What do we mean when we talk about inclusion? This succinct article by the Institute For Community Inclusion is a good place to start.
Let’s begin with their definition of “inclusion”.
Inclusion means that all people, regardless of their abilities, disabilities, or health care needs, have the right to:
- Be respected and appreciated as valuable members of their communities
- Participate in recreational activities in neighborhood settings
- Work at jobs in the community that pay a competitive wage and have careers that use their capacities to the fullest
- Attend general education classes with peers from preschool through college and continuing education
While I believe that this definition might rub some people on the more politically conservative end of the spectrum the wrong way, I think that this is a good start. Which brings me to the only point I am going to make about this article, which you can read later. The notion that we need to do something “extra” or “special” for people with disabilities is (I think) thinking about it the wrong way. Inclusion is not simply about putting people with disabilities and people without disabilities together by proximity. It is about valuing everyone.
Yep. It is that simple. Not easy. Or likely. But that simple.
What do you think? What do you mean when you talk about inclusion? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
Photo Credit: Marc Wathieu