Inclusion (disability rights)

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Video produced by a network of Mexican museums and Wiki Learning Tec de Monterrey to promote accessibility to cultural institutions in Mexico.

Inclusion is a term used by people with disabilities and other disability rights advocates for the idea that all people should take action to freely accommodate people with a physical, mental, cognitive, and or developmental disability. For example, providing ramps and accessible toilets in meeting facilities or providing additional intervention and resources in the education system are known as 'universal design'[citation needed] or efforts towards the goal of inclusion.[1] The education system has a more specific definition for disability. An individual who exhibits challenges that substantially limits one or more major life activities is disabled. The interpretation of what is considered a major life activity has been recently expanded to include all barriers to reading, writing, concentrating, and thinking. For example, individuals with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, are now included as a disability in the education system. This allows educational resources to be used for a wider population of individuals with barriers to learning.[2]

The concept of inclusion emphasizes universal design for policy-oriented physical accessibility issues, such as ease-of-use of physical structures and elimination of barriers to ease movement in the world, but the largest part of its purpose is on being culturally transformational. Inclusion typically promotes disability studies as an intellectual movement and stresses the need for disabled people—the inclusion-rights community usually uses the reclaimed word "cripple" or "crip" instead—to immerse themselves into mainstream culture through various modes of artistic expression. Inclusion advocates argue that melding what they term "disability-art" or "dis/art" into mainstream art makes integration of different body types unavoidable, direct, and thus positive.[citation needed] They argue it helps able-bodied people deal with their fears of being or becoming disabled, which, unbeknownst to the person, is usually what underlies both the feelings of "inspiration" and feelings of pity s/he may have when watching a disabled person moving in his or her unusual way(s), or in participating in activities that obviously draw attention to the person's condition(s).[citation needed][3] Inclusion advocates often specifically encourage disabled people who choose to subscribe to this set of ideas to take it upon themselves to involve themselves in activities that give them the widest public audience possible, such as becoming professional dancers, actors, visual artists, front-line political activists, filmmakers, orators, and similar professions.

Mainstreaming is allowing for a person with a disability to be a member of a "mainstream" environment without added difficulty by creating inclusive settings. For example, education acts such as IDEA or No Child Left Behind promotes inclusive schooling or mainstreaming for children with disabilities (such as Autism) so that they can be a part of the larger "typical" community.

Inclusion, an all-encompassing practice, ensures that people of differing abilities visibly and palpably belong to, are engaged in, and are actively connected to the goals and objectives of the whole wider society, as opposed to being labeled as "Other" among a "typically developed" individual.

Inclusivity in the United States works to create a fair environment, accepting of diversity through laws which promote the idea of mainstreaming and inclusivity. This inclusive attitude is quite divergent from how other countries treat those who are disabled. In other countries there is a prevalence of the medical model of disability focusing on the physical and/or mental therapies, medications, surgeries and assistive devices that might help to "normalize" or "fix" the disabled person so that they may have an easier time in their surrounding environment. This attitude of inclusion, which has a lot in common with the social model of disability, alleges that this entire approach is wrong and that those who have physical, sensory, intellectual, and/or development impairments are automatically put on a much more effective and fulfilling road to a good, complete, and 'full' life if they are, instead, looked at and valued by society from the outset as totally "normal" people who just happen to have these "extra differences" or are "differently-abled". Like the social movements of feminism, anti-racism and gay rights before it, inclusion is often derided by critics from the right as naivety, and by critics from the left as identity politics. As it looks less towards 'overcoming' and 'achieving', and more towards being and existing in the moment, inclusion by its very nature forces others in the world to possibly begin to accept those who may be different from themselves.

Barriers to inclusion in the U.S.[edit]

Our society is equipped for those without disabilities.[4] This resistance to inclusion in the United States may be that the older architecture of its more prominent cities makes structural adjustment for disabled people costly and supposedly impractical, leading indirectly to a high measure of hostility towards disabled people lest they end up feeling 'entitled' to receive such adjustments automatically and unquestionably[citation needed].

Others tend to blame the attitude of Social Darwinism more generally, accusing it of corrupting the attitude of able-bodied people in the US in particular towards disabled people—often to the point that it prevents that country's culture from readily accepting disabled people in aspects and venues that are not directly legality or law-related, e.g. theater, film, dance, and sexuality. (See also the article Ableism.)[citation needed]

According to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, Hinton, Kraus, Richards, Fox and Campbell wrote that barriers to inclusion for individuals with disabilities include other people's behaviors, misunderstandings, lack of awareness about disabilities, and even a lack of understanding about the functions performed by service animals. This is in addition to physical barriers already present, including transportation, level of lighting, or handicap accessible buildings and equipment.[5] There are several possible strategies to removing barriers, such as including those with disabilities in discussions held about changes that directly affect their community to gain their insights.[5]

Erin Ludwig wrote about perceptual barriers, saying that a less thought about aspect of barriers is the attitude and stigma carried by people without disabilities toward the disabled community.[6] She noted that while laws have been created to ensure physical access, like wheelchair ramps, and though evidence has shown that there are many benefits for those with disabilities, the disabled community still does not have a high rate of participation in cultural activities.[6] This extends to places of worship as well. In his article for Dialog: A Journal of Theology, Thomas Reynolds acknowledged that "superficial access may be granted through self-congratulatory and … [condescending] gestures of kindness and grace".[7] He recognized that the Church's answer must be to welcome people with disabilities as part of the community and to fully accept the diversity in body and mind, rather than to think of the person as their disability, or as something abnormal that requires fixing.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Disability Inclusion | Disability and Health | NCBDDD". Retrieved 2016-05-24.
  2. ^ Vance, Mary Lee; Parks, Kaela; Lipsitz, Neal E. (2014). Beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act : inclusive policy and practice for higher education. Vance, Mary Lee, 1957-, Parks, Kaela,, Lipsitz, Neal E. (First ed.). Washington, DC. ISBN 9780931654909. OCLC 868981531.
  3. ^ Haugen, HM (2006). "Writing the Self Determined Life". Ohio University.
  4. ^ "Disability Barriers | Disability and Health | NCBDDD | CDC". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018-02-05. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  5. ^ a b Hinton, Cynthia F.; Kraus, Lewis E.; Richards, T. Anne; Fox, Michael H.; Campbell, Vincent A. (December 2017). "The Guide to Community Preventive Services and Disability Inclusion". American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 53 (6): 898–903. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2017.06.025. PMC 5769691. PMID 28869093.
  6. ^ a b Ludwig, Erin (2012). "Stigma in the Arts: How Perceptual Barriers Influence Individuals' with Disabilities Participation in Arts Organizations". The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society. 42 (3): 141–151. doi:10.1080/10632921.2012.729498. ISSN 1063-2921.
  7. ^ a b Reynolds, Thomas E. (2012-09-01). "Invoking Deep Access: Disability beyond Inclusion in the Church". Dialog. 51 (3): 212–223. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6385.2012.00687.x.

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