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The value of being included

Celine WindsorWritten by Therapy Focus Adult Services Coordinator, Celine Windsor.

Social inclusion is an important part of feeling happy and healthy, growing stronger and becoming the person we want to be. So what is social inclusion? And how can we achieve a healthy social life?

Social inclusion is:

  • Feeling connected to other people
  • Feeling supported when things are tough 
  • Feeling important enough to be considered by others, have a say and be listened to
  • Feeling like you are part of something bigger than you

Consider the following: Do, Be, Become, Belong:

  • What can I do, where and how can I do it? Think art, archery or acting; bike-riding, bocce or ballet-dancing; collecting, craft or canoeing. The opportunities are endless!
  • What can I be? Are you a student, friend, neighbour, employee, team member, volunteer or a citizen?
  • Who can I become? Every day the choices we make and the experiences we have help to shape who we become.
  • Where can I belong? Develop and share your interests with others. Committing to a project or group helps to build relationships with like-minded people. This helps us to feel like we connect with others and belong.

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If you’re looking for ways to feel included, try having a conversation with a family member, friend or your therapist. They can help identify where new opportunities might lie and what support you might need.  Below are some questions you might like to discuss:

  1. Do you think you are healthy as you can be?  If not, what might help you to improve in this area?
  2. How do you feel about yourself? What are your positives and strengths you’d like to build upon?
  3. Do you let people know when you want to do something or do you keep quiet? What might help you to improve in this area?
  4. Do you have enough help to do the things you want to do?
  5. Would you like to have more choice and be able to make more decisions about your life, what, where, when and how you do things?
  6. How are your relationships with family, friends and others? Are there people that you would like to see more of?
  7. Would you like to get out more and meet new people and build a circle of friends?
  8. If you were to go out, where would you like to go?
  9. Is there anything stopping you from going out? If yes, what can be done to make it easier to get out?
  10. Would you like to change where you live or who you live with?
  11. Are you still learning? Is there something that you would like to learn?
  12. Do you have a job that you enjoy? If not, what work would you like to do?
  13. How can you make a difference in your world and in lives of others?

Finding your ‘just right’ level of social inclusion might give you a new reason to jump out of bed in the morning with a spring in your step!

Tips for parents and carers:

  • Start early
  • Be a role model
  • Knock on doors, ask questions
  • Seek advice, ideas and support from your children’s school, service providers, other parents, employers, communities and decision makers
  • Open the door to new opportunities for your child

For more information about social inclusion visit the following websites: