Accept Difference, a disability awareness campaign to promote inclusion

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Accept buy generic premarin Difference is a social awareness campaign initiated by Early Connections fostering understanding about disability and inclusion on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. Nancy Sposato, the creative director and manager of the campaign reflects on inclusion and writes about how this campaign can help make the community more inclusive.

What does inclusion mean to you?

Inclusion is an attitude, a compassionate way of being that enables communities to accept their responsibility to rethink their actions and choices to support people of all abilities to participate in everyday life.

Inclusion is connection, the Accept Difference campaign aims to create a platform for people with and without disability to connect and collaborate towards building more inclusive communities.

Inclusion is a creative process, we never stop learning about relating to others and a creative process offers an effective way of getting to know people and to truly understand their stories. All material that has been created for Accept Difference has been developed in collaboration between artists from Nancy Sposato Projects, Early Connections staff and families. We have honoured the time it takes to build authentic relationships and to then effectively communicate the accept difference message in a way that resonates with millions of people world wide.

Inclusion looks different to everyone, we all have different needs and all desire to be included in different ways.

What does inclusion look like?

The Accept Difference TV commercial (TVC) is based on a true story recounted by Early Connection directors and is a great example of a simple gesture of compassion making a world of difference. The actual situation occurred in a shopping plaza on the Mid North Coast, NSW where a child experienced a meltdown while going about ordinary activities with  his mother. A supportive man just stood beside them in case the mother needed assistance. Once the situation had calmed, the male shared that his own family manages similar behaviours in his grandson. Experience gives people knowledge about disability and the TVC aims to give the general public an example of what is a common experience for parents. So in the case that they find themselves in a similar situation, they may have the capacity to refrain from judgement and offer a simple gesture of support.

How is this campaign different?

Rather than focusing on the injustices relating to people with disability, Accept Difference aims to highlight inclusive actions, when community members step up. Some examples include; when businesses offer work experience placements to young people with disability, or chefs at a local club go out of their way to ensure the fridge is stocked with smooth textured French fries for a regular young patron with major sensory issues. To shift the stigma of disability that is so deeply ingrained, our tact is to promote stories of people with disability living fulfilling and connected lives. Through promoting inclusion and the positive examples of community capacity, families living with disability are more inclined to feel confident to participate in everyday life without feeling judged.

How do you explain inclusion to others?Accept Difference 2

This campaign focuses on inclusion as an attitude, a belief that all activities that make up our day-to-day modern lives should be available to anyone, no matter what their needs might be. An inclusive mindset ACCEPTS that this might mean having to find solutions to meet the needs of others in all situations: business, education and community services.

What do you see as the most important factor in creating inclusive communities?

Accept Difference sees social capital as useful tool for understanding the benefits of inclusion. Academics have started to measure the social capital that inclusive communities produce.

Social capital is understood as a way of measuring the collective value (both economic  and social) of shared networks and an investment in social relations that would bring returns that may or may not be economic. This includes sharing information and  resources, building trust and providing assistance. For example, when a group of neighbours informally keep an eye on each others homes and property or work together to build a community garden, that is social capital in action. The results of improved social capital for communities include improved experiences of belonging and well-being, but are also financially measurable as communities are more likely to spend and invest in businesses and networks that are part of the shared experience of building social capital.

As a starting point to becoming a more inclusive community, the Accept Difference campaign is calling on the general public and businesses of the Mid North Coast of NSW to give inclusion a go through practicing inclusive actions in day to day life, or by becoming an inclusive business.

Check out the Accept Difference resources here: http://acceptdifference.org.au/accept-difference/

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Catalina Voroneanu
Catalina Voroneanu
Inclusion Program Coordinator

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