What is Inclusion?

The Accept Difference campaign promotes inclusion of people with disability in our community on the NSW Mid North Coast.

But what is inclusion? Inclusion is an attitude. A belief that all activities that make up our day-to-day modern lives should be available to anyone, no matter what their needs might be.

An inclusive mindset ACCEPTS that this might mean having to find solutions to meet the needs of others in all situations: business, education and community services.


Quick Check – Do you have an inclusive attitude?

Take a moment to check your attitude by answering this question.


Community Vision – Have your say!

Inclusion is hard to define because everyone has different needs. To try to put our finger on what an inclusive Mid North Coast might look like, feel like and what the benefits are, we want to hear from you.

If you live with disability, please tell us what you need from the community to live a life that meets your aspirations.

If you don’t live with disability, please share with us how you have been able to meet the needs of people with disability and how you have benefited from these interactions.

Become a part of the Accept Difference conversation. Help us develop a community vision for the Mid North Coast that is compassionate and believes in equality for people and families with disability. All comments will be mediated by Accept Difference to ensure a safe and respectful platform.


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27 thoughts on “What is Inclusion?”

  1. Hola, es un gusto saber que cada día hay más personas que se preocupan por las personas que somos diferentes tengo un hijo de 7 años con Asperger y es difícil para la familia no directa aceptarlo, pero dentro de la nuestra es como cualquier miembro de ella, nos cambio la vida para bien, somos mejores personas , más sencibles y humanos, me gustaría tener un lugar cercano a mi comunidad para llevarlo a rehabilitación.

  2. My boyfriend has bipolar and ptsd. He has trouble with mood swings, and when he flips a switch, what he says isn’t always what he truly means. The hardest part for him is getting people of the community, and sometimes me, that. I myself have generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety. Some days, I’m terrified of going out, or even picking up the phone. It’s almost turned me into a hermit, but the community doesn’t understand or doesn’t care, so my daily task is putting on a brave face and “checking over my shoulder” every few minutes. I’ve undergone so many labels such as being paranoid, antisocial, etc. When all I am is afraid.

  3. My grandson has autism, and is mainstreamed in school….which means he is in the classroom. However, the other students are not educated as to what autism is, how this affects a person, how to include an autistic person, how to be kind. The children need to be able to ask honest questions about autism. To me, “inclusion” does not need mean “presence”.

  4. I have a 13 year old son with ADHD and autism and getting him to go school is impossible and when he as a bad day its really bad, sometimes he can be violent.

  5. I have a son who has a hearing loss, and wears a hearing aid. I want him to be able to access the same facilities that hearing people do. He’s going to a mainstream school next year, with the help of an FM system for the teach to wear.

  6. I have had mental illness in my life for years and years and now I am recovered.
    It doesnt seem to matter if you are ill or not, people shy away from you, dont invite you to their functions and I think that should be where the change happens.
    Inviting people to do things is a way to open up an invitiation to be part of community life. Its an important one.
    If you know what their interests are, what they did at uni, why not invite them to be part of your project if you know it is their interest area.
    I am really dissappointed at the lack of invitiations I have had from my uni cohort since graduating. They all knew I was a dedicated interested student who did well, but not one invite to work on a project ever. thats so sad. We need to change.

  7. awareness about disability
    Namaskar

    I am writing this letter to bring to your kind notice to the deplorable
    state of our community w.r.t disability. Despite our society being
    inclusive (atleast) on paper most cities and towns in our country are
    not barrier free, whether the barrier is the attitude or the mindset
    of the people or it is the physical infrastructure and public
    services. Unavailability of lifts, ramps make it impossible to access
    most places in the city. Even for a small errand we have to depend
    upon others not because we can do it but because the environment is
    not equipped to include us.

    We too are the citizens of this country and it is our right to
    exercise our rights as much as any body else.

    I would request you to look into this matter and make lives of
    thousands of affected people a better experience.

    I love to work and act. I love to watch movies and tv shows, especially
    those ok to opportunity fails to make my dreams come true. I would be
    very grateful if you could help in some way or the other.

