- The World Bank defines social inclusion as the process of improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of people, disadvantaged on the basis of their identity, to take part in society.
- Globally, persons with disabilities have been recognized as one of the largest minority groups which have been vulnerable to neglect, deprivation, segregation and exclusion. After India’s independence, the Government of India has accepted its responsibility to this sizable marginalized group and has formulated various programmes for the welfare and rehabilitation of people with disabilities.
- People with disabilities face a wide range of barriers such as attitudinal, physical, and social that affects social inclusion.
- The attitudinal barrier such as negative attitude of society towards people with disabilities acts as a social stigma about disability. The society believes that disability in a person occurs due to past sin or karma and no one can change this situation as it is God’s punishment.
- The cumulative effects of these barriers is to marginalise people with disabilities from the mainstream of society and the economy. They experience disadvantage in many aspects of daily life compared with non-disabled people.
- Many of them feel isolated, unwanted and society may feel that they are a burden to society.Their families can also face negative attitudes, poverty and social exclusion.
- Marginalization is at the core of exclusion from fulfilling and leading full social lives at individual, interpersonal and societal levels. Evidently, marginalization has multiple bases in the social structure.
- The problems of groups with multiple disadvantages due to disability are understood though cross-cutting of gender dimension with other social factors like caste, ethnicity, religion, location, region etc. Both, disability and gender are physical constraints that totally ignore the person.
- They are the most marginalized and the most abused- physically, mentally and socially and for centuries, have been subjected to deliberate neglect, verbal abuse, physical assault and sexual harassment.
- Many children with disabilities in general usually lack the social skills necessary for peer interaction. They lack the basic communication skill which are important for relationship building.
- These skills are acquired through interactions with the primary social circle (family) and moving outward to other social circles such as relatives and peer groups.
- For people with disabilities, they are unable to utilize effective communication methods with the people around them which leads to a decrease in self-esteem and thereby affects their social inclusion.
- The language used by the well-meaning force people with disabilities to accept that they themselves are responsible for their condition.
- They are denied opportunities to get education, employment and establish meaningful relationship with others.
- Regarding physical barriers, it is difficult for many people with disabilities to find disability friendly surrounding environments. Commuters with disabilities are found to be highly vulnerable due to poor accessibility in infrastructure design of trains and railways station.
- Regarding government policy to address different needs of people with different disabilities, they do not take a group of people with different disabilities into account, consult or involve, while framing policy design delivery.
- Too often, people with disabilities feel that they are fighting a system which is fragmented, complex and bureaucratic and which does not put the needs of disabled people at the heart of improving their life chances and social inclusion.
- This political and legal process leads to isolation, marginalization of people with disabilities and results in social exclusion.
- The demand for social inclusion are, in fact, a protest against the oppression that society has been exercising. Removal of above said various barriers is the key to empowering people with disabilities and giving them the opportunity to exercise their responsibility as citizens.
- Tackling these barriers is not a matter of government alone but people with disabilities themselves, employers, health professionals, educators, local communities, and providers of goods and services, all have a key role in improving the life chances and adequate social
Inclusion for people with Disabilities.
- It must be carefully planned, provided with adequate resources and implemented with vision:
- 1. Sensitization/Awareness programmes for different stakeholders about different types of disabilities, their needs, their capabilities.
- 2. In service training for different stakeholders to increase the knowledge about disability, to develop skills while working with them and to change their attitude towards disability and people with disabilities.
- 3. Need to focus on strength, perspectives and abilities of people with disabilities and encourage them to empower themselves.
- 4. Need to make compulsory, course on disability and pedagogy of teaching for children having different types of disabilities to B.Ed and M.Ed teachers training curriculum.
- 5. The people with disabilities must have access to opportunities to contribute to the society supported by both specialist and mainstream policy.
- 6. People with disabilities’ needs should be actively incorporated early on within all mainstream policy design and delivery, alongside other citizens.
- 7. People with disabilities’ experience of government support and services needs to change. There is aneed to develop adequate dialogue between them.
- 8. Need to adopt universal design for barrier free and inclusion environment.