What is Inclusion?
Inclusion is meaningful participation while learning new skills, with every participant accepted and supported by peers. A successful inclusive physical activity program is one where:
- activities are modified and individualized as necessary
- expectations are realistic yet challenging
- assistance is provided only to the degree required
- there is dignity-of-risk and choice available
In parks, for example, inclusion allows individuals with a disability to use all areas as independently as possible, participate actively with friends and family and have a choice of activities to take part in.
Inclusive Active Living:
- increases overall health
- reduces the risk of developing illnesses or conditions that are generally linked to an inactive lifestyle
- reduces the risk of developing secondary conditions specific to a person’s disability
- lessens some of the negative effects that are associated with a disability
- makes daily living easier
- increases overall quality of life
Persons with a disability have a greater risk of developing medical conditions such as heart disease, respiratory conditions, high blood pressure and others. Often, the effects of these conditions are more severe. An illness generally considered minor in nature, may result in major health problems for someone with a disability. So, physical activity to maintain health is particularly important.
Persons with a disability are also less likely to be physically active than those without a disability. Research by Human Resources and Social Development Canada shows that adults with a disability are more likely to have a sedentary lifestyle than those without a disability.
If your organization’s programs or services are not suitable for Canadians with a disability, you are missing out on more than 15 percent of your community. That number is likely higher when you consider that a whole family or the friends of a person with a disability might not participate either if one of them can’t.
Providing inclusive opportunities:
- opens an organization’s market to serve all community members
- recognizes the diversity of your community