Disability inclusion is not a hard task for people who know how to manage the process. It urges neighborhoods, communities, and schools to extend a helping hand and put a value on every individual regardless of their differences.
Why Disability Inclusion Important
With inclusion, everyone belongs, diversity is highly valued, and with this process, every individual learns from one another. Learning to understand how people function and their participation in society ensures the same opportunities for everybody.
There are an estimated one billion persons with disabilities as reported by the International Labor Organization (ILO) today. To add to that, these individuals have become more active than they used to be. So, what used to be fractions of societies involving people with disabilities and leading sedentary lifestyles is long gone.
Persons with disabilities are good at assessing their own needs more than anyone else. This leads us to think that they must have a hand in becoming independent.
Independent Living as a Tool for Disability Inclusion
Independent living is one of the forms of disability empowerment enabling these members of the society to direct their lives. It encourages them to have the power to provide solutions to any concerns they have; thus, providing themselves with a voice alongside with uplifting their confidence.
Utilising the best disability inclusion methods as a way of leading individuals with disabilities toward the road to independence is a must.
These are three main benefits brought about by independent living:
- They can steer their lives without the imposition of a public agency. Although they cannot live without it, and agencies that cater to the disabled form a part of their rights and privileges, some needs are immediately met by being independent.
- With more independence, personal desires can be fulfilled. They, too, are human beings who have inner yearnings just like us. Personal relationships can be initiated which leads to stable emotions.
- They will enjoy the same opportunities non-disabled persons do. They may engage in activities that only normal human beings used to experience. There are community basketball tournaments for their own kind and other competitive sports that they can join.
Being empowered with more independence, persons who have disabilities can achieve more autonomy. They can live almost a normal life because the barriers of some controlling factors can be decimated in one way or the other.
8 Ways to Promote Independence Through Disability Inclusion
1. Aim for support and not control
At times we tend to take control of what’s happening to our loved one who has a disability. We do this because we think that once we are able to control some situations, we can make things work out fine. This is how we protect them. This way, we can nurture them.
Being always in control will make them reliant on you as their personal carer. When it comes to decisions and interaction, never hard-sell your ideas as this will push them back onto the wall. This may result to a negative impact. Make a suggestion instead, arrive at a common ground, and most importantly, ask them to decide.
2. Get a reliable support network
Reliable people are hard to come by. Therefore, you can start looking for the right individuals at home. Consider tapping your friends, neighbours, or outsiders within your community that your loved one knows. Informing them that this is about disability inclusion may get them to work with you for the common good.
This support group should be aware of the situation you are in at the moment to make it easier to talk about your concerns. They should be willing and ready to contribute toward a disabled member of the family’s journey.
3. Do not be judgmental
Try to search for meaning get to the bottom of every situation to get the real meaning why it occurred. As a result, you are able to interpret the behavior that caused a problem, which is a sigh of relief to your loved one.
If you think that the situation is leading you to make a judgment, breathe deeply and look at the issue from a different angle. That might just solve the problematic situation you are in.
4. Drop labels
Labeling a person with names that point to a disability or defect is divisive and this gives them a tendency to shy away from people. Society can be punitive at times but not all people belong in that category. There is always a good fraction of the community that stands by the good side of things. Labeling is one of the acts to be avoided when gearing up for disability inclusion.
There are also instances when carers of disabled individuals forget the ones they are caring for. In this case, respect has already waned, thus, disrespect comes right after. Persons in charge of the household should take time to educate and remind carers not to forget who they are getting paid for. Instill in them that they would be in situations that would test their patience.
5. Lean towards positivity
Being positive is good and applying this idea in your everyday life is an amazing thing. If there is a positive light that shines through you, this is felt and seen by people around you.
So, if you think that starting a sentence with a “Don’t” or a “No” is a regular thing, the impact it has on the person you are caring for is huge. Aside from that, the negativity that goes with it is devastating. Celebrate even the smallest wins to further motivate a person with a disability within your home. Claiming small triumphs is a disability inclusion technique.
6. Support individual growth
Allow your wards to choose who visits over the weekend. It is more of a welcoming idea to make them choose as this is coming from their own preference. They get to interact with people they have the same hobbies or experiences to talk about.
Exercising their power of choice is a great leap toward independence. This way, you are nurturing their individual growth and personality development which is a plus factor.
7. Train to improve skills
A new skill developed over a period of time is a tool that bridges the gap between the non-disabled and persons with disability. Present them with learning opportunities that are aligned with their interests. While they are it, call the attention of your support network so they can help oversee the activities and how things went.
This is very crucial but very helpful especially if your loved one is at the school-to-work transition phase. At this point, the disabled personality is on his way to a more independent living arrangement. This is one of the best parts of disability inclusion.
8. Facilitate community group participation
Joining mainstream groups within the community is another effective way of bringing forth interaction between varied types of personalities. Try to compare each group in accordance with your loved one’s desires or interests. This will get them excited about the upcoming experience they are going to partake in with other people.
Check how they interact, look at their facial reactions, and take note of the language being used within the activities. This gives you a valuable idea of how the situation works. Ask yourself if it looks like a positive undertaking worth repeating or if changing the kind of group is much better.
Promoting independence as a part of your disability inclusion scheme can be daunting. Who said it was easy? You will surely encounter several upheavals that may test your patience and judgment. Nevertheless, the hard part is rewarded as you see your loved one taking steps toward possible independence.
These steps need not be fast; baby steps are what we need to start with. Even though the percentage is low, don’t worry; it is just the beginning. Soon enough you will see how good you are at taking part in this endeavor.