National Barrier Awareness Day brings awareness to dissolving stigma’s that keep people with disabilities from advancing in education, barriers in physical access, bridging technology gaps and any type of barriers that prevent people with disabilities to reach their full potential. While there have been many achievements, financial, cultural education and physical barriers still exist.
The History of National Barrier Awareness Day
On May 7 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5472 as National Barrier Awareness Day. President Reagan stated that “Eighty percent of Americans will experience some disability in their lifetime that makes it necessary they must surmount and the contributions that they can make to our society.”
Ways to Remove Barriers
While there are still physical barriers that exists, there is very few information on the mental barriers, meaning people that still hold misconceptions, stereotypes and myths regarding individuals with disabilities. what do I mean by mental barriers?
- people that are unaware that most disabilities are invisible. Someone parking in a handicapped space might not have a physical disabilities, but could suffer from a debilitating pain. There are also people with cognitive disabilities including, Autism, ADHD, and Dyslexia.
- As professionals, myths, and misconceptions continue when we as professionals stop learning and growing. Disabilities change overtime and as professionals and educators it is important to always learn and grow. For examples, very little was known about autism 25 years ago and more so when it comes to co-occurring disorders such as sensory processing disorder (SPD) and Dysgraphia.
- It is time to see the abilities not the disabilities in the person. By focusing on the disabilities, we limit the growth and development which leads to self-confidence to those with disabilities.
Finally, we all have to take the role of advocates. It comes as part of the job. Sometimes it is advocating for both parent and child and using our voice to help others live quality lives.