Tips for celebrating International Day of People with Disability

  • Prepare the diocese or parish community for the event. Inform and invite feedback and assistance from priests, other parishes, Catholic Education Offices, CatholicCare, pastoral councils and other agencies or organisations.
  • Register your event on the International Day of People with Disability World Wide Web site at idpwd.com.au.
  • Choose a theme; for example: 'One Body in Christ '
  • Organise a Mass in your Cathedral or parish church celebrating the gifts of all, and ensuring access internally and externally is available.
  • Invite the special schools and units, both government and Catholic, to participate in the chosen event. Invite them to provide input on their participation.
  • Have a school Mass for all Catholic schools highlighting the gifts of all.
  • Remember to include and invite people with disability living in supported homes and/or working in supported employment.
  • Showcase the different services your diocese offers through agencies, organisations and movements before and after the event or have a middle-page spread in your Catholic newspaper.
  • Have examples of Church documents or homilies in Braille, PowerPoint and large print. Large print needs to be a sans serif font with a minimum size of 18. Braille and audio versions are available on request.
  • Publish or tell 'good news' stories of people with disability and their families. This could be achieved on a diocesan or parish World Wide Web site, or in your Catholic newspaper or parish bulletin.
  • Book an Auslan interpreter and advertise that there will be a sign interpreter attending the event. Book early as they are in short supply and high demand.
  • Invite the Deaf community to participate and seek their advice on access for the Deaf and hard of hearing people.
  • Invite 'Faith and Light' (international Christian organisation for families living with intellectual disability) and L'Arche communities to your event.
  • Invitations need to be available in Braille, large print and audio. Do not forget to utilise social media for advertising your event.
  • Invite leaders from other Faith traditions to your celebration.
  • Check to see if the local government body is planning anything and link up with them.
  • Try to send representatives from your parish or dioceses to any local or state events.
  • If you provide refreshments after the event, ensure they are accessible. Some tables may need to be accessible for people using wheelchairs. Hire accessible toilets if your venue does not have one.
  • You may need to organise transport or support; for example;
  • "Please contact us if you require support to attend this event."
  • You may like to remove a few pews in the Cathedral, church or other venue, and replace them with chairs, so that people who require the support of wheelchairs, walkers or strollers can sit with their families.
  • Provide some chairs with arm support for people who find it difficult to stand and sit in regular chairs or pews.
  • You may need to increase the number of accessible parking spots or provide special parking for this event. Watch for barriers like drains, stairs that may impede a wheelchair, walker or stroller.
  • Invite a family living with disability or a guest speaker to speak briefly about the gifts of their family.
  • Choose hymns and language that celebrate inclusiveness.
  • Order other resources from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference using the enclosed form.
  • Have fun!

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