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Toward Inclusion JLI Course

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  • Session One
    The Limits of Human Perception

  • While society has largely abandoned explicit negative beliefs about disabilities that historically marginalized and mistreated people with disabilities, many people with disabilities  still face barriers and stigmas that impede their ability to fully participate in society.

    A growing body of research utilizing the Implicit Association Test  indicates that a consistent pattern of moderate to strong negative , implicit (less consciously - controllable) bias es were found with little or no association with people’s explicit attitudes and professed values.

    The findings question the basic assumption that one can be objective about their own perception and interaction s with people with disabilities.

  • Session Two
    On Human Worth and Dignity

  • Often, people with disabilities are defined and identified by their disabilities It follows that their talents and personality (good - and bad - traits) as well as their ability to contribute and participate are overlooked.

    Lesson Two explores the dehumanizing effects of this attitude and how "People - first language" , and similar thought and actions can open society to include everyone.

    Predicated on the Sapir – Whorf hypothesis 6 which states that language use significantly shapes perceptions of the world and forms ideological preconceptions, People - first language is a linguistic prescription that calls for using a sentence structure that names the person first and the condition second. For example, saying "people with disabilities" rather than "disabled people" or "disabled", emphasizes that "they are people first" and their physical or intellectual disability is secondary attribute and is not a characteristic of a person's identity.

    The lesson also discusses the preference of some, including many in the Autistic and Deaf communities for Identity - first language, which proudly embraces their disability as an identity and culture with an inherent way of looking at and experiencing the world. 

  • Session Three
    The Ethics of Responsibility

  • Marginalization of and prejudice against people with disabilities is a societal problem and requires broad - based, legally enforceable regulations to ensure fair treatment. To that end, the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 to prevent discrimination against people wit disabilities.

    Beyond following the law, to what extent are we responsible, as individuals , to stand up for inclusion? Lesson Three explores Jewish paradigms of leadership including Abraham and Moses that stood up for the downtrodden at personal expense. Our resounding ‘yes’ to the famous  biblical question, "Am I my brother’s keeper? " is both an indicator of mental well - being and an act with positive consequences that leads to a happier, more purposeful and positive outlook.

  • Session Four
    Overcoming Barriers to Inclusion

  • Lesson Four concludes the course and addresses the questions that arise when principles meet practice: What constitutes a disability? What are the common obstacles to inclusion? This problem is so prevalent in society, how can my individual actions possibly make a difference Practically speaking, what can I do to help further inclusion? Where do I start?

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