Last Wednesday, the 3rd Dec, was International Day for People with a Disability (IDPwD). It is a United Nations sanctioned day that aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.
Our office was invited to attend a disability themed expo at AFP HQ. Wiley and I attended along with one of my colleagues an Orientation and Mobility instructor. Along with a range of pamphlets about our services we took along a selection of simulation googles and blindfolds. By wearing the goggles or blindfolds attendees could gain a little insight into what it is like to live with a vision impairment.
Wiley spent most of the expo out of harness as everyone wanted to have a pat – he wasn’t complaining and loved the attention.
For me the highlight of the expo was listening to the wonderful guest speaker – para-olympian Michael Milton. His talk was informative and inspiring. What I found particularly interesting was that despite our disabilities being so different (he is an amputee) we face many of the same issues and challenges. For example people generally having low expectations about what a disabled person can do. He also mentioned how important his independence was to him and how he needs to be creative and a great problem solver.
I really enjoy attending expos and the AFP one was no exception. It is a great way to engage the public and highlight all the wonderful and free services that Guide Dogs NSW/ACT provide their clients.