Integration vs Inclusion: Changing a few little letters makes a world of difference.
What does the disability community really want? Nothing too surprising: For all people to be able to share in a more common and equitable life experience. That means everyone gets the same opportunities for employment, education, entrepreneurship, recreation, dating… you get the picture.
Unfortunately, this simple goal is seriously far-fetched in some people’s minds. The way forward, to open everyone’s eyes to what our world should be like, starts with understanding one easy idea: Inclusion.
Inclusion is not the same as integration. There are countless examples of what sets the two apart, but you can think of it this way: If your kid is in school, and she has a disability, “integration” might mean they just put her in “regular” classes and expect her to adjust to the standard way of doing things in those classes. She’s invited, as long as she can function as quote-unquote “normal.”
Inclusion, on the other hand, means there’s a process going on in which the school is updating its teaching methods and structures so that your daughter and others like her actually can succeed in her new environment, so that everybody gets an equitable, participatory learning experience. When this happens, which is still unfortunately rare, it does require a new and creative look at how a school (or business) is serving the people who go there. And the process of figuring all that out is complex and challenging. But the outcome is actually very simple: Your daughter learns, makes friends, and feels included. The other students in her class also benefit from modern teaching methods and get the great benefit of knowing her better and learning from her, just like you already do. Pretty ideal, right?
Zully JF Alvarado – Dedicated rights advocate and founder of Causes for Change International.
Photojournalist Dan Habib made a movie about his family’s efforts to include his son Samuel, in all aspects of school and community. You can watch the trailer, which opens with some of the best giggling you’ll ever hear, right here.Watch
Meet 8-year-old Thasya Lumingkewas, whose autism doesn’t prevent her from learning and connecting at school – because her school works with her.Watch
Bernard Baker lives independently with a disability, and helps others do the same.Watch
Elizabeth Guffey, who is an art and design history professor living with cerebral palsy, shares what that little blue and white wheelchair icon means to her.Read
Sara Schley explains why making learning more accessible helps everyone - not just students with disabilities.Read
Kathie Snow, mom and author of “Disability is Natural,” breaks down the huge difference between true inclusion and everything else.Read
The folks at Think Inclusive use a now-famous set of images to show what inclusion really looks like.Read
What is UDL for Learning? // Using Universal Design for Learning in the ClassroomRead
Upgrade your Workplace
Ten people explain in 60 seconds why jobs and employment should be about what you CAN do, not what you can’t.Watch
Quick animation showing how to empower Inclusion in the Workplace.Watch
Jim Sinocchi, Head of Disability Inclusion at JPMorgan Chase, explains his theory of the four As in creating an inclusive work environment.Watch
The Financial Times walks through how accommodating employees with disabilities is cheaper than you’d think, and pays off big.Read
Wondering how to practice inclusion in your organization? See how 14 successful companies, from AT&T to Walgreens, are doing it.Read
What’s the difference between “qualified” and “job-ready”? And how much do “accommodations” typically actually cost? Ask EARN.Read
To move beyond basic ADA compliance and actually be inclusive in your workplace, you’re going to need tools. Here you go.View