We shall be seeking to answer the question on Inclusion in the context of human experience as to why despite there being accessible environments, people with disabilities’
presence is still not felt in such environments.
These environments may be learning institutions, places of work, recreation facilities, entertainment joints and other social spaces like places of worship.
Even with the equipment of these places for accessibility by persons with disabilities, something still keeps them away. This something, or lack of it
thereof, is what we are referring to as inclusion in the context of human experience.
Why persons with disabilities Feel Unwelcome in Such Places
It has something to do with the preparedness and willingness of the operators and persons who are yet to be disabled customers of such places to create a human environment that
is welcoming to the persons with disabilities.
Besides physical accessibility, these places need to be equipped with an environment where persons with disabilities feel like regular customers.
It’s not just enough to put ramps and other facilities, extensive training and education are required to eliminate what persons with disabilities feel as turn-away
to gracing such places.
What Turns Away persons with disabilities in Such Places?
In schools, for instance, kids with disabilities should not be segregated in special rooms, you know with special teachers and stuff. These kids, in their hearts
and minds long to be with other kids.
Their segregated facilities might look like a very good idea but they are not good for the social development of these kids.
On the other hand, we are not surprised when persons without disabilities surround a blind person reading the braille bible,
Imagine if this was normalized at all times?
In other words, change of the mindset is crusual in eliminating the barriers of inclusion.
Kid’s social development is very essential to their psychological well-being, which prepares them to survive the ableist society later in life.
Human Experience Inclusion in Learning Institutions
How about classes equipped with good lighting, wide learning spaces, wide doors, provision of alternative formats, personal support for instance sign language interpreters’ personal guides, teachers, support person for children with intellectual impairment, and extra after-class tuition and care for slow learners?
Instead of special vans to cater for transport allowance for children with disabilities how about the installation of requisite facilities on the buses which transports other
This will give the kids with disabilities an opportunity to grow and interact with kids who are yet to be disabled, making it easy for them to navigate the ableist society when they are growing up.
Training kids without disabilties on how to Interact with Kids with disabilities
Kids without disabilities should also be extensively educated on the best way to treat and mingle with kids with disabilities instead of keeping them in solitary confinements.
Most of the adults with disabilties especially in low-income countries when they join higher institutions of learning take time to acclimatize to the new world where institutionalization has been taken away.
We therefore need to enhance inclusion at all levels and reduce special needs institutions which have continuously made persons with disabilities less competitive and less sociable.
Inclusion in the context of human experience in schools will provide kids with disabilities with comfortable environments where they can enjoy a complete society
It should be understood that after school, there won’t be any specials, it’s just the society. There won’t be any special spaces in churches, mosques,
restaurants, beaches, workplaces, etc.
Kids with disabilities, therefore, need to be prepared early for the non-special society to enjoy the full human experience of life.
Human Experience Inclusion at Places of Work
At workplaces, it’s not enough to provide the physical infrastructure like ramps and adaptive tools like computers.
The management and employees require to be sensitized on the human value of appreciating and making the disabled employees comfortable, appreciated and
They need to be educated on what to say and not to say to them, what do and not to do to them. They should be educated on their needs and the special assistance
This sensitization and education should be replicated in all other places of social interactions including places of worship, public transport and recreation
Human Experience Inclusion in Places of Worship
Leaders of places of worship should be well educated to understand that disability is not sickness.
A person with a disability might shy away from a place of worship where the leaders will ask them to step forward for special healing prayers.
They will also shy away from places of worship where worshippers will turn to stare at them as they walk, wheel, crutch or white cane in
Human Experience Inclusion in Entertainment Joints
A person with a disability will shy away from entertainment joints where they are likely to draw unwarranted attention from regular revelers.
Where the waiters will ignore them assuming that the disabled do not take alcohol, or mistaking them for beggars.
Full Achievement of Inclusion in the Context of Human Experience
Inclusion in the context of human experience will be said to have been achieved fully when persons with disabilities are guaranteed equal treatment and attitudes as
the persons without disabilities in all spaces of human interaction.
Let us all put our efforts towards the total achievement of inclusion in the context of human experience.
Join us as we discuss on the disability sausage YouTube channel.
The views expressed here are for the authors and do not represent any agency or organization.
Is a Telecom ICT Support, author and a social businessman,
Mugambi Paul is a public policy, diversity, inclusion and sustainability expert.
Australian Chief Minister Award winner
“excellence of making inclusion happen”