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What We Mean When We Talk About Inclusion

Resource Guide

Inclusion means that all people, regardless of their abilities, disabilities, or health care needs, have the right to:

Inclusion applies to all parts of life

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 mandates that people with disabilities have freedom, equality, and opportunity to participate fully in public life.


People with disabilities may need support to participate fully in their communities. This support can range from alterations (called "accommodations") to make a space accessible for a person with physical or sensory limitations, to training for teachers so they can teach students of all abilities and talents, to assistance from counselors and friends to succeed in a job or a recreational activity. Support should respect the wants, needs, and choices of the person with a disability.

Support can be provided to...

...To ensure meaningful participation in school, work, and social community.

Inclusion is not...

  • clustering people with disabilities into one home, classroom, workplace, or social center
  • giving "special privileges" to people with disabilities
  • feeling sorry for people with disabilities
  • Inclusion can look like...

    No one is "too disabled" to be part of their community.

    Institute for Community Inclusion UMass Boston - 100 Morrissey Boulevard - Boston, Massachusetts 02125
    Children's Hospital - 300 Longwood Avenue - Boston, Massachusetts 02115
    617.287.4300 - 617.287.4350 (TTY) - 617.287.4352 (fax) - ici@umb.edu

    ICI: promoting inclusion for people with disabilities