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Living with disabilities: how can we become more inclusive?

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Life lived where I want it and how I want it should not be a privilege! Living alone, seeking employment or studying abroad are just a few universal dreams, which most young people strive to achieve. Yet many can’t, as they lack the support from their communities to live independently despite their disability.

What can we do more to be more inclusive with disabilities? How can we build an inclusive society in which we can all live together and have the same opportunities?

The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has selected some of its resources to provide young people like you with background information and insights linked to the topic above.

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The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has selected some of its resources to provide young people like you with background information and insights linked to the topic above.

EPthinktank.eu blogpost, December 2019

4 IDEAS

Lilly Earley
10 March 2021
I think that as well as assists like lifts, accessible bathrooms and ramps, we should make efforts to educate more people about disability. I think we all have an image where disability usually means a person in a wheelchair or with special needs, when it can also include things like deafness, blindness and chronic illnesses that will impact a person's life. I had heard a deaf woman explain it saying how she didnt see deafness as disabling because she can communicate with others but that other people not understanding, talking fast making it difficult for her to lip read, not knowing any sign language disabled her because the world is designed assuming everyone can hear. I think education would be a really good way to combat these problems. Having knowledge of different types of conditions people could be dealing with and how to accomodate those people could make people with disabilities feel more understood and accepted. People can also be afraid to speak up especially in the cases of unseen illneses where a person might not "look disabled" to others and can end up putting up with pain and not telling the people with them. More education would be a great way for us to stop stigmatizing and pitying these members of our communities, at the end of the day they will usually deal with there disability for a long time and understanding and acceptance is a lot more helpful.
I think an introduction to things like sign language in primary and the first part of secondary education could be really good. Also an introduction to common chronic illnesses and special needs, possibly in biology would really raise awareness and help people realize what people can go through without them knowing.
Selene Francesca Anna Drago
26 January 2021
People with disabilities are still relatively considered today; even though disease awareness campaigns have been launched in Europe and in my country (Italy).
We need to start in the schools where today there are not many specialized teachers for specific phatologies and they don't know the methods to teach disabled childrens. In addition, social integration paths could be include in schools among all children in order to grow a future population that is able to accept all membres.
We must help families through paths/aids that can facilitate daily life.
Construition of cities, houses, hotels able to facilitate daily life of disabled people and their familes, friends, caregivers.
This is a small part of an initial inclusion project because people with disabilities needs many other aids in order to achieve full social inclusion.

Last but not least, Europe needs to promote rare diseases research.
Volker
17 April 2020
I think, of course, infrastructure is essential for inclusion. But it also requires social commitment, which means being willing to change existing structures to include everyone.
It already starts in school. In my class, there were students with disabilities (Down syndrome, Asperger's and others). Together we learned to discover the world, each on their own way, each with their own view. It did not matter that some of us learned different things than others. It did not matter that one student had an extra tutor. It didn't matter because we grew up being different. And I think that's exactly what you should be learning in school.
Of course, this means more organization, special pedagogues or facilities in schools (washrooms and multifunctional rooms). But these must not only benefit pupils with disabilities; small rooms separated by a glass wall, for example, can be used by everyone. And teachers who jointly develop separate curricula for pupils with disabilities can also teach (depending on the number of pupils).
The support of children with disabilities and their social integration is laid down in the World Children's Rights Convention.

But inclusion should not stop after school! Here (if possible) we should not fall back on separate institutions, quite the opposite. We all have strengths, whether with or without disability. These are to be encouraged and used. However, there is often a lack of understanding of the potential enrichment that can be gained by employing people with disabilities in companies and the public sector.

I think inclusion is still in its very beginning. This does not mean that no progress has been made, but that more and more new opportunities are arising. In a Union, everyone must be able to participate, because only together can we solve the challenges of the future. That is why I believe that the EU must create various opportunities to make this possible:
-To enable the exchange of knowledge, there should be platforms on which regions of the EU can inform themselves about different models of inclusion or present their own.
-Inclusion in schools must not be dependent on the financial situation of the pupils as well as the state, especially here special support programmes should be designed to enable individual projects (building of special facilities) or the employment of teachers.
-There should be campaigns that aim to expand inclusion in businesses
-Research and training projects should be encouraged

These are my ideas.
Berton Gaëlle
12 March 2020
All building construction (apartments and houses) must be made to accomodate the disabled. Adapt sidewalks, supermarkets and make everyone aware of the issue starting at an early age in schools.