Inclusion, Choice, and Mindset
By Nicole Flynn, Associate Consultant
In reflecting on Nicole’s Notes from 2022, a few themes were identified. Inclusion, choice and the need to change the collective mindset have been the main points of the discussion. A movement has started. There has been an increase in awareness and education of the general public about the issues that affect the lives of people who live with disability.
The inclusion of voices from people who live with disability at the table has evolved the level of conversation. The dialogue including self advocates has increased the contribution of lived experience and personal stories. Through valuing all voices at the decision making table, a spin off of ideas and the ability to build on each other’s strengths occurs. Providing the supports required for people to be able to participate in their communities first requires respect of the person. Respect and inclusion build diverse, accessible, and inclusive communities and make invisible people, visible.
The importance of people having real choice occurs when there is an understanding of different perspectives. People with lived experience have the inner view of the way their lives are affected by disability. Decision makers have an outsider’s interpretation of the impact of living with disability. While people can have empathy, it is not the same as having lived experiences. These different outlooks affect the communication and interpretation surrounding choice. From one point of view there may appear to be a choice, but from the emic stance only one option is being provided. It is important to keep the dialogues and progress from 2022 flowing. The stories about people’s lives are an integral part of this communication. Each person, respected with the support required, is able to tell their story and make autonomous decisions.
People with the lived experience of disability are often overlooked, underestimated, and undervalued as community members. In communities, creating a greater focus on inclusion will ensure people come first. Continuing the conversation about the value of all people will develop a positive change in the community mindset.
In 2023, let’s continue the conversation and listen to the voices of all people, who are advocating for choice, inclusion, and a change in mindset.
Nicole Flynn is from the rural area of Centre Hastings, Ontario. She is a graduate of the Loyalist College General Arts and Science diploma program (not modified). Nicole is an entrepreneur, an Associate Consultant with People Minded Business Inc. (PMB), and an international medalist in three sports. She is a global citizen who believes in freedom, power, and prosperity for everyone.
Nicole’s goal is to experience and learn more about what is happening around the world and to share her knowledge with others. It is her hope that by reading Nicole’s Notes, people will broaden their perspective, re-evaluate their assumptions and attitudes, and bring their creative ideas and inputs to the table.