North American Inclusion Month is celebrated every February to raise awareness about the need to create equal opportunities for people with disabilities in all aspects, including employment and education. According to the U.N., people with disabilities are individuals who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various attitudinal and environmental barriers, hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. NAIM was established by Yachad, also known as the National Jewish Council for Disabilities. During North American Inclusion Month, Yachad and other like-minded organizations publish resources and carry out awareness and community outreach programs geared towards inclusion.
History of North American Inclusion Month (NAIM)
Archaeological evidence reveals that since early history, various cultures have provided for people with disabilities. Although the ancient Greeks and Romans were obsessed with the perfecting of the human body, structural provisions were made to allow the handicapped to access temples and healing sanctuaries.
In the Middle Ages, however, disabilities came to be viewed as punishment for sins and works of demons. Therefore, the disabled became outcasts and homeless beggars. In the 18th and 19th centuries, during the Industrial Revolution, employers began valuing people based on their ability to produce like machines. Hence, people with disabilities became a problem to be solved or eradicated.
It wasn’t until the early 1970s that disability activism took shape in the United States. Between the 1970s and 1990s, the U.S. government passed several laws to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities in society. Examples include the Rehabilitation Act, Education for All Handicapped Children Act, Amendments to the 1972 Higher Education Act, and the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In 2011, Yachad launched the North American Inclusion Month to raise awareness about the need for more opportunities for people with disabilities.
North American Inclusion Month (NAIM) timeline
Europeans view disabilities as a punishment for sin or the works of demons.
Americans begin protesting against the mistreatment of people with disabilities.
The U.S. government passes the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Yachad establishes the North American Inclusion Month.
North American Inclusion Month (NAIM) FAQs
What challenges do people with disabilities face at the workplace?
Difficulties include lack of transportation and accommodation facilities, employers’ doubt, and stigmatization.
Is it okay to say persons with disabilities?
It is alright to address those with disabilities as disabled people or people as disabilities. But it’s best to ask them which term they prefer.
What are the seven examples of disabilities?
Some common examples of disabilities include physical disability, autism spectrum disorder, mental health conditions, intellectual disability, acquired brain injury, vision impairment, and deafness/hearing impairment.
How to Observe North American Inclusion Month (NAIM)
Schedule a sensitivity training for your organization
Sensitivity training is an organizational development technique to make people aware of their prejudice and more sensitive to others. Different organizations offer this training, including HR University, Oculus, Cornell University, and Catalyst.
Host a program on inclusion
This program could be a talk show, forum, or community outreach. You need to create a plan, choose a venue (virtual or physical), invite guest speakers, and promote the program. Also, you can check for a nearby inclusion expert and invite them.
Post about inclusion on social media
As an individual or organization interested in making an inclusive society, you can share your views about it on social media. This will ensure a greater reach.
5 Facts People With Disabilities
People with disabilities in the world
According to the U.N., 15% of the world’s population lives with a disability.
People with disabilities in America
According to the C.D.C., 61 million adults in the United States live with a disability.
The leading cause of disabilities
Illnesses cause about 91% of disabilities.
Access to healthcare
One in three adults with disabilities does not have a usual healthcare provider.
Women are more likely to be disabled
One in four women in the United States has a disability.
Why North American Inclusion Month (NAIM) is Important
It raises awareness
People with disabilities encounter various systemic, architectural, communication, and technology challenges that prevent them from functioning effectively. They’re also stigmatized in workplaces. NAIM helps draw attention to these issues with statistics to show how people with disabilities are totally excluded from society.
It promotes an inclusive workplace
In addition to stigmatization, most workplaces are not designed with people with disabilities in mind. Also, most employers avoid employing people with disabilities, leaving most of them unemployed. Sensitivity training during NAIM helps educate employers and coworkers on communicating and working with people with disabilities. NAIM’s awareness programs also promote the strengths of people with disabilities and the benefits of an inclusive workplace.
It promotes an inclusive society
NAIM provides an opportunity for organizing awareness and outreach programs on inclusion. That helps pinpoint the challenges of people with disabilities and develop feasible solutions to these challenges.
North American Inclusion Month (NAIM) dates