According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than one billion people worldwide (approximately 15% of the global population) have some form of disability. Sadly, the modern world isn't always friendly for people with disabilities. Many of them cannot access essential services such as healthcare and education, find employment, or even move around in society.
A Guide to Inclusive Practices
Disability inclusion ultimately benefits everyone, not just people with disabilities. Companies that champion the inclusion of people with disabilities also report 30% higher profit margins than their peers. In a survey of over 100 global brands that prioritize disability inclusion, 80% said it gives them access to a broader talent pool and positively impacts their business objectives.
Everyone can promote and contribute to disability inclusion. Here, we've outlined some simple strategies that you can utilize in your everyday life to help build a more inclusive community:
- Use person-first language.
Words matter--and the language we use to communicate with and about persons with disabilities must be respectful. Try to use person-first language (for example, "a person who uses a wheelchair" rather than "a handicapped person"). Similarly, avoid offensive slang terms like mute, crippled, deformed, crazy, retarded, etc.
When in doubt, it's okay to (respectfully) ask the person in question which language they prefer.
- Practice accessibility in communication.
So much of our culture today is shaped by the internet. Yet, many aspects of online or digital content aren't accessible to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or visually impaired. Whether preparing a webinar or posting casually on social media, features such as video captions and image descriptions can help ensure that your content is accessible to everyone.
- Be an advocate for inclusivity.
Even if you're not a city planner or hiring manager, you can still help make outdoor environments and workplaces more inclusive. When you notice areas of your community that pose potential barriers to people with disabilities, consider contacting city officials to ask them to address the issue. At work, you can start conversations about creating a more inclusive workspace. If possible, engage your HR team in the conversation. Finally, consider supporting organizations or political candidates who work toward inclusivity by donating or voting.
Since 1948, Envision Unlimited has helped people with disabilities live fulfilling lives in their communities. Our offerings, which include day programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities; mental health, residential, and employment services; specialized foster care; and accredited applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy for children, are designed to address the unique needs of each of our clients—regardless of age, background, or ability.