Friday, 17 May 2013

Inclusion. A definition

As I mentioned in my welcome post, I hope to share some of the transition journey as my daughter moves from her local primary school into mainstream secondary.  To put that into context, I thought it would be worth looking at my concept of inclusion that underpins it .

The Oxford English Dictionary definition of inclusion is “the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure”.  I interpret this as a state of being rather than one of transition.  So when talking about inclusion, I start with the premise that we are all born “in”. 

There are lots of barriers and situations that pull against that premise and I’m sure we can all think of  groups, individuals and, even at times, ourselves who have been excluded.  Inclusion must therefore also involve overcoming and removing these barriers.  Within Scotland , there is plenty of legislation, guidance, organisations and good practice in place trying to achieve just that.  For young people within education these include GIFREC , guidance from Education Scotland and  the use of coordinated support plans.  The aim is to give everyone the same opportunities and experiences but specifically does not mean it’s delivered in the same way to all.

So inclusion means being “in” but but what does this mean in practical terms?  I have found John O’Brien’s “Five Service Accomplishments” are really useful way to both describe and measure  success in maintaining inclusion.  These were created to measure the success of a service and are based on the things people said contributed most to a good quality of life but I see them as an intertwined set of rights and responsibilities.  They are:

  • ·         Share ordinary places with others
  • ·         Make real and meaningful choices
  • ·         Grow and develop relationships
  • ·         Been seen as having a valued social role
  • ·         Develop skills and abilities

I use these headings (more subconsciously now) to help formulate and articulate ideas and actions to support my daughter. 

I would appreciate your thought, ideas and experiences of what inclusion means and invite you to comment below.


  1. Hi Sonia, the thought processes and emotions behind this post very much resonate with me and my own ideas around being part of a group or community and being seen, heard and valued within the wider community and our society.. I wanted to share that I feel very touched when reading your posts about parts of your journey and experiences together with E.. In the last year I have had the opportunity, pleasure and honour to be part of a pilot project involving therapy with adults with cerebral palsy as well as facilitating a parent support group of parents of children with cerebral palsy. I have been searching for ways to put more people in touch with each other to share experiences and learn from them and each other, and more particularly to allow for people of different ages to have the opportunity to receive and give empathy. Currently there is a real drive from some of the adults that I have met to connect, possibly meet up and share experiences with each other. I would love to hear from you Sonia how I might best perhaps put some of them in touch with you. filip

    1. Filip,
      Thank you firstly for your feedback. It is great to know that this view of inclusion is shared.

      Getting contact with your adult group would be great and I would be really keen to share things with them. I'll try and contact you direct to discuss it further as I have a few ideas that we could run with.

      In the meantime, if any of your group would like to share an experience, I would love to feature it on teh blog.