Community inclusion is important because all people, regardless of their abilities, should be able to participate and engage in a full range of community activities. At Community Mainstreaming (CMA), the principles of community inclusion inform and fuel all of our programs. Continue reading to learn more about community inclusion and how we implement it to empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to live as independently as possible.
What Is Community Inclusion?
Community inclusion is the opportunity to live and exist as a contributing member of the community while being valued for one’s abilities and uniqueness — regardless of disability. The ultimate goal of community inclusion is the participation of people with IDDs across a range of areas, including:
- Recreation and Leisure
- Civic Engagement
- Peer Support
- And more
Examples of inclusion are when students with disabilities are educated in the exact schools they would’ve attended if they didn’t have disabilities; or when adults with disabilities fully participate in an employment environment and are engaged as community members.
How Do I Know Whether It’s an Inclusive Work Environment?
While some employers and parents suggest they’ve unsuccessfully tried inclusion, upon further questioning it became clear old-style mainstreaming or integration was actually attempted. Here are a few questions you can answer to ensure it’s inclusion:
- Is the individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities empowered to work in the same environment as other employees?
- Does the individual with IDD have access to the necessary assistive technology, accommodations, and other supports to promote full and active participation in the workplace?
- Does the person with IDD have the right tools and supports to create meaningful professional development experiences just as everyone else.
- Does the person with disabilities feel included and as if they belong?
- Do other employees without disabilities view the individual as a member of the team or group.
If you can confidently answer “yes” to the previous questions, it may truly be an environment of inclusion.
Community Inclusion and Employment
People with intellectual and developmental disabilities should be able to find gainful employment in regular, non-segregated workplaces. They should earn the same wages and be employed in the same manner as those who do not have disabilities.
Community Inclusion with the Ability to Choose
People with IDD should have the right to make their own informed choices. Community Mainstreaming works to ensure people with IDD have accurate and full information about all of their options, including the financial support available and other services offered via integrated settings Individuals are also educated about their responsibilities and consequences of making certain choices..
What Are the Benefits of Community Inclusion?
Every person is our society is born “included,” which means inclusion is the natural state of being. Long gone are the days when people with developmental disabilities are shut away and segregated. In fact, society is enhanced and enriched by the diversity of the people. Everyone with different backgrounds, abilities, and interests all bring something unique and can contribute to the richness of society. True inclusion is the premier way to make this happen.
At Community Mainstreaming, we proudly embrace inclusion in all of our programs and in everything we do. We work to ensure people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are included into their communities at work, home and in free time.
Contact Community Mainstreaming
At Community Mainstreaming, we believe people are defined by what they can do — not by what they can’t. And we use this perspective to help people with IDD lead more productive and meaningful lives while making a positive impact on their community.
Contact Community Mainstreaming Associates today.