Despite being a social construct, inclusion has to occur because right now it is the only way for people with disabilities to be included in society. Laws and polices provide protections and rules that society has to follow in regards to treatment and inclusion. Advocates work to raise awareness and enforce inclusion. Physical acts of inclusion incorporate people with disabilities into the workforce, education, etc..

A key component is shifting societies perceptions and attitudes and acting on it. It is difficult to convince people that inclusion is necessary because disabled people are excluded due to poor societal perceptions and attitudes. People have to confront their own biases, prejudices, etc.. This includes not just “normal” people, but many disabled people who have the same view/attitude or think there is no problem or it is minimal.

People often practice inclusion out of pity or social obligation. The individual with a disability is still seen as “pitiable and pathetic.” The disabled individual is included because of useful skills. Being inclusive only because of usefulness is nothing more than using the person for personal gains. Inclusion should not occur out of pity or social obligation nor just because the person has useful skills. Even so, this type of inclusion may be the only chance the person has to participate in society.

At the core, it is not excluding people with disabilities in the first place. It is recognizing people with disabilities are a part of society from the start. Each and every individual has worth and contributes to society.

Reintegration should occur because people with disabilities are human and have intrinsic value like everyone else. Society has a long way to go to become truly integrated.

Laura MacKenzie loves to learn about the world around her. She adores animals and has a dog and cat. She is always observing, thinking, and analyzing. Her goal is to become a police consultant/instructor on community relations and disability. Laura is enrolled in the Advanced Certificate in Disability Studies here at CUNY SPS.

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