International Day of Persons with Disabilities
December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD)
IDPD was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
IDPD Student Gallery
In honour of the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities, our university students were invited to submit a reflection or expression to our student gallery throughout the year. This was an opportunity for students to share their lived experience of disability. We invite you to explore our virtual gallery:
Illustration in hues of lavender and pink drawn digitally of a woman’s head and shoulders. She is wearing glasses and her hair is white with an aqua hue. Her eyes are a vivid blue with reflective particles of pink, blue, white, and purple.
She has a tattoo of symbols on the left side of her neck in a sharp design and a symbol of a vertical crescent moon on her forehead. She has a jeweled cross earring hanging from her left ear. Across her upper chest in dark purple and capital letters, are the words “In a society that profits from your insecurities, loving yourself is an act of rebellion”.
There are two cupcakes with whipped cream and a cherry on top – one is on her left shoulder (the viewers right) and the other in the bottom left of the picture with a tube of lipstick next to it. Two cherries sit on her right shoulder.
The background behind the woman is grey with a variety of justice symbols, including wheelchairs, a clenched fist representing Black Lives Matter, and justice scales. In the bottom right corner of the picture is the artists' signature: @ACIDSTART
Disability!” by Aziza Agasee
Paralysis of the word, not just my disability
Causes so much anxiety, especially around inclusivity.
A mind numbing pain, blinded by the abled
The restrictions are suffocating , bystanders free of cables.
Stairs are like mountains, they’re an unachievable task
Ramps are my friend, yet I feel like an outcast.
Accessible door openers, they’re a rare commodity
Such a simple solution, especially with our technology.
So why do my barriers feel like a caged cell
The solution is so simple, in order to help the disabled do well.
I’m a wheelchair user, bound by my wheels
Put yourself in my position, and see how it feels.
Anywhere I go, I must preplan and strategize
You’d think something so repetitive I’d be able to memorize.
Accessible bathrooms, seems simple enough
What the abled body oversee, its actually quite tough.
Elevators are great, except when they don’t work
Majority of time they’re broken, a sad reality that hurt.
Live a day in my life, maybe then your eyes will see
The strength of inclusivity and accessibility, it means equality such as me.
A series of photographs depicting exclusion experienced by people who are D/deaf and hard of hearing.
“NVLD, A Blessing in Disguise” by Megan Suggitt
My entire childhood involved psychoeducational assessments, professionals, special education and tutors. At an early age, I began to recognize the weight of “indifference.” Labels and words started to stick to me, and special education paved my faith. Disability started to shape every aspect of my life. Interactions between teachers and other neurotypical peers were foreign and felt forced. I was continually an outsider looking into a world that was not designed for people like me.
Disability is a slippery slope of inadequacy, stigma, judgement and oppression. Having Non-verbal learning disability (NVLD) created paper trails of assessments, accommodations and modifications. It created barriers and gaps between where I was going, and what I needed to get there. I had to work twice as hard to prove I was worthy and capable.
Where others found weaknesses, I found my strengths. I was continually caught between the battle of “I can’t” and “I can.” I believe we are all born with gifts, having a brain that’s wired a little more differently has been a blessing in disguise. Having NVLD has allowed me to find my gift for writing, embrace my empathy and sensitivity, and most importantly be a voice for others with disabilities.
I, alongside many others with NVLD, wasn’t designed to fit into a societal mold. Perhaps, we were made to break it. NVLD doesn’t require intervention, as I’m imperfectly me and I don’t need anyone to “fix me.” I had to search a little deeper to find color in a world that tried to paint it black and white. There’s a quote I stumbled upon by Dr. Suess a few years ago that goes something like this, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out!” I think he intuitively spoke to my soul when I found this. When I was younger, I wanted to switch my brain and snap my fingers to achieve a sense of normal.
Now that I’m older, I’ve embraced my NVLD and come to realization that it’s is part of who I am, and I’m perfectly okay with that. Having NVLD is a blessing not a sin, and has given my life a valuable purpose.