Video produced by a network of Mexican museums and Wiki Learning Tec de Monterrey to promote accessibility to cultural institutions in Mexico.

Inclusion, in relation to persons with disabilities, is defined as including individuals with disabilities in everyday activities and ensuring they have access to resources and opportunities in ways that are similar to their non-disabled peers. Disability rights advocates define true inclusion as results-oriented, rather than focused merely on encouragement. To this end, communities, businesses, and other groups and organizations are considered inclusive if people with disabilities do not face barriers to participation and have equal access to opportunities and resources.[1][2]

Common barriers to full social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities include inaccessible physical environments and methods of public transportation, lack of assistive devices and technologies, non-adapted means of communication, gaps in service delivery. Discriminatory prejudice and stigma in society, and systems and policies that are either non-existent or that hinder the involvement of all people with a health condition in all areas of life.[3][4]

Inclusion advocates argue that one of the key barriers to inclusion is ultimately the medical model of disability, which supposes that a disability inherently reduces the individual's quality of life and aims to use medical intervention to diminish or correct the disability. Interventions focus on physical and/or mental therapies, medications, surgeries, and assistive devices. Inclusion advocates, who generally adhere to the social model of disability, allege that this approach is wrong and that those who have physical, sensory, intellectual, and/or developmental impairments have better outcomes if, instead, it is not assumed that they have a lower quality of life and they are not looked at as though they need to be "fixed."[5]


Inclusion is ultimately a multifaceted practice that involves a variety of approaches across cultures and settings. It is an approach that seeks to ensure that people of differing abilities visibly and palpably belong to, are engaged in, and are actively connected to the goals and objectives of the wider society.

Universal design is one of the key concepts in and approaches to disability inclusion. It involves designing buildings, products, or environments in a way that secures accessibility and usability to the greatest extent possible.[6]


Disability mainstreaming is simultaneously a method, a policy, and a tool for achieving social inclusion. In short, it is a process that is centered on integrating formerly marginalized individuals into "mainstream" society. This is accomplished by making "the needs and experiences of persons with disabilities an integral part of the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of policies and programs in all political, economic, and societal spheres so that persons with disabilities benefit equally and so that inequality is not perpetuated."[9] In educational settings, it is the practice of placing students with special education services in a general education classroom during specific time periods based on their skills to enable a person with a disability to take part in a "mainstream" environment without added difficulty by creating inclusive settings.[10] For example, education initiatives such as IDEA or No Child Left Behind promote inclusive schooling or mainstreaming for children with disabilities, such as autism, so that they can participate in the community at large.

Inclusion in the U.S.

In the United States, federal laws that pertain to individuals with disabilities aim to create an inclusive environment by promoting mainstreaming, nondiscrimination, reasonable accommodations, and universal design. There are three key federal laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities and attempt to ensure their inclusion in many aspects of society.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects individuals from discrimination based on disability. The nondiscrimination requirements of the law apply to employers and organizations that receive financial assistance from federal departments or agencies.[6] It created and extended civil rights to people with disabilities and allows for reasonable accommodations, such as special study areas and assistance as necessary for each student.[11]

The United States Department of Justice published the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. It is a civil rights law that protects the civil liberties of individuals with disabilities. As it pertains to universal design, the ADA requires covered employers and organizations to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations.[12] The ADA guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in several areas: Employment; Public accommodations (such as restaurants, hotels, libraries, private schools, etc.); Transportation; State and local government services; Telecommunications (such as telephones, televisions, and computers).

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was published in 2010, touches on disability inclusion in that it designates disability status as a demographic category and mandates data collection to assess health disparities.[6]

While laws have been created to ensure physical access, such as mandatory wheelchair ramps, the disabled community still does not have a high rate of participation in cultural activities. Additionally, the attitudes and prejudices held by people without disabilities towards the disabled community remain a persistent issue.[13] To this end, when it comes to societal perceptions of individuals with disabilities, barriers to inclusion generally include other people's behaviors, misunderstandings, lack of awareness about disabilities, and even a lack of understanding about the functions performed by service animals. This is in addition to physical barriers already present, including transportation, level of lighting, or handicap accessible buildings and equipment.[14]

See also


  1. ^ CDC (2019-04-09). "Disability Inclusion | CDC". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  2. ^ "Disability Inclusion Overview". World Bank. Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  3. ^ CDC (2019-09-04). "Disability and Health Disability Barriers | CDC". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  4. ^ Fitzgerald, Hayley (2018), Brittain, Ian; Beacom, Aaron (eds.), "Disability and Barriers to Inclusion", The Palgrave Handbook of Paralympic Studies, London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, pp. 55–70, doi:10.1057/978-1-137-47901-3_4, ISBN 978-1-137-47901-3, retrieved 2021-03-07
  5. ^ Fisher, Pamela; Goodley, Dan (2007). "The linear medical model of disability: mothers of disabled babies resist with counter-narratives". Sociology of Health & Illness. 29 (1): 66–81. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9566.2007.00518.x. ISSN 1467-9566. PMID 17286706.
  6. ^ a b c "Disability and Health Inclusion Strategies |". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. 2020-09-15. Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  7. ^ "Ronald L. Mace on NC State University, College of Design". Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  8. ^ "The Goals and Benefits of Universal Design". Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  9. ^ "Disability Mainstreaming Policy" (PDF). Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. 2013. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2018-12-22. Retrieved 2022-06-23.
  10. ^ "Definition of mainstreaming". Encarta. 2011-05-25. Archived from the original on 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  11. ^ This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division document: A Guide to Disability Rights Laws. Information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act. July 2009.
  12. ^ "2010 ADA regulations". Retrieved 2021-03-08.
  13. ^ Ludwig, Erin (2012). "Stigma in the Arts: How Perceptual Barriers Influence Individuals' with Disabilities Participation in Arts Organizations". The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society. 42 (3): 141–151. doi:10.1080/10632921.2012.729498. ISSN 1063-2921. S2CID 145124615.
  14. ^ Hinton, Cynthia F.; Kraus, Lewis E.; Richards, T. Anne; Fox, Michael H.; Campbell, Vincent A. (December 2017). "The Guide to Community Preventive Services and Disability Inclusion". American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 53 (6): 898–903. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2017.06.025. PMC 5769691. PMID 28869093.

Further reading

This article includes a list of general references, but it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (September 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
This article may need to be rewritten to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. You can help. The talk page may contain suggestions. (May 2009)