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