in•clu•sion \in-ˈklü-zhən\ noun. 1) the belief that all kids can belong and participate 2) the act of making sure that no child sits on the sidelines.
There is a BIG difference!
The National Center on Health, Physical Disability, and Health has a blog that can be found here. They define the difference between "accessible" and "inclusive".
An inclusive environment, allows people with all type of disabilities to mobilize around the center as well as utilize the equipment and amenities inside of the center. An inclusive fitness facility would offer both classes and equipment that can be utilized by people with and without disabilities. A gym that has accessible or adaptable equipment but that isolates those machines in a corner of the gym is not an inclusive facility. A facility that teaches a separate class for people who use wheelchairs is not promoting an inclusive environment.
PBS has published an online article that explains why inclusion is important not only for the person with a different ability, but, in fact, for all in a community.
That article can be found here. Below is a few lines that are particularly powerful.
"Inclusive education is based on the simple idea that every child and family is valued equally and deserves the same opportunities and experiences. Inclusive education is about children with disabilities – whether the disability is mild or severe, hidden or obvious – participating in everyday activities, just like they would if their disability were not present." Citation here.
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