What Inclusion means to me

In the final post of this mini-series I thought I’d finish it on a personal perspective and share What Inclusion Means to Me.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines inclusion as: the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised, such as those who have physical or intellectual disabilities and members of other minority groups.

There’s stereotypical behaviour present in society today that disabled people, particularly with physical disabilities, are de-humanised and become objectified. I have lost count of the amount of times I’m often referred to as “the wheelchair user” rather than Chelsea. People see the object before the person, and it shouldn’t be this way. 

To me, inclusion is a two-way approach. The first is providing individual/s with a sense of belonging where they can be themselves and be effective in their roles without having to worry about struggling to “fit in” to the environment around them. It’s also about seeing the qualities & passion within an individual and providing them with the support to flourish instead of using our unconscious bias to focus on the barriers/challenges one might face.

But on the other hand, it’s also important that resources are available for our people to utilise and educate themselves, and those around them, to meet both ends of the inclusive approach.

My favourite saying that I used to use a lot was “my legs might not work but my brain functions fine” this was because in my past experience when looking for work, a lot of employers will write on paper that they have an inclusive, supportive environment but once you get in the door you’ll be challenged daily to prove that you are capable of performing your daily duties because they think that employees with disabilities will be incapable of performing within their roles.

There are some really useful resources on https://www.scope.org.uk to help improve education around disabilities.

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Chelsea Douglas
Chelsea Douglas

Business Application Specialist at Hymans Robertson & Volunteer with the Scottish Tech Army

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