What is inclusion ?
Imagine you walk into a party. Everyone around you is having a good time. You join a group of people but do not understand the language they are speaking. You move to another group but they are all sitting down and it’s difficult to hear from your standing position. You try a third group but they simply turn their backs to you and it is clear you are unwelcome. You notice some people laughing upstairs but the steps are blocked and you can’t find another way round…….this party is no fun for you. Eventually, you give up trying to join in and leave the party, and maybe you don’t bother going to the next one either
Have you ever experienced feeling like this? Like you are not welcome or that the ‘party’ is just out of reach?
Being inclusive is not just about ensuring people can join in the party, it is about making sure they know they are welcome and part of the conversation.
In an inclusive party people would take the time to find out what language you spoke and try to find a common way to communicate. Sign language and pictures are always helpful in these scenarios! People would move their chairs to let you sit down and be part of the conversation or they would step aside and let you join their circle. A truly inclusive party would ensure that all the party rooms are open to all. Perhaps they are on one level or perhaps a lift is available. All it takes is a little thought and consideration.
Example: A 10 year old girl we know was preparing her house for a party. The party was to be attended by a friend in a wheelchair and a friend who was deaf. She made sure the floor was clear for the wheelchair and put her toys on low surfaces that she knew her friend could reach. She only had music on for games like musical statues, so her deaf friend could hear the conversations and join in. Small adjustments but easy to make.
Inclusion isn’t just having a student with disabilities sitting in your class. It isn’t having a special unit for pupils with autism or deafness attached to the school. Inclusion is ensuring each pupil knows they have a place in the class. It is ensuring that they can understand and access the lessons, that they can participate in class activities, that they have a say in class projects and it is ensuring that other pupils get to know and value them as a friend.
Key learning points
~ inclusion is about ensuring everyone knows and understands what is going on and they are part of any conversations
~ inclusion is about ensuring everyone feels welcome and a true part of something
~ how did you felt when you were not included in something (a game, a conversation, an event?)
~ What adjustments could have been made to enable you to be included?