Imagine yourself at school, and the teacher doesn’t let you take part in learning. Imagine being with the doctor and them not allowing you to describe how you feel. Imagine not being allowed to speak for yourself if you have to use the services of a lawyer.
Around the world individuals with disabilities find themselves excluded from education, health care and legal support every day. This may not be a conscious, systemic process of exclusion, but it might as well be – many small unconscious actions that undermine inclusion have the same impact as a policy of keeping individuals with disabilities out of the system.
One of the major keys to breaking the barriers of inclusion is the approach, engagement and sincerity with which professionals, such as those in education, health care and the legal system, approach and work with individuals with disabilities.
Outside of the family, it is these people who have the most significant role in shaping how the environment around someone with a disability is built.
The midwife who congratulates parents on their new child rather than filling them with uncertainty about what their future holds.
The doctor who focuses on the person rather than the medical challenges they have.
The teacher who understands that we all learn in different ways rather than scolding for not adhering to process.
As those we depend on to grow, develop and learn to live become more able to create an inclusive space for us all to live in, which reflects our needs, aspirations and ambitions rather than the assumptions, misconceptions and biases that too many of us hold, the closer we are to creating an inclusive world in which we can all thrive.