How to be inclusive everyday and 5 ways to empower others

Everyday, we are asked how to be more inclusive in school, the workplace, community, and online. We're so glad you asked. Let's get into it.

Icons in different colors: A parent and a child, a case user and a child, and a person using a motorized wheelchair.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has grown in popularity in the 21st century, but what does inclusion really mean, is it different from disability inclusion, and how does one be more inclusive? Perkins School for the Blind’s mission is to help children with disabilities find their place in the world and inclusion is how we accomplish this. 

There are 240 million children with disabilities worldwide and many of them are not in school. Many are also not included in their home or community life in a meaningful way. This creates a sense of deeper isolation for children and limits their opportunities to build the life they want. So what can be done? How can a person or community foster inclusion?

Let’s breakdown inclusion into steps: learning what inclusion means, four ways to embrace disability inclusion, and how to empower others to be inclusive. 

What is inclusion?

Inclusion is a mindset and a series of actions. When we talk about inclusion, we’re talking about disability inclusion and any other identities that intersect. After all, people are more than one thing and people with disabilities are more than their disability.

On a global scale, there are international treaties that promote human rights and, more specifically, rights of children and people with disabilities. Yet, treaties can only go so far without the support of the everyday person. We demand disability inclusion at every level, which includes: 

How to embrace disability inclusion

Perkins has been embracing inclusive practices around the world for almost 200 years. So, rather than describe what disability inclusion could look like, we’ll show you. Remember, the best way to be inclusive is to ask the child and listen to their needs.

How to be inclusive at home and family life

A young mother holds her smiling baby dressed in all pink.

Whether a child is born with a disability — or multiple — or experiences disability later in life, parents and caretakers often need to learn how to best support their child’s development. In other words, no one is born knowing how to be inclusive. It takes learning and accepting the mistakes made along the way. 

We offer a variety of workshops, webinars, courses, and training sessions specifically for parents, caretakers, and families of children with disabilities. Some examples include:

How to be inclusive in school and the workplace

School and work is a core part of human life no matter where one lives. For people with disabilities, accommodations are necessary for them to become full participants in life. But what if the world didn’t work retroactively and instead adopted inclusive practices from the start? 

Now, some examples in the education space:

Seven students sit in desks that are facing a student in a wheelchair with his teacher behind him. The student in the wheelchair is passing an item to a student in front of him.

How to be inclusive in community and social life

According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, promoting inclusion in the community and social life is just as important as other aspects of life. Perkins works with partners around the world to establish more inclusive spaces and we also share this knowledge on our website.

Why online inclusion and digital accessibility matters

With the internet fully embedded in our everyday life, it’s more important than ever to make the digital world accessible and include everyone in this space. According to WebAIM, a leader in web accessibility, approximately 95% homepages in 2024 were inaccessible. That means keyboard-only users, which includes many folks with disabilities, are excluded from most parts of the internet. 

How we empower others to be inclusive

Now that you’ve learned about inclusion at various levels, you might be thinking, “what’s next?” Here are some action steps you can take today to empower others to become more inclusive. 

Overall, disability inclusion makes life more fun for everyone! Follow Perkins on social media to experience more examples of inclusion daily.

A group photo of a family and friends posing and smiling while one man in the back holds a sign that read "Team Henry."
Stack of yearbooks; top yearbook has an image of an eagle with text, "Eagles"

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Graphic: Using the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk with Be my Eyes

Disability answer desk with Be My Eyes

Child is held by her mother in an outdoor setting. The child rest her hand and her head on her mother's shoulder. The photo is connected to the article about international disability rights.

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