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Social Inclusion for People with Intellectual Disabilities

1 January 2011


Barriers to social inclusion are similar between populations with mental illness and intellectual disabilities. This CAT presents the idea that because occupational therapy interventions facilitate community integration for people with mental illness, it may facilitate integration for people with intellectual disabilities as well.
How can occupational therapists facilitate social inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities?
The desire to be accepted by others is one of our most basic human needs; feeling excluded can lead to deterioration of physical health and well being, according to Lloyd, Tse and Deane (2006). To them, social inclusion means being able to participate in meaningful leisure, friendship and work communities. Unfortunately, there is extensive evidence of the social exclusion of people with intellectual disabilities (Abbott, McConkey, 2006). People with intellectual disabilities are being provided with more opportunities to live in the community and to take part in community activities, but this is often not effective in creating meaningful social connections with others, specifically non-disabled community members. The purpose of this CAT is to explore barriers to social inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities and the role of occupational therapy in facilitating inclusion.


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