Spinal Cord Injury Community

What Does it Mean to be Radically Included?

Aaron Baker
Spinal Cord Injury Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
08/19/22  3:10 PM PST
inclusivity in building

Amidst our nation’s aging infrastructure and antiquated stigmas, there seems to be a groundswell of passionate entrepreneurs, engineers, universal designers and agents of social change focused on destigmatizing disability and disrupting the status quo while redefining and redesigning a radically inclusive world. As friend of mine, and radical change maker, Riley Poor, says: “Radically Included is on a mission to remind us that we are more alike than we are different.” His universal design firm, Radically Included, is a fulcrum of solution-driven designers and product developers that creatively reconfigure places, spaces, and products to serve broader populations of people with fewer barriers. Asks RI: “How do we create inclusivity? What is holding us back? How can we build more bridges and ramps instead of walls and stairs?” These are the questions that excite me! This is long-term forward thinking for all of us and Riley and his team are at the front, surfing this swell.

Another force for change and real heavy hitter, Karen Braitmayer of Seattle, Washington has been making residential and commercial buildings more inclusive of folks with disabilities for over 25 years. As a licensed architect, lifelong wheelchair user and founder Studio Pacifica she believes “everyone deserves to live their best, barrier-free life.” In 2013, Karen attracted the attention of former President Barack Obama, who appointed her to the United States Access Board. Her emphasis on promoting “barrier-free design” without sacrificing aesthetic appeal is the platform from which she still serves the board today. In a recent interview by Hunker.com Karen explained her design philosophy:

The experience of disability is largely influenced by the experience of your environment. It is, as [inclusive designer] Kat Holmes has said, a mismatch between your physical environment and the experience that you have in your body. Our goal is to eliminate as many of those barriers as possible, thereby enabling people to be able to use all the skills and attributes that they have. Everyone wants to be able to live a full life and participate in community, whether that’s going to school or work, raising a family, or engaging in your favorite hobby.”

 From my research, the last time we experienced this much enthusiasm for inclusivity was in the mid 60’s when the Americans with Disabilities ACT was passed (I wrote a blog about it here). I presume this social resurgence is due in large part to the interconnectedness of our digital world. Because we are all showing & telling our lives through social media we seem to be closing the gap between each other and our differences… Hence, inclusion is the only way—the only way for a co-operated, coordinated community to move forward.

Personally, I am thrilled there are a growing number of influencers like Riley and Karen who poor their heart into this mission. It gives me hope for the future and the message it will emboss on the next generation(s).

Together We Rise!


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I have c6 injury and I have lots of spasm in my whole body. What can you suggest to help?
I have found that consistent stretching, light exercise, plenty of water, quality food and rest all affect my spasticity.


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