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What ‘Being Inclusive’ asks of us

Inclusion / Inclusive are often used terms these days – but what does ‘being inclusive’ actually look like and what does it ask of us?

Being inclusive is more than simply having everyone together, and it’s more than being open to having anyone participate or take part in experiences.

Being inclusive requires us to look closely at our practices and environments and ask ourselves, “are we accessible to everyone, and are we providing everyone with the appropriate supports or accommodations that they need in order to take part fully or to do the very best that they can?”

Inclusive practices involve taking a look at our systems and procedures.

From a disability perspective, try and look at the world through the eyes of the person:

  • If I was in a wheel chair, how inclusive is my environment in terms of navigating the space in a wheel chair, and accessing all areas?
  • If I had sensory processing challenges, how inclusive is my environment in terms of being able to ‘be’ in the environment without feeling under attack (from a sensory perspective)?
  • If I had dysgraphia / dyslexia or any other learning disability, how inclusive is my environment in terms of offering (and making available) alternatives to reading and writing? How inclusive is my environment in terms of making these alternatives ‘the norm’ and not making people have to ask for them (and sometimes be turned down)?
  • If I was disabled / had a disability of any form, how inclusive is my environment in terms of inviting, encouraging and supporting participation?

So when you think inclusion, take a step back and re-evaluate how you’re currently doing things (it can be a reality check for some of us) and although it may mean some changes to your current approach, it’s something to which we should all be committed.

Inclusive communities value all people, accept all differences, and enable participation – let’s make sure our communities are as inclusive as they can be!

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