The Independent Living Movement

People with disabilities should have the same civil rights, options and control over choices in their lives as do people without disabilities. This is the core concept that set the Independent Living Movement in action nearly fifty years ago.

People with disabilities should have the same civil rights, options and control over choices in their lives as do people without disabilities. This is the core concept that set the Independent Living Movement in action nearly fifty years ago.

The Independent Living Movement has roots in many other social and civil rights movements, but has grown to take on a meaning all its own. It is a movement of empowerment and unity.

The Independent Living movement is all about people with disabilities taking control of their lives and being responsible for their actions. The medical and institutional models that had been (and continue to be) the predominant mindset that keeps people with disabilities confined to institutions without the same rights and freedoms as people without disabilities. Eventually, frustrations with physical and social confinement led to a desire to move away from the attitude that a person with a disability was “broken” and needed to be repaired. The realization set in that society and the poisonous attitudes that it can breed were what needed to be repaired.

The push to move away from the medical model led to an embrace of the self-help ideology. Instead of being diagnosed and hospitalized, the value of interacting with a peer, someone who has shared a common experience, was seen. This peer support mentality is still something that is highly valued in this movement and by its supporters.

People with disabilities should have control over the goods and services rather than being given a select number of options. Centers for Independent Living are consumer driven, something that people with disabilities want to see more of. The consumer should have the right to express what is best for them and what will work best in their particular situation.

Centers for Independent Living (CILs) have the Independent Living Philosophy at the core of everything they do. CILs are a product of the IL movement and are here to help consumers connect with that movement and their communities.

Get involved with the IL Movement by becoming active with your local Center for Independent Living (CIL) or other advocacy-centered organization.

For more information about disABILITY LINK (the CIL that serves the Metro Atlanta Area) call 404-687-8890, visit us on the web at www.disABILITYLINK.org, find us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/disABILITYLINK) or e-mail info@disABILITYLINK.org

8 thoughts on “The Independent Living Movement”

  1. Yes Danny, Great information and indeed they are Great Centers and remarkable operations, to let everyone know a bit more about CIL here is an added brief summary :

    CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT LIVING? The term `center for independent living’ means a consumer?controlled, community?based, cross?disability, nonresidential private nonprofit agency that is designed and operated within a local community by individuals with disabilities and provides an array of independent living services.

    A Center for Independent Living:
    51% of staff are persons with disabilities; 51% of Board of Directors are persons with disabilities; and provides four core services:

    Information & referral
    Independent living skills training
    Individual and systems advocacy
    Peer counseling

  2. Danny, great synopsis! Thank you for the contribution and giving us an overview of the mission of CILs. I’d like to also note, that here on the west coast we have ILCs, but the term Centers for Independent Living (CIL) is synonymous with Independent living centers (ILC). CILs or ILCs are great resources for any disability concern including housing, transportation, counseling, job skills, and some centers have training programs to assist PWDs in money management, cooking, household chores, and recreational activities.

  3. Thanks for this post Danny, Sarah, & Jym for your insights.
    I’ve seen and appreciate the work centers for community-based or independent living do.

    I’d like to ask this question :

    What is the vision after these centers?

    The story to being an empowered consumer of services or an active self-advocate is one powerful, amazing, and important chapter of life , but it is only a piece of the story.

    I look at Barb Goode, who just published her memoirs : “The Goode Life” and she talks her travels through out the world and the people she has met. And she talks about a time when we will refer to all people as “diverseabilities”.

    It’s a pretty amazing I really hope to see a time where empowered living is a given and something our an entire community contributes towards and where gifts are being focused on.

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