CAC staff recently participated in Inclusion Training presented by the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (CCBDD).
Leading by example, the presentation was hosted by Stephanie, a CCBDD employee, and Sean, a participant from their Good Life Ambassador program. Together, they walked us through a lot of information, but here were some of the highlights:
- In the U.S. 54 million people have a disability, of which, 16.1 million people have limitations on cognitive function or mental illness that impacts their daily lives.
- The ADA didn’t become law until 1990, well within our lifetimes. Prior to it being enacted, it was legal to deny transportation, education and employment to individuals with disabilities. It also ensures that public spaces, including building entries, restrooms and sidewalks, are wheel chair accessible.
- Using People First language is the most respectful way to address a person’s ability by putting the individual before the diagnosis (i.e. “those that are homeless,” “individuals with mental illness,” and “accessible entries”).
Perhaps the most important reminder of the day was patience. Listen and learn about individuals you might perceive as different from you. And take the time to include them in your work in a real and meaningful way.
Including individuals with disabilities on your committees and in your programming can expand your reach, doesn’t have to require additional resources, and shouldn’t be viewed as separate from your core work.
CAC staff found the training to be valuable, and we encourage all of our interested Cultural Partners to take part. The training is free and available to any organization in the County. You just need to contact Ashley Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 216.736.2722. If you are interested in learning more about ways to create a more inclusive organization, reach out to Ashley!
Here are a couple of other resources that might be of interest.