What does it mean to be a disability ally? By practicing includas and becoming an Includas Ally! The word includas means: to be inclusive in diverse ways. That’s how you can become an Includas Ally (INCLUDAS is the company name and includas is the word). Anyone can become a disability ally, whether you have or don’t have a disability. It’s important to support and include one another. We raise awareness by teaching people that people with disabilities are part of our communities. This will raise acceptance and an understanding of everyone’s differences and similarities. The Includas Superheroes are experts at fighting off Exclusion Monsters, so they’re here to offer 8 ways that everyone can be a good disability ally
Accez: Hi! Guess what? I can make anything colorful. I am here with my two best friends, who each have superpowers of their own.
Diverz: Hi, I’m Diverz! I can make anything weightless. Cool, huh?
Incluz: Hellooo, I can make anything super big. Like bigger than my hands or arm, biiig. We know all about the power of includas and how it can change the world for the better. But we need some help. Use this list of 8 ways you can practice includas and give us more powers!
1. Do Your Research
Accez: When fighting the Exclusion monsters, your superpowers are a lot stronger if you know all about inclusion—one of the Exclusion monsters’ weaknesses!
Incluz: It’s okay to ask questions about how to include people with disabilities. You can have someone help you, like a parent or sibling, and you both can learn new information from a book, documentary, a friend, or the internet. Remember, disabled people shouldn’t always have to feel like they’re always the teacher about all disabilities because that is sooo exhausting!
Diverz: That’s right! And no single person with a disability can speak for everyone since there is such a wide variety of disabilities and experiences. So if you’re curious or have a question, research to learn about to learn about it in diverse ways!
2. Be an Good Listener
Accez: If someone with a disability wants to talk about inclusion and diversity, make sure to listen and/or watch closely. Disabled people know what’s best for them, so whatever they’re talking about is important for you to remember later.
Diverz: Yes, and whatever a person with a disability chooses to tell you could help you fight against the Exclusion monsters, so make sure to give them the space to speak and uplift their voices!
Incluz: It can be a lot for someone to talk about issues involving themselves and their identity, so be patient and kind when you’re listening. And remember not to ask any personal questions like what their shoe size is or what they had for breakfast.
3. Welcome All Disabilities
Diverz: Every person with a disability looks and/or sounds different. Some disabilities you can see, like someone who uses a wheelchair like Accez, while I use a feeding tube which no one can see unless they see me in a bathing suit or know me personally. Incluz uses a cochlear implant to hear, but some people with deafness don’t use anything to help their hearing. They may not have a visible disability, but it doesn’t mean they’re not a part of the disability community.
Accez: Everyone should be welcomed and not be questioned about if they’re disabled or not, or need to show proof that they are.The more people you welcome and include, the less likely the Exclusion monsters will attack!
Incluz: Aaand, we shouldn’t assume that every person with a disability looks, speaks, or acts the same. Make sure you get to know different people with different disabilities.
4. Encourage Accessibility & Diversity Everywhere
Incluz: Not only is it important for you to be a disability ally, but it’s even better when you share your skills with everyone else! Talking about it with your friends and families passes on the superpower to more people, so even more superheroes can be made to fight the Exclusion Monsters!
Diverz: Raising awareness and acceptance is something everyone can work on, so starting a conversation about how you can help educates everyone!
Accez: It may not be something you’re used to talking about, but the more you talk about disabilities and ways to change the world, the more you become a better disability ally and help spread includas magic everywhere.
5. Support Disabled Creators
Diverz: Some of the best ways to be a disability ally are to watch movies and TV shows, read books, and support works that include disabled creators like us! We’ve created a cool Includas Coloring Book and Includas Superpowerful Journal and hope you like them!
Accez: Art is a beautiful way for everyone to express themselves, so having disabled people included in artistic spaces allows them to be their true selves on their own. Work by people with disabilities is often overshadowed by abled people trying to tell disabled stories, often leading to false representation.
Incluz: More people with disabilities should be writing their own stories. And here’s a secret: with more inclusion of the disability community in creative spaces, the more the Exclusion monsters will surely be scared!
6. Avoid Ableist Terms
Incluz: There are a lot of words that we say because everyone else says them, but some of them aren’t supportive of the disability community or are ableist. Since the world is run by abled people, they tend to say things that support them, but not others.
Accez: Different Disabled people prefer different terms; some do not like to be called “disabled” and like first-person language, but others very much only prefer to be called “disabled.” If you’re unsure, you can ask or see how they label themselves on social media.
Diverz: There’s a whole website page dedicated to different ableist terms you should not say and what you can say instead here! Keep in mind that words and meanings constantly change through time and in different cultures.
7. Don’t Define Someone Only by Their Disability
Accez: Sometimes, when people talk about a disabled person, they only talk about the person’s disability because it is physically obvious that that person has a disability, or it’s how they’re introduced by their friends or family. It’s important to let everyone know that a disability isn’t the only thing that makes up someone.
Incluz: Yeah, Disabled people can be actors, painters, gardeners, athletes, fashion designers, and doctors: anything they want to be! Just because someone has a disability doesn’t mean that’s the only thing they think about or need to only be a disability advocate.
Diverz: “Disability(ies)” shouldn’t be the only thing everyone asks about. The Exclusion monsters want people who are different to feel that they don’t belong, so you have to fight them off by discovering the ways that someone with a disability is just like you
8. Be Kind
Incluz: Last but certainly not least, you should be kind to everyone, no matter what they look like or how they speak. You shouldn’t make judgments about anyone before you’ve gotten to know them.
Diverz: A little kindness goes a long way. The Exclusion Monsters don’t like when people love each other, so practicing kindness and understanding is the best way to scare them off.
Accez: Disabled people want to be treated in the best way possible like everyone else. Because everyone has feelings, dreams, and fears. So don’t be afraid to say hi to someone you think has a cool hat or likes stickers but looks different from you. It’s a great way for you to be more aware and accepting. So spread the includas love everywhere you go.