• 1.the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure

Inclusion is something we, at BOSS, teach people about often. Sometimes in a formal setting of a classroom in a corporate building and sometimes we teach by example out in the community as we support people with neurodiversity’s and disabilities. 

We always teach that inclusion is an ACTION – it is something that you DO. It is a way to SHOW UP in the world that explicitly presents an open and accepting attitude to other people regardless of how they show up, communicate, act or function. 

Often, people with brain differences and disabilities have alternative social presentations than what is considered “normal”. This is likely because people with differing brains communicate differently. Advocacy is the tool used to educate people on different communication and social presentation styles and processes. Often, one of the big myths we have to dispel is that if a person is non-speaking it does NOT mean they are non-thinking. 

It’s ok to talk to a person who is non-speaking or uses a different type of tool (letterboard, keyboard, iPad, text-to-voice on their phone or written language with pen/pencil). Really, it’s ok to talk right to them they way you would talk to their support person. A lot of people have never experienced a non-speaking person use an iPad to communicate so this type of education and advocacy is fundamental.

Inclusion is an action.

But inclusion is also a PRACTICE. We have to continue to commit to education, learning new things about each other and sharpening our skills to communicate with all people in our communities. Inclusion is a practice that REQUIRES listening to self advocates and creating empowered environments where self-advocacy IS the norm – not the fight in the background for a voice and a place.

Inclusion must be a practice if we are to move it beyond tokenism and just another word we throw around because it’s trendy. Inclusion is trendy, trust me, it’s the coolest, trendiest thing you can do but, it takes engagement, curious questions and work.

In this month of June, we celebrate with our fellow humans who identify as 2SLGBTQ+ . We raise our voices for diversity, inclusion and equity in environments in and around our community.

Our vision and mission are to stand for these ideals and philosophies that include, celebrate and promote healthy relationships. More than that we aim to make inclusion and further, belonging, a daily practice. Inclusion and belonging as a practice unify us in both our triumphs and mistakes. When we make a mistake (which we are all bound to do) we have an open and well resourced community to talk about it, make change and surge forward.

Let’s surge forward into inclusion and belonging together – one day at a time – for as long as we are here to do so.

Onward in Love:

Kim and the BOSS team.