Why Inclusion Matters (My Past, the Present, and Future of Inclusion)
thesisposted on 01.01.2020, 00:00 by Brayden Gaston
There are around 54 million persons with disabilities, either sensory, cognitive, and/or physical disabilities, in the United States today. Despite this large population, these individuals still find themselves belonging to one of the most excluded groups in the nation. The United States and the world at large has a poor track record of providing equal opportunity, care, and access to persons with disabilities. I argue this is largely due to the fact that our society sets up social barriers that exclude persons with disabilities from common social circles which leads to a disparity in the treatment and quality of life that they receive. I believe that we must make conscious efforts to strive for disability inclusion, in all parts of life, from small social circles to large systemic changes in healthcare and education. My project was centered around creating a mini-curriculum for educators, students, and people of all ages and backgrounds into how and why we can implement inclusion into our lives. I argue that disability inclusion is not a one-way street, but a mutually beneficial relationship wherein both parties have so much to gain. Not only can we see life through a more expansive worldview, but we build character as a society when we give everyone a chance. I give my own personal narrative, provide stories and insight from community members with and without disabilities that I know well, and take a look at our current situation in the United States. I look at successful inclusion stories and speculate as to how we can cultivate inclusion in all facets of life from business to education to healthcare. I end with a call to action for all of us as members of human race to band together regardless of our differences, because difference makes us stronger not weaker. This mini curricula is meant to be used as a teaching and awareness tool for anyone who wishes to use it, and hopefully it can spark action to be more inclusive.