Inclusion means citizenship

As human beings we are wonderfully diverse and creative – capable of so much love and self-sacrifice. Yet, so easily, we can be divided, abusive or even worse. Prejudice, fear and poverty push so many people to the edges of our community: disabled people, refugees, those who are oppressed because of their race, sexuality or beliefs are marginalised and disconnected from each other. Even those who seem to have the power or the money seem to be living lives that are so shallow: cut off from their neighbours, not involved in their communities and detached from a democratic systems that seem farcically removed from real life.

Often we have confronted these challenges with a call to civil rights, demanding the inclusion of the excluded and calling on the principles of justice. This is right, but insufficient. The changes we need are just about inclusion in the mainstream, they also demand the transformation of the mainstream. We don’t want people to just fit into society; we want to live in the kind of welcoming communities where everyone already fits, where gifts are valued, where contribution is expected and supported.

The ideal of inclusion offers us one way of thinking about the kinds of communities we need. But for inclusion to be real then the people in those communities, all of us, need to act differently. We need to be different people – or perhaps better – we need to learn how to act differently. Communities are just another word for us.

Traditions of thought and religion around the world vary and there are different words to describe how we should live together in community. But in the Western tradition one word stands out above all the others – citizenship.

Being a true citizen has nothing to do with having a passport; it means living your life as if you are a member of the community and as if you share in the responsibility for ensuring that others are welcomed into it. As John O’Brien puts it:

Citizens are people who can say “I belong to this place and it’s people and I am willing to act from responsibility for my belonging.” (Citizenship and Person-Centred Work p. 110)

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HOW IS INCLUSION FACILITATION (IF) WORK DIFFERENT FROM TYPICAL SERVICE APPROACHES?We specialise in autism in mainstream schools, inclusion of students with disabilities, education psychology, autism education, community building and training on inclusion.

Derek Wilson 

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT? – It is fundamentally important that we are clear about how the IF approach to support and planning differs from our more usual approaches. Making this distinction is not totally straightforward despite the fact that IF is a very different way of working with young people. A very large part of the challenge here has to do with moving from a needs or deficit model of disability to a human rights focussed and person centred model of disability. A perceived failure to make this shift is what was behind the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) Committee’s strong criticisms, in August 2017, of the lack of progress being made towards greater inclusion within UK educational settings. This particular observation relates to Article 24 of the Convention that sees access to inclusive education as one of the supporting pillars of a good life for disabled people.

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PEPs improved for Looked After Children (LAC) in Suffolk

Looked After Children in Suffolk – a radically Person Centred approach to PEP meetings – 2 days of training led by Colin Newton – @IncSols and Rachel Wilson of Schools Choice.

Great engagement and passion around this work was striking. PATH was particularly welcomed by those working with Asylum seeking children as such a visual approach.

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Colin Newton

0115 955 6045

Doug and Maggie

01473 437590

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