How To Be More Inclusive in Everyday Life
In my interview with Katy Sullivan, she talked about how diverse the disability community is. Physical and intellectual disabilities have such a wide range in and of themselves that often times we, as advocates, tend to fall short and leave out crucial pieces when trying to make the world more accessible. Because of the diversity within this community, people get overwhelmed and have no idea how they can help. I have people come to me all the time asking what they can do and what it means to be inclusive.
There is a great quote that says "Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance." I would encourage you to think about that quote in your everyday life and see where inclusion is falling short. One example would be fruit that comes in containers; as a life coach, I can tell you that those are the best inventions! They allow some of my clients the independence to eat whatever they want, whenever they want. I can not tell you how many arguments I have gotten into with people about the plastic containers. I have had people tell me that if they are going to be in a store then they should only be brought out for individuals who really need them. If someone can not cut up fruit but can open a container then shouldn't they be allowed the same convenience as the rest of us? It seems like such a simple thing but being able to pick out fruit and shop at your own pace is not a luxury that everyone gets. I have a list of things we can all do to make the world more accessible but I am going to share two with you today.
We all use it, and technology is making it so that ANYONE can use it. There are now apps that help those who have visual impairments navigate social media. Companies like Facebook and Twitter have worked with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) to make their websites user-friendly. But what can we do? While companies and technology are making sure that text is getting read, it still can not describe pictures. Using image description is an easy way for you to make everything you put out there available to anyone following you. When posting a picture simply put Image Descript:, then describe your photo.
Once again, we live in an age of technology and learning a few simple phrases in sign language can go a long way! Communication should not be limited to those who are able to hear. The ASL app is an amazing tool to help you learn hundreds of signs. I promise you that once you start signing you will see how many people use it as their form of communication.
Inclusion is figuring out how we can all have the same rights while meeting all of our needs. It is changing the way we interact with each other so that we can all enjoy life and all be INCLUDED.