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Our new report shows the continued systemic use of restraint and seclusion in BC schools. Read more.

From December 1-3, we're celebrating the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Film festivals will be held in 5 locations across BC. Stay tuned for details!

Watch our 60th Anniversary video that honours and remembers the civil rights history of people with intellectual disabilities in BC. Read more about our history here.


What is an intellectual disability?

An intellectual disability affects an individual's intellectual development and is usually present from the time they are born or from an early age. This disability varies greatly and society provides accommodations that promote the unique and diverse abilities of each person. Real inclusion takes the onus off the person with the disability and recognizes our collective responsibility to ensure that individualized supports are in place so that everyone can contribute as full citizens.

Historically, people with intellectual disabilities have been segregated from mainstream society. The result is that many of us have never met a person with this disability, but we've been deeply influenced by a variety of myths and stereotypes regarding their capabilities.

What's wrong with the word "retarded"?

Unfortunately, the stigma associated with terms like "mentally retarded" is so negative it can stop us from seeing the person hidden behind the label or from recognizing an individual's unique talents and abilities.

Many people with intellectual disabilities refer to themselves as "self advocates" - focussing on an active role they play in their lives and their communities. There is also a growing movement of self advocates to change the word disability to "diversability."

What is "community inclusion"?

The move to end segregation and institutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities has grown into the "community inclusion movement." Our name is our goal - to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, enjoys their right to be included in the community and participate as a full citizen.

Today, people with intellectual disabilities are participating in their neighbourhoods, communities, schools, and workplaces. Like everyone else, they have hopes and dreams and the desire to contribute and belong. Read more

Why have the institutions closed?

For many years, people with intellectual disabilities were segregated in institutions, separate schools, and segregated workplaces. Segregation deprives people of their rights, limits opportunities, and keeps people apart from family, friends and community.

Everyone has the potential to learn, and institutions cannot even begin to tap that potential. Over the past two decades we have learned that new opportunities foster new abilities, and no one needs to be separated from family and community because of a disability.

Are people really able to participate in community?

The abilities of individuals with intellectual disabilities vary greatly. Most are able to carry on a conversation, engage in social activities, work, and participate in life like we all do. Others with more severe disabilities may participate in different ways, but, like all of us, enjoy the company of others and the opportunity to participate in whatever way they can.

Don't people with intellectual disabilities need medical care?

An intellectual disability is not an illness. Some people may need extra or specialized care, but most people are able to live in community with few additional supports.

How can I help?

Join Inclusion BC today. Inclusion BC members are committed to the vision of a world where everyone belongs. By becoming a member you stand with us as we provide support, education and advocacy where and when it's needed, breaking down barriers and building communities that include people of all abilities. 

Eighty percent of Inclusion BC's operating budget comes from public support. Visit the "Support Us" section of our website for ways you can support us financially.

You can also show your support simply by being willing to accept and include people as part of your community. If you meet someone who looks a little different, or who has difficulty speaking or walking, offer them the same respect you would give anyone else ... a smile, a handshake, a moment of conversation.