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On December 3 this year, during the annual celebration of people with disabilities, the 2020 theme ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible’ also focuses on spreading awareness and understanding of disabilities that are not immediately apparent, such as mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing impairments, diabetes, brain injuries, neurological disorders, learning differences and cognitive dysfunctions, among others. 
According to the WHO World Report on Disability, 15 per cent of the world’s population, or more than 1 billion people, are living with disability. Of this number, it’s estimated 450 million are living with a mental or neurological condition— and two-thirds of these people will not seek professional medical help, largely due to stigma, discrimination and neglect.  Another 69 million individuals are estimated to sustain Traumatic Brain Injuries each year worldwide, while one in 160 children are identified as on the autism spectrum.  These are just some examples of the millions of people currently living with a disability that is not immediately apparent, and a reminder of the importance of removing barriers for all people living with disability, both visible and invisible.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, isolation, disconnect, disrupted routines and diminished services have greatly impacted the lives and mental well-being of people with disabilities right around the world. Spreading awareness of invisible disabilities, as well as these potentially detrimental— and not always immediately apparent— impacts to mental health, is crucial as the world continues to fight against the virus.  The impact of COVID-19 has hindered the ability for many organisations to hold events and activities to highlight the day, so the global movement #PurpleLightUp gained some serious traction.  
#PurpleLightUp  celebrates and draws attention to the economic contribution of the 386 million employees with disability around the world. This year it will be bigger than ever before, with a free 24-hour Global Broadcast! From sunrise in Australia, across six continents, to sunset in New York, this event will bring together CEOs, senior champions, ERG leaders and employees with disability to connect, share their stories and feel the power of change. The ‘purple spotlight’ will be turned on Oceania on 3rd December between 9am and 12pm, showcasing the amazing strides that organisations and individuals are making in terms of disability inclusion. The broadcast will be hosting interviews, panel discussions, videos, and celebrations! Join this 24-hour party with a purpose and help make 3 December the biggest day on the disability inclusion agenda.  
#PurpleLightUp encourages organisations to go purple for a day to celebrate the economic power of people with disability. You can register for the #PurpleLightUp global broadcast here PurpleLightUp Registration and stay tuned for the full line up of presentations and entertainment. 

If you are looking for another way to celebrate International Day of People with Disabilities in your workplace here are some great ideas provided by the Australian Network of Disability include…  

Launch a new policy, plan or initiative 
What better time to announce a new policy, plan or initiative related to inclusion of people with disability than on IDPwD? Take the opportunity to engage your staff, celebrate your organisation’s commitment and leadership, and share the initiative with your customers and stakeholders. 

Host a virtual Morning or Afternoon tea
IDPwD-themed cupcakes, anyone? If you’re in your workplace, invite all your employees to a yummy (socially distanced) morning tea and talk. If you’re not in the office – have a virtual morning or afternoon tea with BYO cake. An internal event is a wonderful way to celebrate the skills and contributions that employees with disability contribute to your organisation.  

Encourage your people to learn 
A lunch-and-learn or similar activity will not only support your people to engage with IDPwD, but learn from it, too. This can be done virtually through our eLearning courses to increase your team’s disability awareness and understanding. Or, how about an information session to help you bring an internal project to life? It could be a great way to generate interest and understanding by talking about the wider impacts that make the project so worthwhile. 

Celebrate extraordinary contributions in leadership by people with disability 
The National Awards for Disability Leadership recognise and celebrate the extraordinary contributions and leadership shown by individuals with disability and inclusive organisations. 
Gather your colleagues for an awards party and tune in to the live webcast to celebrate those who’ve significantly contributed to advancing people with disability. 

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