What the hell is Inclusion?

Now I have reframed my job as an inclusion consultant, I thought it was important for me to properly explain what I mean by the term. While inclusion is often used in terms of the education of children with impairments, I am using the term to relate to providing all people with impairments an equal footing to their peers in accessing all areas of the community and wider society.

I am therefore defining inclusion as a policy, enacted by organisations and governments, that provides measures to ensure all people with impairments can meaningfully participate in the activity and services provided on the same basis as their peers. Inclusion can be achieved by removing physical and practical barriers, makes changing to policies and practises that cause additional barriers, providing specific promotions and support aimed at specific groups, and a willingness to go the extra mile in improving the smallest things that make the biggest difference. Inclusion can also cover cultural relevance, ensuring people with impairments can see their various stories being portrayed in marketing and advertising.

Inclusion can be seen as a social policy, for local and national governments to enact, with the goal of providing meaningful access to public services, education employment and other activities in the same way other citizens could expect. Inclusion can also be seen as a commercial policy, the activities of organisations to ensure that their products and services are available to as many people as possible so that they are as profitable as they are able to be.

This means that inclusion is not simply an act of kindness, or something that is morally right, but someone that makes economic sense for governments and organisations alike. For governments, the meaningful inclusion of people with impairments into all aspects of society, particularly in terms of employment, can reduce dependency on costly disempowerment services like day care services, that are currently designed to guarantee exclusion. For organisations, people with impairments are often an untapped customer based, paying customers who will spend at the place they find most easiest to use as well as somewhere that offers them respect,

The key to inclusion for myself is that it must include every person with an impairment regardless of their level of impairment or their background, and this is where a degree of faith is required. While the needs of most people with impairments in their inclusion is easy to understand, we are still learning how to support people with some impairments, and this is where the need for a consultant comes into play. It is why role to move inclusion to the next level, and the level after that, to ensure the science and theory can go further in the never ending goal of full inclusion for everyone.

Inclusion is my passion and I now intend to share this with as many organisations as I can, or rather those who are willing to pay for my time and effort so they can reap the rewards. If you are one of those organisations, please contact me so we have a discussion.

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