At the root of many of the conflicts in the world is the separation of people into ‘them and us’. This automatically sets up a process of exclusion where ‘we’ are accorded status, benefits and belonging whereas ‘they’ are excluded from these benefits.
We all know what it is like to be excluded and rejected. It is unpleasant, demeaning and eats away at our self-esteem and confidence. We know that the right thing to do is to bring others in if they have been excluded but we are often held back from doing the right thing. We also know that when we do reach out to include others it brings out community building qualities in ourselves and others such as caring, compassion, empathy, tolerance and positivity.
Include has been established to provide support and training to increase inclusion in our community. It was founded on the belief that inclusion is the right thing to do at a personal, societal and human level.
At Include we try not to focus on ‘problems’. Historically, a failure to learn or a disability has been associated with a labeling process where people have been assessed, categorised and then treated in accordance with the label that has been determined.
Traditionally this has led to lowered expectations, a focus on management rather than development and growth, and a mass of “special” programs and techniques that have highlighted difference.
This is not to say that an impairment does not exist. However, while education and skill development can be extremely beneficial as it is with all people, for people with disability a major source of difficulty is the barriers that they encounter. These barriers can be attitudinal, physical, social or historical, but most stem from the perception that the ‘problem’ is within the person (their disability) rather than the environment (the barriers). This is due to a conflict of models — the medical/therapy model where the ‘problem’ is in the individual and the social model, where the ‘problem’ is in the environmental barriers.
The focus of Include is to provide the teaching and support to ensure that people can be included even when they have very significant impairments. We believe that this can best be achieved by starting from the ordinary, valued and typical, looking for similarities rather than difference. Hence on this web site, you will find what you seek in the ordinary, typical and valued.