"The only disability is when people cannot see human potential.”
– Debra Ruh
Oxford Dictionary: The practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups.
Special Education Guide: Regarding individuals with disabilities and special education, inclusion secures opportunities for students with disabilities to learn alongside their non-disabled peers in general education classrooms.
What is Disability
"Disability is the umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions, referring to the negative aspects of the interaction between an individual (with a health condition) and that individual’s contextual factors (environmental and personal factors). Here we see a disability being construed as a restriction of an individual’s capacity to function and participate effectively in society because of varied contextual factors which can be social, environmental, economic, technological, or attitudinal. Disability, therefore, is a social construct and it requires actions from the society to correct the problems associated with disability."
Reference: Morris, F. 2021. Training manual for the meaningful inclusion of persons with disabilities.
UNESCO: Inclusive education is a child’s right, not a privilege. Inclusion promotes quality and equitable education for all, without exclusion, including those who may be potentially marginalized by learning needs or social positions. Inclusion highlights opportunities for an equal involvement of individuals with disabilities (physical, social, and emotional) when possible into typical education, but leaves accessible the probability of individual selections and possibilities for special aid and accommodations for persons who need it.
Inclusion: An Issue of Human Rights and Social Justice
Inclusive education, a human right, supports learners by providing equitable access and participation, while also recognizing and celebrating the strengths, contributions, and potential of all students. Inclusive education ensures that all learners feel valued, respected, and have a sense of belonging.
According to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), “persons with disabilities are more likely to be out of school or to leave school before completing primary or secondary education.” Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stipulates the importance of ensuring that all students have access to an inclusive, quality, and free education. Children with disabilities are often the most marginalized and excluded group, which highlights the importance of building inclusive systems in which educational policies, plans, and practices are designed to support access and meaningful participation; and where teachers are empowered agents of change.
Reference: UNESCO. 2016. Education 2030: Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4