Cerebral Palsy Alliance celebrates innovation on International Day of People with Disabilities

Saturday, 3rd December marks one of the biggest days in the disability community’s calendar – International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD)!

The United Nations-recognised awareness date is an important day to challenge the way people think about disability and help create a more inclusive Australia – something we at Cerebral Palsy Alliance have been working towards for over 75 years.

In 2022, the theme of IDPwD is ‘Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world’.

At CPA, we are proud of our role in fostering innovation to enable the cerebral palsy community greater mobility, communication and independence. We do this for our  almost 6,000 clients and their families in Australia, and through our global reach as a centre of expertise for cerebral palsy.

From custom wheelchairs to eye-gaze technology

Our therapy team works every day with clients like two-year-old Anastasia in Nowra and 18-year-old Jack in Dubbo to utilise game-changing assistive technology – from custom wheelchair modifications to eyegaze technology and everything in between.

“To me, IDPwD is an important day, as it highlights the achievements of people with a disability and sometimes highlights that we have a long way to go in this space. To me the day is an opportunity to start the conversation that continues throughout the year,” said Sophie Marmont, a CPA employee and consumer representative for Accessible Product Design Alliance.

Other clients are enabled to live more inclusive and independent lives, like Braeden Jones, who along with his family has been named a national ambassador for IDPwD 2022 for advocating for travel accessibility.

“People think Braeden is non-verbal, but he has plenty to say, he just communicates differently, whether that’s using his iPad to tell his news from the day or using picture communication to make choices… if anyone gives him the opportunity he wants to do so,” said Julie, Braeden’s mother.

World-leading research and tech accelerator

CPA is the world’s largest private funder of cerebral palsy research. Innovation and technology is a key focus of our Research Institute, with a team of multidisciplinary researchers, therapists and engineers working to unlock the next breakthroughs in biotechnology, robotics, gamification and artificial intelligence.

CPA’s disability tech accelerator, Remarkable, has supported more than 40 startups to develop ideas and products to enable people with disability to live their best possible lives, including the likes of Lusio Rehab, a wearable device that gamifies therapy for children with disabilities.

“Assistive technology has helped me a lot – my standing electric chair has helped me so much in terms of socialising, ordering food, going to music festivals… I can’t imagine not having it with me. With the pace of innovation, I have enormous hope for where we could go enabling people with disabilities to be more self-sufficient and independent,” said Aaryan Shah, a CPA client, Australian boccia Paralympian and community radio board member.

How to celebrate International Day of People with Disabilities:

  • Tune in to SBS program Latecomers’ on December 3 – an exciting new program created by and starring young Australians with cerebral palsy
  • Share a video or story of your lived experience using the hashtag #IDPwD – and keep an eye on our social media channels for more exciting IDPwD content!
  • Head to the official IDPwD website about more ways to get involved