Last week I attended an engaging seminar on the topics of inclusion and belonging taught by Al Condeluci, a professor, CEO of a provider agency, and world-renowned speaker. We learned about the concept of social capital, which is defined as the value of the relationships in our lives. Social capital is integral for people to feel included and like they belong to a community or network.
Human beings are innately social creatures, but stigma of disabilities can often leave individuals feeling isolated and alone. In fact, people with disabilities are at a higher risk of being socially isolated. Most people believe the problem is with the individual who is different, but it really is with society who does not accept people because of their individuality. The key to combat this segregation is to identify similarities that people can bond over instead of focusing on the differences.
Communities are formed around a common interest, whether it is video games, books, or religion. Everyone has interests and working with an individual to identify what their interests are is the easiest way to get them involved in a community. We can all work to create more inclusive communities by promoting similarities, being open to diversity, being welcoming and accepting of new people, and finding meaningful ways to engage.
- Building relationships is vital for inclusion and belonging
- Focus on finding similarities and using them to create relationships
- Valued relationships can transform a life and increase overall happiness and health
Mr. Condeluci’s seminar highlighted productive ways to change the way we work and encourage more person-centered processes. It is inspiring to see the passion and excitement of the other attendees who were already discussing ways to integrate what they’d learned into their work. Creating valued relationships is key to promoting successful inclusion and integration into the community for individuals with disabilities.
This educational seminar is part of the self-direction series presented by Starbridge, one of our MediSked Connect clients. Starbridge is an incredible provider organization that is uniquely positioned to facilitate education, community living, employment, and community inclusion for people with disabilities. They are hosting more self-direction events throughout the fall. Check out their website for more information.