What is disability inclusion?

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Including persons with disabilities in everyday activities and encouraging them to have roles similar to their peers who do not have a disability is disability inclusion.

Inclusion should lead to increased participation in socially expected life roles and activities such as being a student, worker, friend, community member, patient, spouse, partner, or parent.

Disability inclusion allows persons with disabilities to take advantage of the benefits of the same health promotion and prevention activities experienced by people who do not have a disability.

Including persons with disabilities in these activities begins with identifying and eliminating barriers to their participation.

Disability affects approximate 61 million, or nearly 1 in 4 (26%) people in the United States living in communities. Disability affects more than one billion people worldwide.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, persons“. . . with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory [such as hearing or vision] impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

Persons with disabilities experience significant disadvantages when it comes to health such as:

Adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities.

Adults with disabilities are more likely than adults without disabilities to be current smokers; and

Women with disabilities are less likely than women without disabilities to have received a breast cancer X-ray test (mammogram) during the past 2 years.

Although disability is linked with health conditions, such as arthritis, mental, or emotional conditions, or events such as injuries, the functioning, health, independence, and engagement in the society of people with disabilities can vary depending on several factors such as:

1.Severity of the underlying impairment

2.Social, political, and cultural influences and expectations

3.Aspects of natural and built surroundings

4.Availability of assistive technology and devices

5.Family and community support and engagement

Disability inclusion in summary means understanding the relationship between the way people function and how they participate in society, and making sure everybody has the same opportunities to participate in every aspect of life to the best of their abilities and desires.

BY BONFACE KIREMA

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