We asked our Easterseals families, staff and supporters to answer that question. We received hundreds of stories of amazing kindness, big moments and little gestures. We also received a lot of questions from the community. One of them being: How can we be more inclusive?
Inclusion is kindness.
Being friendly, generous and considerate of others is the most inclusive thing you can do. We can teach our children to be kind, think of others first and treat others with respect. Inclusion can be as easy as a knowing smile or reassuring comment to a parent. It is encouraging your child to ask someone on the sidelines to come play. It is as simple as saying hello.
Inclusion is honesty.
If you aren’t sure, ask! Some of the most empowering moments that we hear about from our Easterseals parents involve asking honest questions. Like how to accommodate a child with special needs at a birthday party or playdate. Having a coach ask how they can better instruct a child, or a neighbor ask how they can educate their own children on special needs.
Inclusion is a feeling.
A resounding answer we received from families and people with special needs is that inclusion is a feeling. Everyone knows if they are being truly included or not. A true feeling of inclusion is not just being invited into the room, it is about participating. It is about being celebrated, not accommodated.
Inclusion is brave.
At Easterseals, we empower our families every day through therapy and companionship. They take that feeling of empowerment out into the community and brave new situations every day. It is up to the community to respond bravely, embracing these families wherever they go and helping us to create a more inclusive world.