To mark National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (DDAM), JJ’s List joined Down Syndrome International’s inclusion campaign, a global conversation to empower people around the world to advocate for the full inclusion of all people with disabilities in their communities.
We asked several individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities what being included means to them personally. Below is what they had to say:
John: “…when a group or organization makes someone with a disability feel welcome without making a big deal. They also treat the induvial like anyone else.”
Carrie: “…Including and accepting differences; being treated equally.”
Molly: “… having access to the same spaces as people without disabilities.”
Pam: “…getting invited to join in activities with my brothers & sisters, cousins, and friends, and when I’m doing special rec. And when I get invited to parties.”
Henry: “…working in the community; when customers at work ask for me when I’m working in a different department.”
Alex: “…watching Villanova basketball with my dad and knowing a player on the girls’ team.”
Jimmy: “…coming to Ignite. It is nice at Ignite. We get to do different things. Inclusion also means working in the community. It makes me feel good to make money. I can buy things on my own. I also feel included when my co-workers and I work together to help each other out.”
Alana: “…I am able to work, participate in different activities in my community, and study at Madison College. Inclusion means I contribute to the world around me; I talk to neighbors; I am able to take public transportation. Inclusion means being comfortable when I am interacting with people and accepted for who I am.”
Adrian: “…I am able to join people with and without disabilities in the world around me. I’m able to be myself and not be too afraid of the judgment of others. I’m able to be with people who want me around. I’m able to go to stores, concerts, the gym, etc., and not be afraid that people will try to offend me. Inclusion means doing things I want to do.”
Becky: “…being with family and friends and doing a lot of activities; being with people that are trustworthy and have faith in me and what I am able to do; working and being proud of it; having interesting conversations with people to learn about new things.”
John V: “…working and interacting with customers; treating them respectfully and being treated the same by them; having people buy my art. Inclusion means being part of Ignite and deciding where we go on our outings. Ignite is fun!”
Katy: “…being part of the community; going to places by myself; showing people that I can do things on my own; talking to different people; letting them know about my disability; getting a job; people talking directly to me; having lots of friends in the community and my neighborhood; having my art shown in the community; knowing that my art is in someone else’s home; meeting new people and having conversations with them.
Inclusion means being part of Ignite because, to me, it is a family.
Being part of the community means so much to me.
What does inclusion mean to you?