    Why the world is different from me?
    A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths;
    feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but
    frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your
    possibilities
    When will we learn, we have bus stops with ramps on either side of the shelter, but no way to get onto the pavement. A metro service where lifts are more unreliable. Is this what the govt is calling disabled friendly city?
    Waiting for a positive response.

    Thanking you
    Yours Faithfully
    I have a shop in nehru place of computer hardware

    Manish Gupta INDIA(DELHI)

    Disability is beautiful !!!!
    I’m proud to be called a disable..flying the way i want too

  8. What I need from the community is for there to be social clubs that mixes adults and kids with disabilities and adults and kids that don’t have any disability at all and that there needs to be inclusion where people with disabilities need to be included since I have a disability called Autism that I live with every day and when I go to social groups where I don’t fit in like for example a social group where I’m the only one that has Autism and the rest of the members of this social group I’m in don’t have a disability at all where then I end up being isolated and ignored in that group due to the other members in that group that already know each other and don’t want to make me feel welcome and included in their group due to the fact that I’m different from the rest of them which really hurts my feelings when I feel that I want to be included and accepted in any social group I choose to attend and for the other members that don’t have a disability at all and I’m the only one that does in the group where I also feel that other adults with disabilities should be included in this social group I choose to attend with the other members that don’t have a disability at all since when I’m isolated and alone in that social group, I’m very shy and have trouble having the courage to open up myself to socialize with the other members in that social group as that has been a problem for me for many many years as I’m hoping to have this changed so that adults with disabilities of all kinds and adults without a disability at all can be united as one as this also applies to kids as well with and without a disability at all.

  9. I completely support and promote equality for all human beings regardless of the gifts they are born with. Especially the right of people of all ages who may have additional needs, to experience compassion, love and acceptance within their communities. There has been so much conditioning over the years of how we are to perceive the ‘norms’ of society . I think we are seeing the winds of change through how our children are being educated to accept and value diversity and difference…it’s beautiful, and has to reverse the ignorance of the past.

    I would love to hear more of Jennie’s thoughts on how ‘society is organised’ that leads to discrimination, from her statement in the recent report in the Advocate.

  10. I have been lucky enough to work with people in the area who are using disability services and are artists, so anything I do that encourages these artists to be true to their art benefits not just me the viewer but the whole community. Many artists from this area excel at what they do yet are not often given a platform to develop their skills, or if they are it can be as little as 1 or 2 days a week- for an artist that is not much time. I have learnt so many ways to communicate through working with people who do not always communicate in the same way as I would usually do. I have learnt to be more patient, and now better understand behaviours that I have been challenged by because I didn’t comprehend them, this contributes also to my sense of self, my social world and my sense of community. I find that communities that are diverse, who celebrate and respect difference are so much more life affirming than homogeneous groupings. Artists with disabilities, particularly those with learning and behaviour differences, have expanded my perspective, and to me that is essential to my own quality of life.

  11. We need to see that everyone is different. We all have different needs and some of us need helping hands, it’s not all about drugs to calm you down. It’s about understanding especially with children along with the child that might have problems that they don’t understand. There are a lot of carers, parents, guardians out there that need help with understanding the childs needs

  12. Inclusion is all about celebrating and accepting the difference, understanding that these people are no lesser and in many ways more unique!

  13. My youngest is 2 years old and is behind on his speech by over a year I myself do not know if I have disability but would explain quite a few things from when I was younger. I know many people that have autistic children or are and everyone has basic needs that should never be ignored.

