Disability inclusion is defined as considering how people function and how they fare in their participation in society. It makes sure that every individual, may he has a disability or none at all, experiences the same opportunities as they go through life.
This inclusion includes persons with disabilities in day-to-day activities and helps them take part in roles that others who don’t have any disabilities are engaged in. Pure encouragement is not enough. There has to be a guarantee that adequate policies are in place and in effect within an organisation, culture, or community.
Disabled individuals are expected to engage in regular activities not limited to:
- Social events
- Using public transport
- Appropriate health care
- Entering into relationships
- Move about in communities
Disability prevalence is estimated at around 4.4 million in recent years in Australia. That is almost 1 in 6 or 18% of the country’s population has a certain disability. A total of 5.7% or 1.4 million Australians fall under severe to profound disability levels. These are the portions of society who need help most of the time in the self-care, mobility, or communications department.
A disability is closely associated either with a form of health condition or with a specific event. Functioning, independence, or engagement with other members of society would differ depending on numerous factors like:
- Condition of the impairment
- Social, cultural, and political influences
- Access to assistive technology and other devices
- Family support and community engagement
This process allows a person with a disability to make the most out of the benefits provided for by the government and/or the society per se. It allows the disabled to take advantage of what people without disabilities are enjoying. Some examples that could eliminate barriers to community or family participation may include:
- Counselling Programs
- Activities that promote physical activities
- Cholesterol and blood pressure assessment
Taking Disability Inclusion Further
So, how can you take disability inclusion further?
Always be reminded that you are not the only one who is asking about this; therefore, there are ways that you can use.
Several global organizations have already taken bigger steps to include the disabled in their organisations. A perfect example is the Ford Foundation in the US. Incorporating disabled workers within the company has made the organization tougher, more resilient, and most of all—more successful.
Why is this so?
Disability inclusion is unlike a switch that you can simply turn on or off. It is more analogous to a dimmer which you can adjust with full intentionality. You can focus and fine-tune performance metrics. Meaning, disability inclusion is not a simple checklist but a journey.
6 Strategies That You Can Use:
- Make people with disabilities understand that they are valued, respected, and welcomed with open arms. This should not be limited to activities within the workplace but also at home or within the community.
- Make sure that they are part of a solution to a problem or issue. May it be inside the home or at the workplace, get some insights from them to let them know that their voice is needed in overcoming an obstacle. These people are also eager to contribute just like the rest.
- Recognize their skills or talents not because they totally excel based on metrics. Let them know that you are aware of their efforts to do good and aim to surpass their previous performance.
- Check on accessibility. While it is true that before, most persons who have disabilities are grounded at home; today, things have changed! There is a huge percentage who are now working either outside of their homes or home-based. Establishments around the world have provided ease of access for the disabled and home improvements followed suit. Is there anything else you like to modify to make things even more accessible and doable to make way for disability inclusion?
- Address them appropriately. Misusing a word that describes a disabled person can provide a negative impact. Here are a few examples of positive versus negative addresses:
- Person (or child) with Down Syndrome and not Down Syndrome Child
- Deaf child and not a child who is deaf
- Person with low or no vision and not blind
This practice is called people-first address. This has been highly recommended by expert psychologists as one of the most effective tools when it comes to disability inclusion. It seemingly places the focus, not on the disability but on the person himself. Some terminologies such as special, differently-abled, or physically challenged, also appear positive and subtle.
- Make it a lasting commitment. If you are able to help the disabled develop relationships in and out of their abode, you are already halfway through your goal. Building social skills, and developing friendships, as well as learning respect and acceptance, is a huge step towards disability inclusion.
So, if you have a person with a disability within your organisation, make it a point of delivering not just a percentage of your effort. Make sure to deliver more than what you have aimed for.