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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(9), 11146-11162; doi:10.3390/ijerph120911146

“An Environment Built to Include Rather than Exclude Me”: Creating Inclusive Environments for Human Well-Being

1,†,* and 2,3,†
1
School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia
2
School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University, Meadowbrook 4131, Australia
3
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, the University of Queensland, St Lucia 4072, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Wendy Stav
Received: 30 July 2015 / Revised: 22 August 2015 / Accepted: 3 September 2015 / Published: 8 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Therapies and Human Well-Being)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [705 KB, uploaded 8 September 2015]

Abstract

Contemporary discourses which challenge the notion of health as the “absence of disease” are prompting changes in health policy and practice. People with disability have been influential in progressing our understanding of the impact of contextual factors in individual and population health, highlighting the impact of environmental factors on functioning and inclusion. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) more holistic definition of health as “wellbeing” is now applied in frameworks and legislation, and has long been understood in occupational therapy theory. In practice, however, occupational therapists and other professionals often address only local and individual environmental factors to promote wellbeing, within systems and societies that limit equity in population health and restrict inclusion in communities. This paper presents an in-depth analysis of the supports and accommodations identified by a cohort of individuals (n-100) living with disability. A range of environmental facilitators and barriers were identified in peoples’ experience of “inclusive community environs” and found to influence inclusion and wellbeing. The roles and responsibilities of individuals, professionals, and society to enact change in environments are discussed in light of these findings. Recommendations include a focus on the subjective experience of environments, and application of theory from human rights and inclusive economics to address the multiple dimensions and levels of environments in working towards inclusion and wellbeing. View Full-Text
Keywords: occupational therapy; inclusion; disability; ICF; environmental factors; health policy; accessibility; usability occupational therapy; inclusion; disability; ICF; environmental factors; health policy; accessibility; usability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Layton, N.A.; Steel, E.J. “An Environment Built to Include Rather than Exclude Me”: Creating Inclusive Environments for Human Well-Being. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 11146-11162.

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