According the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Disability affects approximate 61 million, or nearly 1 in 4 (26%) people in the United States living in communities. Disability affects more than one billion people worldwide.1,2 According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, people “. . . with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory [such as hearing or vision] impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”
While the road has made great strives in community integration, we still have a long way to go until full inclusion is met worldwide. For some people with disabilities, participation may be only defined as being physically present in a community but without any connection such as going to a shopping store or attending an event. The next level includes encounters at a nail salon, bowling, shopping, etc and full integration includes connecting with others in the community such as hanging out with people at a sports bar with and without disabilities or attending religious services including becoming a part of the choir or serving as an usher.
The following questions created by the Council on Quality and Leaderships serves as a great barometer in measuring the quality of community inclusion:
- Who do you know in your community?
- Who do you spend most of your time with?
- When you go places, who do you meet with?
- What kind of interactions do you have with people?
- What kinds of things do you do with other people?
The following are articles on the importance of community inclusion among individuals with disabilities and the definition:
5 ways to make community inclusion work– White Hawk Advocacy
A sharing of ideas on community inclusion for people with disabilities– University of Connecticut Center for Developmental Disabilities.
Community barrier to participation experienced by people with disabilities (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ) CDC
Community Inclusion– newfdn.org
What does community inclusion look like? – National Disability Insurance Scheme
What is community inclusion all about and why does it matter?– Pioneer Center for Human Services
What Is Community Inclusion & Why Is It a Win-Win Scenario?– Community Mainstreaming
What We Mean When We Talk About Inclusion– Institute for Community Inclusion
The following are community inclusion ideas and suggestions.
11 Ways to Promote Community Support for Students with Disabilities– Brooks Publishing
13 ideas for making your community more inclusive – Union for Reform Judaism
The following includes a staff training module on community inclusion.
Community Inclusion Module– Illinois Department of Human Services