Businesses & Corporate Entities
Business Entities Lede - Swimmer Michelle Falcon, of Mexico, with Her Coach Fernanda Franco, Taking a Healthy Athletes Opening Eyes Exam at the 2014 Special Olympics Southern California Invitational Games
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The Vision
All health-related businesses and corporate entities should make it standard practice to incorporate people with intellectual disabilities into their programs, services, products, marketing, and other business practices
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The Problem
  • In the United States, there are approximately 6.5 million individuals living with an intellectual disability. People with intellectual disabilities are at higher risk for poor health outcomes and chronic conditions than the general population, which require more complicated and costly interventions.

    Businesses and corporations are not incorporating people with intellectual disabilities into their mainstream preventative health services and programs. They also are not making their services known to this population and are not removing barriers to participation. It is likely that ignorance plays a large part in this lack of inclusion. Ignorance includes misunderstanding people with intellectual disabilities’ health needs and capabilities, neglecting to identify and understand the barriers they face and the accommodations required to participate fully, thinking it is financially infeasible to change business practices, and failing to realize the value of including people with intellectual disabilities as a target market.

"Inclusive health is recognizing and valuing everyone’s intrinsic worth—without drawing lines—and helping to enable their health and happiness."
-George Carmel, FlagHouse Inc.
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What You Can Do About It
To be inclusive, businesses and corporations must find solutions to address the attitudinal, communication, programmatic and environmental barriers people with intellectual disabilities face. Strategies and solutions include:
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Create welcoming spaces
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Make physical spaces and equipment accessible to everyone. Treat a person with intellectual disabilities the same way you would treat any other person, while respecting their needed accommodations.

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Improve communication
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Market directly to people with intellectual disabilities. Ensure written and verbal communication is accessible to everyone. Use plain language. Remove complicated and technical language from all marketing and communications. Create an online version of programs, if possible.

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Modify programs and products
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Conduct a community needs assessment to understand the barriers faced by people with intellectual disabilities. Include people with intellectual disabilities in program planning groups and meetings. Modify educational materials and products to be accessible to everyone. When finances are identified as a barrier, consider financial waivers, scholarships, or discounted fees.

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Increase awareness and training
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Teach staff about people with intellectual disabilities, how to work with them, the barriers they face, and how to address them. Ask people with intellectual disabilities to provide input on and/or conduct the training.

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Sustain efforts
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Incorporate inclusion into each program, service, or activity offered. Incorporate intellectual disability into your organization’s policies, statements, and mission.

AUDIENCES
Foundational strategies apply across all sectors of the public health system, for more information specific to your sector, please explore the audience pages below. More audiences coming soon!
Every health care provider should be trained to care for people with intellectual disabilities and do their part to ensure equitable access to quality health care for patients with intellectual disabilities
All people with intellectual disabilities should have access to and meaningful participation in fitness and wellness programs and activities
Every professional association should commit to addressing the health needs of people with intellectual disabilities and provide their members with the necessary training to be more inclusive.
All health-related businesses and corporate entities should make it standard practice to incorporate people with intellectual disabilities into their programs, services, products, marketing, and other business practices
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