Inclusion: the active engagement of people with disabilities as service members in all levels of national and community service.
Creating an inclusive environment ultimately begins with the actions and attitudes of the individuals who are already a part of that environment. A Project Coordinator should always be thinking in terms of what people can do, not their limitations. There are several elements needed in order to create an inclusive environment.
An inclusive environment:
- Ensures the respect and dignity of all individuals
- Does not pry into people’s past medical histories
- Keeps private information private
- Fosters a safe environment in which people can speak and listen
- Willingly and proactively provides accommodations
- Is accessible
- Sees a disability as another element of diversity
- Is flexible
Remember: there is no one way to create an inclusive service environment; rather it is a continuous process that is always evolving!
- Ensure Your Project is Inclusive
- Include images in your brochures, videos, and other materials
- Add captions to your videos
- Ensure that your website is accessible
- Making presentations accessible
- National Service Inclusion Project
AmeriCorps Disability Inclusion
Montana wants individuals with disabilities to serve as AmeriCorps members. The Governor’s Office of Community Service provides advocacy and outreach to address access and accommodation policies as a means to promote and expand service opportunities. Montana works hard to find ways for individuals with disabilities to share in the true spirit of volunteerism and service.
Programs that receive federal funding are required to act in accordance with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. In compliance with Federal law, all AmeriCorps programs prohibit any form of discrimination against persons with disabilities in recruitment, as well as in service. No qualified individual with a disability shall be denied the benefits of the program, be excluded from participation in services and activities or be subjected to discrimination by the program.
A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a program site that will enable a qualified applicant or AmeriCorps member with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential service functions. Reasonable accommodation also includes adjustments to assure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in service equal to those of individuals without a disability. All AmeriCorps programs shall make reasonable accommodation in practices and/or procedures when the accommodation(s) is/are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability. Accommodations are “reasonable” when they are practical or feasible. The program does not have to provide reasonable accommodation that would impose undue hardship on the operation of the program. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an undue hardship must be based on an individual assessment of current circumstances that show that a specific reasonable accommodation would cause significant difficulty or expense.
Accommodation Assessment Survey Results for the 2011 AmeriCorps Grant Year (2012 calendar year)
Accommodation Assessment Survey Results for the 2010 AmeriCorps Grant Year (2011 calendar year)
Special Needs Inclusion Toolkit
The Special Needs Inclusion Toolkit was created to assist in creating or updating your County's Emergency Operations Plan.
- Toolkit Table of Contents
- Start Here Job Aid
- Disaster Preparedness for People with Disabilities
- FEMA-Orientation Manual on Evacuation of People with Disabilities
- IAEM Bulletin Special Focus Issue Part 1
- IAEM Bulletin Special Focus Issue Part 2
- Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs
- Tips for First Responders
- Prepare Yourself Brochure Cognitive Disabilities
- Prepare Yourself Brochure Disabilities
- Prepare Yourself Brochure Mobility Disabilities
- Prepare Yourself Brochure Pets and Service Animals
- Prepare Yourself Brochure Sensory Disabilities
- Disaster Preparedness and the Deaf Community
- Disaster Preparedness for Seniors by Seniors, ARC 5059
- Preparing Makes Sense for Older Americans
- Preparing Makes Sense for People with Disabilities and Special Needs
- Planning Guides
- A Guide to Enhance Risk Communication Among Low-Income Populations
- An ADA Guide for Local Governments
- At-Risk Populations in Emergencies
- CPG 301 Bookmarks
- CPG 301
- EPI Guide for Emergency Planners, Managers & Responders
- Locating People with Disabilities in Your Community
- National Preparedness Guidelines
- National Response Framework (NRF) Document
- Public Health Workbook
- Sample Annexes and Templates
Survey of State Disability Policy 2010
Council of State Governments (CSG): As of May 2009, 13 states including Montana have enacted legislation requiring comprehensive mandated health benefits covering all Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)-related therapies, including speech, occupational, physical, and behavioral interventions.
Think Beyond the Label is a resource focused on increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. http://www.thinkbeyondthelabel.com/Default.aspx