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Celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities and a Journey of Storytelling.

Every year, on December 3rd, the World celebrates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This important occasion aims to promote the rights and well-being of individuals with disabilities and raise awareness about their challenges. In this blog, we will delve into the significance of this day and then reflect on a journey of disability, education, acceptance, advocacy and inclusion, marking the publication of two remarkable children's books.




The Importance of International Day of Persons with Disabilities:

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a powerful reminder of the need for more accessibility, inclusivity and equal opportunities for all individuals, regardless of their abilities. It is a day to recognise the immense potential and talents of persons with disabilities and to advocate for their full participation in society. By promoting understanding, acceptance, and accessibility, we can create a more inclusive world where everyone can thrive in all areas of society.


The theme of the 2023 International Day of Persons with Disabilities is: "United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs for, with and by persons with disabilities". The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) define the World we want. They apply to all nations and mean, quite simply, to ensure that no one is left behind.


What does endeavouring to achieve Sustainable Development Goals wherever possible mean to me personally? It means two things the most:-


  1. Accessibility and Inclusion within Society: I discuss this in more detail throughout my new autobiography #CerebralPalsyAndMe about my experiences with cerebral palsy. Not every area of our communities and society can be made accessible. Still, in the well-being of making the World more inclusive, we must move towards fostering a more positive mindset and willingness to collaborate with the disability community and find new and innovative ways to make our communities more safe and accessible for all in both a physical and understanding way. This can be done by making our hospitality, retail and even workplaces more inclusively and universally designed by removing barriers stopping these areas within society from installing disability aids and implementing measures like clear and visible signage, assistive technologies like hearing loops, captioning systems and braille signage, installing flexible resting seating areas, accessible restrooms, optimise lighting and control high pitched noise where possible making it a more enjoyable experience for autistic, deaf and blind people, and most importantly, train staff on how to deal with and implement a more inclusive experience within our public spaces.

  2. Alleyship and friendship for disabled people: Promoting inclusivity and equality for disabled people in areas like health and well-being, infrastructure and accessibility. Ensuring everyone has access to the healthcare services they require and are entitled to. Building friendships and alliances with individuals with disabilities can empower expression and participation of disabled people. Awareness and advocacy, allies and friends can raise awareness about the rights and needs of the disability community.

Personally, it's been quite a storytelling and educational journey. Through the power of words, we can make a difference.


Paddy The Polar Bear Teddy: A Magical Space Adventure:

Two years ago, I had the privilege of publishing my second children's book titled "Paddy The Polar Bear Teddy." This heartwarming story takes young readers on a magical space adventure, where Paddy, the courageous and wise polar bear teddy, teaches valuable lessons about friendship, bravery, and determination. Through the enchanting pages of this book, children are inspired to embrace their own unique qualities and find strength in the power of friendship.


Max And The Magic Wish: A Tale of Disability and Acceptance:

Reflecting on another significant milestone, it has also been two years since my first children's book, "Max And The Magic Wish," became an Amazon bestseller. This extraordinary tale explores the themes of disability and acceptance, celebrating the beauty of diversity. Through the journey of Max, a young boy with cerebral palsy, readers learn about empathy, kindness, and the importance of inclusion. The book's success soared even further when I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Lucy Owen for BBC Wales Today, shining a spotlight on the importance of disability representation in children's literature. The interview aired on BBC Wales Today on International Day Of Disabilities 2021.



Conclusion:

As we celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities, it is crucial to recognise the accomplishments and milestones achieved in promoting inclusivity and acceptance. Through the power of storytelling, children's books like "Paddy The Polar Bear Teddy" and "Max And The Magic Wish" offer valuable lessons that inspire young minds to embrace diversity and foster a more inclusive society. Let us continue to support and empower individuals with disabilities, ensuring they have the same opportunities to succeed and make a positive impact in our World.

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