Human abilities are immeasurable, physically and mentally dependent, diverse, dynamic and transient. Abilities are certainly different for each individual, learnable, developmental, and adaptable too. But one thing is sure: all human beings possess abilities.
For all of us, realizing abilities and making the right choice with our skills and abilities is a must. For some of us, even if we make the choice, it becomes a slog when our physique, psyche and the surroundings don’t sync with each other. The melee to expose our abilities become more and more alive as we ourselves, our friends, peers, employers, policy makers and institutions don’t understand this difference and the people who experience this difference.The people in discussion here are none other than the people face visual, auditory, motor related, neurological, cognitive and aging challenges. They are not disabled as we know them as now, but they are abled through different senses and sensory perceptions. They achieve their goals just like us but using different tools and techniques. They become thinkers, innovators and even leaders to travel along with us in the same journey. It is in this context where the introduction of Inclusivity makes much more sensible. Many of us strive to make some difference in the lives of people with different abilities, to get them into the mainstream life. This is only a tiny part of the paradigm called Inclusivity. Inclusivity starts when we understand the difference and the people who are facing it. next is to accept and acknowledge the presence of people who are differently abled as already the part of the existing society, the existing social norms, the learning systems, knowledge acquisition, economical, political framework, nation, world and the universe. It is this understanding, acceptance and involvement in our innovations, thoughts, ideas, social constructions and paradigm shifts that constitute inclusivity.
An environment is inclusive when it is conceived of and constructed with everyone in mind. A ramp enabled stairs, broader side walks and pavements, unsteep steps and proper maps are examples in creating an accessible and inclusive environment.
A building is inclusive when it is designed with people across abilities as the user base. When a four wheeler gets a ramp enabled driveway, for it cannot obviously climb up or down a parking lot, human beings — Senior citizens, people with vision impairment, hearing impairment, people with neurological and mobility disorders — deserve much more than that to navigate these constructions. Railings for staircases, talking elevators and signage, Braille signage and floor guides are some of the things which could be adapted during design and construction of bigger places like offices, government buildings and malls.
An organization is inclusive when it creates its workforce with diverse skilled pool. When the leaders understand and appreciate the merits of differently abled people and encourage with the adequate assistive and accessible tools and environment, this pool of differently abled human resources bring much more vigor, agility, productivity, diverse experience and optimism to the business and the organization on the whole.
When a technology is conceptualized from its inception itself with enabling abilities and independence across all sections of the world, then it too is inclusive. Designing with intuitive accessible features, built-in assistive technology like screen readers and magnifiers and easy to operate user interface are some of the few considerations that constitute inclusive technological solutions and innovations.
Social inclusivity comes when the social integration happens at a seamless pace. When we all empathize and take it as a challenge to educate, provide support, and empower people with different challenges to be independent, the society will acquire the balance which is missing for a long time. We have thinkers like Hellen Keller and musicians like Beethoven who have become part of history and our social talks long since. We have to be inspired the way a teacher found out ways to educate Hellen Keller who was hearing, speech and vision impaired. This proves everything is possible if we give our tiny contributions towards building an inclusive society.
Abilities, sufferings and happiness are much the same for everyone because of their dynamism, temperamental nature and short life. Maybe, their ingredients are different; containers are different; makings are different; insolvents are different. This is the reason one reminisces Carter Chamber’s words in the movie ‘Bucket List’: “…You are not everyone, but everyone is everyone.” So if we try to find solutions and work-arounds, innovations and ideas for everyone, we would also be the beneficiaries in our life, business and in all pragmatic senses. Let us vow to forge a collective construction of inclusive universe where we echo “Everyone is everyone”.