As a person who identifies as having an invisible disability, disability issues are more than a passion for me. April 2011 will mark the first year since Canada ratified the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. The purpose of the Convention is “to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”
International Conventions can seem irrelevant, ambiguous, and appear to have no real connection to the reality of daily life for people. So I went looking for an answer to the question: What does success look this for this Convention in the daily lives of people of disabilities?
It looks like people with physical disabilities accessing buildings for employment or shopping through the FRONT door, or joining their families on the beach for fun in the sun. People with disabilities, who have an assistance dog, won't be denied access because of lack of awareness of the many duties of registered service dogs. For example, assistance dogs include, but are not limited to assisting with seizures, psychiatric disorders, diabetes, autism, hearing, and seeing. A taxi driver will not deny a ride to a woman who uses a wheelchair, because she has too many groceries. A woman with cerebral palsy will not be pushed down, because she got in the way of a police officier.
To start making a difference right now in the lives of people with various disabilities, substitute the word 'ridiculous', instead of using 'retarded' and don't park in accessible parking spots, even if 'it is just for a minute'!
For information on resources for people with disabilities, please contact IL Vernon by visiting http://ilvernon.ca
A Guide by the Commonwealth Secretariat Human Rights Unit (April 2010). retrieved December 10, 2010 from http://www.thecommonwealth.org/files/229435/FileName/CRPDPublication.pdf