  14. I have a disability and auto immune disease, a spinal condition and the need to have a total knee replacement. However, thankfully I am still able to work in the community setting I work in. I know this will probably sound silly but my conditions have actually given me more of an awareness of what some people go through when they have an intellectual or physical issue. I also see the number of young people in our community that live with some kind of disability and I know from raising my own granddaughter that giving people a chance to broaden their horizons, not keeping them wrapped up in cotton wool gives them an opportunity to grow. I carry my thoughts on disability with me wherever I go and am sad to see that sometimes people in wheelchairs or on crutches or on walking sticks are not even looked at by people passing they are treated as though they do not exist. Other issues are that people with disabilities despite Discrimination Laws are passed by for jobs. I have been lucky and am still employed but I do remember when I was in a wheelchair and I had someone steering me even they did not understand what it was like if they were not watching where they were going, at one time one of my friends rammed the front wheels of the wheelchair into the exposed roots of a massive tree planted on a footpath, I nearly fell out; all of these issues can be very scarey. I know that some people treat those living with a physical disability as though they cant think and their brains have shut down. It happened to me but I am far from that scene, I am working full time, mobile on a cane and take care of my 21 year old granddaughter who has an intellectual handicap. I have watched her blossom because of the conversations we have and the interactive programs I have her in. I am reading a book on brain plasticity and I truly believe if you treat a person living with an intellectual issue as a person without one you will get results, they may not turn out to be academics but you can still stimulate interest and provide opportunities for them.

  15. Amazing job!
    I wish to help people to understand what is inclusive behavior and how to accept the difference. Thank you for teaching me.
    I hope I can help.

  16. Everyone no matter what has the right to be loved and to live a life in its full. Being truly and honestly kind to people around you ( with or without disability) is the greatest gift you can give to them and to yourself. Making this world a better place. Accept that everyone has its own route and do the best to make it a worth remembering one!

    As a dance teacher I had two occasions of students with different learning disabilities. I needed to take the time to understand how they feel. To really understand. To talk and connect with them. To become their friend, someone they can trust. Someone they can learn from no matter what everyone else says or believes. And they did, they danced and enjoyed moving and they still do. That’s for me the biggest reward.

  17. Inclusion is not just about being present in the same place. Inclusion is about having the opportunities to succeed in your goals, with reasonable adjustments, regardless of disability or additional learning need. Everyone is capable of succeeding, it is how we support the process that is vital for inclusion.

  18. Hi

    I’m hearing impaired , have hydrocephalus, seizures disorders
    I work full time I’m self depended

  19. God bless you..i have a son with learning disabilities and strange behavior. Thank you for your moral support

  20. I believe that each of us has his own individual abilities and need to be encouraged and motivated to do his best. Being in understandable is the key to inspire others.

  21. I am an adult, 25, on the Spectrum and been living on the spectrum for the whole sum of my life. Unlike the inclusive attitude of today, I grew up in an era and a time where Autism was nowhere near well known. So I never got the assistance that I needed as a kid. With that I find, that no one talks about young adults with autism, or that no one advocates for adults on the spectrum. I am now in therapy, but I will never get the social integration that I needed on early on when I was a kid to help me cope with my Autism. Thus, I ask for more inclusion and services and more discussion about adults on the spectrum. Children on the Spectrum become Adults with the Spectrum and it be nice to see an organization or programs that recognized this.

  22. I live in india and here, people become very narrow minded when things comes to girls. Sometimes girls are restricted to wear their favorite dresses, not allowed to go out and many more things like this.
    They never thought about a girl’s dream, what she want to be.
    And also sometimes parents compare their girl child with others.
    This kinda behavior broke them.

  23. Acceptance is the key issue. Fortunately my parents moved to Forster in the 70’s so I was able to live a normal life with minimal impact by people staring at my deformity unlike during my school life growing up in Sydney. As a community we need to support integration of people with disabilities and offer respite where we can. we need to encourage people with disabilities to be part of everyday activities and support them in doing so.

  24. Inclusion is an attitude! The more you connect with people with disabilities, the more you learn the things YOU can change to remove the barriers faced by people with a disability.

  25. Inclusion is being supportive, adaptive and understanding that difference is one of the fundamentals of humanity.

  26. I totally agree that all children learn best by having opportunities to interact with their peers

  27. I have a son with a disability and have seen the need to be an advocate and a voice for him to ensure he is included in every day life. Being included in all aspects of life is a basic right that not all see as a given for someone with a disability. One of the prime things we have used for our son is writing down our vision of what our hope and aspirations are for his life to be. This enables people to see that we are aiming for the ordinary things of life for our son but we need help from the community to achieve those goals for a good life. By community I mean school, health and socially. As a result we have been able to fully immerse our son in the richest learning of all – peers of his own age in ordinary life activities.