Independent Living is both a cultural movement and a program. It is a way of looking at disability that puts the individual first and the disability second. The Independent Living Community works toward equal opportunity for people with disabilities to share in all the benefits of society.
What is an Independent Living Center?
An Independent Living Center (ILC) serves people of all ages with any kind of disability. ILCs are designed and operated by people with disabilities in response to local needs.
What is an Independent Living Philosophy?
Independent Living is a way of thinking about people with disabilities. It says that people with disabilities know best how to take care of themselves. They are able to make important decisions that affect their lives, have relationships with whom they choose and have access to all the benefits of society that non-disabled people do. Independent Living means that people with disabilities have the right to live as independently as they choose. If a person with a disability wants to ask for help, they can. But the kind of help they ask for and who they ask is up to them. This way of thinking is often described as “self-determination”.
People with disabilities are people first and entitled to the same respect that non- disabled people are. The Independent Living Movement uses people-first language, such as “people with disabilities” instead of “disabled people”. This shows that the person is most important, not the disability.
I&R is the art, science and practice of
bringing people and services together. If individuals or families don't know
where to turn, or need more information, I&R can help connect them with the
information, tools, and resources they need.
ILCs teach advocacy skills. Advocacy is learning how to speak
up for yourself, making your own decisions about your own life, learning how
to get information so that you can understand things that are of interest to
you, finding out who will support you in your journey, knowing your rights
and responsibilities, problem solving, listening and learning, reaching out to
others when you need help and friendship, and learning about self-
determination. ILCs may also help by advocating for curb cuts, street
crossings, buildings or anything else that will help all people have equal
access to society.
Independent Living services are any skills that can help
a person with a disability do what they want to do on their own. Things like
budgeting, learning to use public transportation, learning how to shop for
healthy foods and learning social skills can all be part of independent living
People with disabilities know best how to take care of
themselves. Peer counselors are people with disabilities who can help guide
other people with disabilities and who help them reach their goals.
People with disabilities have the right to live in
the least restrictive environment of their choice. Transition services can help
the person learn the steps they need to take and to get the resources they
need to move from one way of life to another. ILCs can assist people with
disabilities in moving out of institutions (like hospitals or nursing homes), in
changing from one situation to another (like leaving high school and starting
college) or helping to prevent them from having to leave their home due to a
Personal Assistants can help with a variety
of needs for some people with disabilities. Hiring, training, managing, and
firing Personal Assistants is something that people who use them need to
learn how to do. ILCs offer training on this subject.
Some people with disabilities may require places to live that are
accessible to wheelchairs or other assistive technology. They may need help
finding places to live that are affordable on a fixed income or to find out if
they are able to get financial benefits.
ILCs can provide training on a variety of devices,
tools, or services used to make life easier.