FEAR & CONDITIONING: These are the most common social barriers and obstacles of inclusion. We are conditioned to avoid or fear people we see as different, so we often avoid interacting with them.

OVERCOMING OUR CONDITIONING:  People are people. We're all different, but also similar in the ways that make us all human. As we understand what unifies us, we are better able to see parts of ourselves in others, and model inclusion in our communities.


AWKWARDNESS & SOCIAL INHIBITIONS: Sometimes we just don’t know what to say. We don’t have the right words to connect. People with differing abilities are often used to being treated differently or sometimes even ignored. Thus, they may have expectations of not being included, and  behavior may appear "antisocial" because of feeling historically marginalized.

OVERCOMING AWKWARDNESS: By bringing awareness to our own thoughts, beliefs, and biases, we can diminish the awkward feeling. We all have differences, but we can find common ground. That's how we make connections. A kind voice or a smile is a great place to start.


DIFFICULTY: It is much easier to look away than to watch someone struggle.

OVERCOMING DIFFICULTY: Bridging the gap between different people is easier than you think. Connecting with people who have some differences does not have to be effortful or uncomfortable unless we live by the belief that our differences are more powerful than what we have in common. 


DISINTEREST: Maybe you have nobody in your social circle with a disability, or people with disabilities are just not part of your world.

OVERCOMING DISINTEREST: People have an innate need to connect with others. We also have a sense of social responsibility to care for one another. In all cultures, people take turns offering and receiving help when one is needy or one is able. The one thing we can be sure of is that at some point in life, everyone will experience a limitation on our abilities, even a temporary one. If you've ever been on crutches, had your eyes dilated, been bed bound, been disoriented, needed an inhaler, been in a foreign country without speaking the language, or even just lost your voice, you have experienced limitations on your abilities. You were likely dependent on somebody to help you. A person to transport you somewhere, to reach something for you, to translate, to open a door for you, to feed you, to help you get dressed, to read something to you. That help was given out of compassion; feeling empathy and taking action to reduce your suffering. That human understanding is what makes the world go ‘round. Pay it forward. It will come back when you need it.


IGNORANCE : We are human and we learn by example from other humans. Sometimes  we are taught that a person who is different, or perhaps has a deformity or a behavior that we don't understand, is not capable of normal relationships. Parents often think they should protect their children from seeing individuals who are suffering or are different. If we can't see past the disability, it's just not easy to watch.

OVERCOMING IGNORANCE: Ignorance sometimes creates belief systems that contradict both common goodness and common sense. Think about what makes sense. We know intuitively that humans need love and meaningful relationships with others to thrive in this world. We all have the capacity to find common connection and compassion for one another. That's what makes us human! An inclusive world is a humane one.


You GOTTA DIG a world like that!

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