What is Inclusion?

Inclusion means to transform communities based on social justice principles in which all community members:

  • Are presumed competent;

  • Are recruited and welcome as valued members of their community;

  • Fully participate and learn with their peers; and

  • Experience reciprocal social relationships.

Examples of levels of participation include:

Physical access:

The physical environment is accessible to all comers; no supports for participation are necessary. For instance, there is no special entrance or door for people with disabilities because the common door is accessible to anyone. The furniture has enough space around it to be navigable by anyone, including those who use devices for mobility such as wheelchairs, walkers and canes. There are numerous other examples related to physical activity, nutrition and obesity prevention programs.

Programmatic access:

Physical access and communication resources are accessible in multiple formats to meet the needs of people with diverse abilities. For example, written, verbal, and hands-on instructions are available. To ensure programmatic access, supports may be needed (e.g., volunteers and/or technology) to ensure that individuals with disabilities can participate in all program-based activities. Beyond immediate access and provisions at a facility or event, programmatic access also includes marketing, promotion, and other awareness and outreach activities that ensure all community members are aware of and feel welcomed to programs, facilities, and events.

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