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Cultural Diversity

Why This Is Important

This department is important for several reasons.1) There has been an increasing emphasis on the inclusion of people with disabilities into various aspects of community living. At the very core of inclusive practices is the issue of diversity. Such diversity may be reflected in different ways such as differences in perspectives, interests, abilities, culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender and so forth. Accepting, valuing and honoring such diversity is integral to the whole idea of inclusion. This department attempts to raise the awareness of service providers with respect to the ways in which a person's cultural identity could be an important aspect of the person-centered planning process. 2) The current discourse on person-centered planning has placed the person at the center of the whole process. The person with a disability is seen as the key person who plays an active role in all the important decisions that impact his or her life. While this has had a phenomenal impact on the lives of people with disabilities, it could sometimes cause dilemmas for people with disabilities who come from cultures where the family or their community plays an equally important role in making such decisions. How should such dilemmas be handled? Is there a way to include the person's family or community in this process while at the same time honoring the individual's choices? How could service providers balance both of these issues? What could person-centered planning mean within the context of the multicultural society that we live in? These are some questions the department attempts to address. 3) In the increasing cultural diversity of the United States, a growing number of staff are from a different culture than the people they support, and from a different culture than the people who supervise or manage them. This department will provide information about addressing some of these differences. 4) This department also provides an opportunity to learn from a variety of cultures about ways in which family care and support is provided within that culture. Such information is critical, especially given the emphasis on maintaining and valuing the natural supports that may exist in a person's life. This department provides resources which attempt to address some of these issues.

This web site is maintained by the Research and Training Center on Community Living with support from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, the Human Services Research Institute and the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. E-mail weste050@umn.edu.
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