11 Ways to Host a Disability Day

multi-ethnic and disabled people community with pencils

Have you ever considered hosting a disability day in your school? Your school may have a day where it celebrities or recognizes the struggles of different minorities or cultures. But is there a dedicated day to celebrate and learn about disabilities? 

As a special education teacher, you might be familiar with International Disability Day. Perhaps you want to celebrate this event, or you are looking for ideas on how to host a disability day (in general). 

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is celebrated on December 3rd each year. I’m super excited to talk to you about this special time when we all come together to spread the word about people with disabilities. Continue reading as I share some fun and meaningful activities we’ve done in our school that you can also try. These are quite easy to do and won’t break the bank!

What is International Disability Day?

Around 15% of people worldwide have some form of disability, whether physical or mental. That’s why the United Nations started the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) in 1992. It’s meant to help everyone understand and support people with disabilities.

You don’t need to celebrate on International Disability Day to host a schoolwide event.  But if you’re able to celebrate near December 3rd, it’s the perfect opportunity. Disability Day is about raising awareness about people with disabilities, including the strengths they have and the challenges they face.

How to Host a School-Wide
Disability Day

Disability Day Exhibit

When December 3 (or the date of your Disability Day) comes, how can you promote awareness for people with disabilities to the whole school community? Let’s talk about some easy and interesting ideas which are totally doable!

#1. Teach Lessons on Specific Disabilities

You might be here to look for ideas because you’re running out of creative juices. Well, let me tell you that it’s okay to include the basics– like teaching lessons about specific disabilities to your class!

Simply including lessons on disabilities in your class schedule can be very effective. Here’s a Disability and Neurodiversity Bundle of lessons and activities to give you some ideas!

#2: Watch Videos

Students are most likely more interested in learning through short videos. So how about watching Youtube videos that teach about neurodiversity and disabilities? You can play one video before the start of the class and then have a discussion about it.

You could even have students help you find great videos (from TikTok, Youtube, etc.) as an assignment the week before the disability

#3: Invite Speakers

Disability Day Exhibit

Guess who the experts are on disabilities? Disabled people!

Another thing you can do is have a person with a disability come to your school and talk about their life. They can share their stories and help your students understand the world of people with disabilities better.

You can also ask disability advocacy groups like Best Buddies to come and chat with your students in class or virtually.

#4: Share Perspectives

One of the best ways to celebrate Disability Day is to learn more about how disabled people feel by hearing about it from someone they know personally. You can have your students interview a classmate with a disability or a school staff who worked with individuals with disabilities.

Or you can collect videos from staff and students prior to the event, so that they can be played during an assembly. 

#5: Play a Disability Awareness Game

Play games that tackle disability awareness. A great example I’ve done before is what I’d like to call the “Is This Accessible?” game. It’s a simple game of scenario cards that you flip over to learn if it’s accessible and why it is or isn’t.

#6: Hang Posters

This is a no-brainer! The easiest way to raise awareness is to hang up colorful infographic posters around your school. You can find awesome posters about disability awareness and acceptance online, like this set of disability definition posters meant for highschoolers or adults.

Teach younger grades? Use these posters for elementary or middle school!

#7: Create a Social Media Wall

Disability Day Exhibit

It’s time to make use of the digital age! Aside from posters, you can also set up a wall that’s decorated with URLs or names of social media accounts worth following.

These can be accounts of people with disabilities who talk about disabilities or share unique content. Since students are online most of the time, it would be great to have some content about disability awareness on their feeds.

Need some inspiration? Here are some great accounts to follow:

#8: Set Up an Exhibit

Disability Day Exhibit

No, I’m not talking about an art exhibit. Instead, this is a display of things used by people with disabilities.

Have a little display of everyday items that were originally created for disabled people, but are now enjoyed by many other folks (Universal Design). Some examples are:

  • Audiobooks
  • Bendable straw
  • Electric toothbrush
  • Universal design table
  • Typewriter or keyboard


You can also set up a table filled with fidgets! Have someone man the station to explain how these “toys” help special education students. You can also search for DIY fidgets online and teach the students how to make one. This can be a fun interactive activity!

#9. Walk in Their Shoes

Disability Day Exhibit

Sometimes, the best way to understand what life might be like for someone else feels is to experience it. You can do a simulation activity where the students can pretend to have different disabilities. You can get creative, but these are some examples:

  • Hearing Simulation

You can use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to replicate the sensation of hearing loss while listening to the environment. You can also play audio clips or videos with muffled or distorted sounds.

  • ADHD Simulation

You can try activities that challenge the students’ attention and focus. Have them finish a difficult maze or puzzle while introducing distractions like background noise or lots of movement.

  • Blindness Simulation

The easiest way to do this is to blindfold the participants and have them navigate through a designated space using a walking stick or assistance from a sighted guide.

#10. Invite People to Read Books

Fill a table with books about disabilities BY authors with disabilities. This can encourage the readers in your school to learn more about disabilities and neurodiversity. In our last event, the Perkins School for the Blind even came and brought braille books!

Here are some options:

  • Ido in Autismland
  • I will Die on this Hill
  • Neurodiversity: The Birth of an Idea
  • The Reason I Jump

#11. Set Up a Suggestion Box

This one is an activity specially designed for the students with disabilities in your school, and it’s very easy to do. Just set up a box and encourage your students with disabilities to write their suggestions, like:

  • How to make the school more accessible; or
  • What my teachers should know about me

Not only will this give you and the school administration an idea of what your students need, but it will also provide  empowerment to the students with disabilities to be heard.

Celebrate International Disability Day!

Disability Day Exhibit

Disability Day is all about celebrating diversity, understanding, and making our world a better place for everyone.

By getting the whole school involved in these activities, you’re contributing to a world where people without disabilities have a greater understanding of what it’s like for their disabled peers. And it’s a way for our students with disabilities to have their voice heard. 

It’s a great first step for a less ableist culture.

Special thank you to Emmy Gray, M.Ed for photos & collaboration on this blog post.