What We Mean When We Talk About 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
- Serve as a member or volunteer in Senior Corps, AmeriCorps or Learn and Serve America programs
- Work at jobs in the community that pay a competitive wage and have careers that use their capacities to the fullest
- Participate in service learning opportunities with peers from elementary school through college and continuing education
Inclusion applies to all parts of life
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 mandate that people with disabilities have freedom, equality, and opportunity to participate fully in public life.
- People with disabilities may need support to participate fully in their communities and in national and community service programs. This support can range from alterations (called “accommodations”) to make a space accessible for a person with physical or sensory limitations, to training and technical assistance for programs, to assistance from others to succeed in a service program, job or a recreational activity. Support should respect the wants, needs, and choices of the person with a disability.
Inclusion is not...
- Clustering people with disabilities into one home, classroom, workplace, or social center.
- Giving “special privileges” to people with disabilities.
- Feeling sorry for people with disabilities.
- People with disabilities as recipients of volunteer service only.
Inclusion can look like...
- Martina, a woman who is blind, sings in her church choir.
- Andrea, a woman with cerebral palsy, tutors neighborhood children in a local volunteer center three times each week.
- Tyrone became interested in politics through his city’s Independent Living Center (ILC), a resource center for people with disabilities. He now advocates for his own rights and teaches other people about disability rights issues.
- Adam, who has Down syndrome, is a full-time service member in a local AmeriCorps program.
- Lee, an eight-year-old girl with significant health care needs, participates in service learning activities in elementary school, with help from her school nurse and a portable ventilator.
EVERYONE can be a part of their community!