Equal Opportunity for All: Teaching Disability Rights in the Caribbean

Posted on 2 June 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Education, Employment, Human Rights, Inclusion, Latin America & Caribbean, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI) North America and the Caribbean (NAC) has released a guide that can be used to educate the general public about disability etiquette and the disability rights movement. The 33-page booklet, entitled Equal Opportunities for All: Respecting the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PDF format 551 Kb), is targeted at people in the North American and Caribbean regions who are new to disability. But most of its information is broad enough that it may be useful for people in other regions as well.

International development professionals new to disability issues may find this guide helpful in answering questions they were too embarassed to ask disability advocates directly. Disability advocates may find the booklet’s simple, accessible language and clear information helpful in their public outreach campaigns.

The booklet defines “disability”; describes what a “barrier free” world would look like; and recommends appropriate language to use when referring to people with disabilities. It also shares basic advice for etiquette useful for people who have little to no prior experience interacting with disabled people. For example, it encourages readers to speak directly to a person with disabilities–not to their friend, aide, or interpreter. It also shares more specific advice for interacting with people who are blind; deaf; have specific learning disabilities; have intellectual disabilities; use a wheelchair; or who have psycho-social (psychiatric) disabilities.

Subsequent sections of the booklet tackle topics such as mainstreaming in education; how to make schools, places of employment, and the community more accessible; and the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The guide presents arguments for why everyone (not just people with disabilities) should care about accessibility.

People unfamiliar with the disability-oriented resources available in the Caribbean region will want to turn to this booklet’s listing of organizations and schools in Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. (Want to find more disability-related organizations? Try checking other We Can Do posts that point to specific organizations or to resources for finding them.)

A glossary in the back helps people new to disability issues understand basic terminology such as “accommodation.”

You can download the booklet (PDF format, 551 Kb) at:


I first learned about this handbook via the Disabled Peoples’ International electronic newsletter. I gathered further detail by skimming the guide itself.

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