Ensuring Equity in Your Club Through Disability Inclusion

This guest post is by Kathryn King, MSRA, from Kids Included Together.

Kids Included Together (KIT) is honored to be a partner with BGCA to ensure equity for youth with disabilities and their families. Equity is often thought about in terms of race or ethnicity, but individuals with disabilities are also an underserved population. According to the World Health Organization, children with disabilities (of all races and ethnicities) are among the world’s most marginalized and excluded children. KIT works with Boys & Girls Clubs and other organizations to meaningfully include kids with disabilities through disability inclusion training, policy development and sharing our best practices information and research.

One of my favorite ways to introduce the concept of inclusion in training is with the graphic below, which shows the difference between inclusion, exclusion, segregation, and integration. Many times, this creates an “ah-ha” moment. I love those! An animated discussion usually follows, with participants recognizing that inclusion means going beyond access to provide the necessary individual accommodations and supports for meaningful participation.

KIT

You can ensure that your Club is truly inclusive by reflecting on your policies, practices and procedures to ensure that they welcome and support individual youth and families. Take a minute to compare your Club’s philosophy to the main points of disability inclusion below. Does your Club have:

  • A shared way of thinking where every youth has value and can contribute in a meaningful way.
  • A belief that every youth has the inherent right to contribute to his or her community.
  • An approach where individualized accommodations promote access to your programs.
  • A community where staff and families work together and are supported by resources and training.
  • A space where youth with and without disabilities acknowledge and value differences.

As a youth development professional who has seen first-hand the impact of Boys & Girls Clubs on the lives of all youth, I personally thank BGCA for being such a strong voice in the national conversation on disability inclusion for youth programs. If you would like to learn more about how your Club can creative a more inclusive environment for youth with disabilities, check out the new resources on www.BGCA.net/inclusion. If you would like to learn more about KIT and how we can partner with your Club, please go to our website, kit.org, or email me at Kathryn@kit.org.

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This is Sarah jumping in here at the end to make sure you know about all the amazing stuff that is available! BGCA and KIT have partnered to create a VERITABLE SMORGASBORD of really *practical* resources on inclusion. You can find them all on BGCA.net, and they include

You can also find a guide on Including Children with Autism in Afterschool Settings  from the Boston Children’s Museum.

Additionally, BGCA is putting on a series of webinars every Tuesday in October for Disability Inclusion Month. You can find out more here, and if you miss one, they will be uploaded to Spillett Leadership University at the end of the month.

Resources GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

SO. MANY. RESOURCES.
Bonus points if you clicked on the words “veritable smorgasbord” 🙂

 

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