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We Need to Talk About the True Meaning of Inclusion

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Inclusion. Inclusive. Inclusivity.

There’s a misconception about inclusion. When you hear the term “all-inclusive resort,” you think of luxury. But inclusion is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

The waters between inclusion and being a decent human being have become muddied. Deciding to include a disabled individual in an activity out of pity or the goodness of one’s heart is not, in my opinion, the true meaning of inclusion.

Just take a look around social media at any given time and you’ll see numerous posts about an able-bodied child playing with their disabled classmate or doing something to “include” them.

School field trips are a highlight for most students. Growing up, that was not the case for me. A field trip was not a day to spend with my classmates. It was a day my mother had to leave her job to transport me. Why? The accessible school bus I rode every single day was deemed “too expensive.”

The message that was sent to me and my fellow classmates was that inclusion was not a priority. This message has carried over into adulthood, at least for those around me. It has now spilled over into a society that lacks a true understanding of the concept.

The goal when it comes to inclusion should be making sure someone with a disability is afforded the same opportunity to participate in activities and events as their able-bodied counterparts.

It isn’t special treatment the disabled community is seeking. It is equal treatment.

Getty image by Lisitsa.

Originally published: August 18, 2019
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