent or likely to be permanent. Most times disability results in substantially reduced capacity of the person in social interaction, learning or mobility and calls for a need in continuing support services.

Disability is conceptualized as being a multidimensional experience for individuals involved. It may affect the organs or body parts, and there may be effects on a person’s participation in diverse areas of life. There are three dimensions of disability recognized in International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).

  • The body structure and function (and impairment thereof)
  • Activity restrictions
  • Participation restrictions.

The classification also recognizes the role of physical, social and environmental factors affecting disability outcomes.

Disabilities can affect people in different ways. Some disabilities may be hidden, this is known as invisible disability (not immediately apparent to others). There are many types of disabilities and they may affect a person’s:


  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Thinking
  • Learning
  • Movement
  • Mental health
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Intellectual disability
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Social relationships
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Acquired brain injury



This day is celebrated to bring changes in people’s attitudes towards people living with disabilities and to make them aware of their rights. This day is celebrated with the objective of increasing compassion for the disabled, improving their self-esteem and building support to improve their lives.

It is believed that many people do not know how many disabled people live in their neighborhood. They need the help of their communities to get good health and self-respect but usually, people do not do so. Therefore, IDPD is observed to inform the general public about the actual condition of these special people. The aim is;

  1. For inclusion purpose in economic and social policy decisions
  2. To create awareness
  3. To ensure societal acceptance
  4. Environmental and community accessibility
  5. Equal opportunities


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