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AccessAbility Week 2018

    I had the privilege of being invited as a guest of Inclusion BC to see Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Shane Simpson, declare AccessAbility Week at the Legislature in Victoria earlier this week. I felt very humbled to be among such long-serving disability advocates and completely re-invigorated to keep up the work of our group.

    There are some good things afoot in our province.

    From the BC Government website:

    “Government has a vision to make BC a truly inclusive province by 2024. This vision is designed around 12 building blocks. They reflect what was heard from British Columbians during the province-wide disability consultation.

    Being truly inclusive means:

    • Providing people of all abilities with the opportunity to fully participate in their communities
    • Challenging our attitudes and beliefs about disabilities
    • Recognizing the value and contributions that people with disabilities make to our workplaces, communities and economy

    Approximately 15 per cent of British Columbians over 15 years old self-identify as having a disability. Our goal is to prevent and remove barriers so everyone can participate and feel included. This way, B.C. will be a better place to live, work and visit for everyone.”

    Read more about what the BC government is doing

    Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, Inclusion International and Inclusion Europe have been holding a conference over the last few days in the UK, and I have been following with interest on Twitter. From their website, “The event brings together self-advocates, families, and professionals to:

    • learn and share experiences from around the world about issues and challenges faced by people with intellectual disabilities and their families as well as strategies that have been successful in achieving change
    • inspire and be inspired by successes and innovations for inclusive practices
    • lead the way as a global movement in promoting inclusive communities.

    Twelve years ago, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted. In 2015, the world adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. Now, we are closer than ever to achieving our vision of inclusive communities worldwide.”

    The tweets I have been reading show how powerful it can be when self-advocates and allies get together. I would love to attend one day!

    Families in our group aim to teach our children to be self-advocates as an important life skill, and I personally learn every day by following self-advocates on social media.

    I wanted to share the Calls To Action that came out of this conference because they are so important, and they apply to all persons with disabilities and diverse learners. And because it’s National Accessibility Week, and access is for everyone.

    Being a part of the community

    Being valued equally

    Meaningful employment

    Inclusive Education

    Closing Institutions

    Those are some strong pillars to have as foundations for a movement!

    I know that our members are very much a part of this movement. We would expand the Inclusive Education call to action to include all children with complex learning needs, and education advocacy is our group’s main focus, but all of the above Calls to Action impact and matter to our member families.

    I’ll end this post, and celebrate National Accessibility Week, with one more tweet:

    Why speak out?


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