When we think about community and what it really means to us to be part of one, we will all have a different perception of how this looks, as it relates to our individual preferences and needs.
The consistent thread is the need for a sense of belonging, connection, and inclusion. As we move through life, we seek connection to family, relationships, cultural, social and recreational groups, etc. This connection and sharing of knowledge and resources fosters a sense of acceptance, inclusion and self-confidence.
We need to be part of a community so we can broaden our exposure to a wide range of people, places, and experiences, which enrich quality of life and experience. The more diverse our experiences and engagements in our community become, the more opportunity there is to express ourselves and practice our abilities in many ways and forms. For people with disability, this may need to be supported to ensure understanding of the person, rather than a focus on the disability and what may not be possible.
When meeting new people within a community there is such learning and enrichment potential, yet we sometimes focus on how we differ, rather than what we can build on from our things in common. For people with disability, there can be an unconscious focus on obvious differences and inabilities. As for anyone, the best way to embrace people with disability is to see the person, their perspective and views and invite them to share their experiences and achievements – seeking things in common. By being open to and embracing all members of our community we have the greatest potential for genuine acceptance and belonging through open access and meaningful inclusion.
If you’d like to learn how to be part of our community and embrace disabilities, please speak