Independent Living

Independent Living for People with Disabilities supports people with disabilities to make choices for themselves. They have the freedom to decide how they want to live their lives without interference. The philosophy also espouses equality where people with disabilities can participate fully in the community through the provisions of proper infrastructure and support.

Independent Living for People with Disabilities respects the rights, dignity and choice of individuals by advocating equal opportunities and support that leads to self-determination. The four key concepts of Independent Living as expounded by Ed Roberts, one of the founders of the Independent Living movement in the USA during the early-seventies, are as follows:

  1. People with disabilities should live in their communities instead of staying at institutions.
  2. People with disabilities are neither patients to be cared, children to be protected, nor God to be worshipped.
  3. People with disabilities themselves can identify the necessary assistance required and manage it.
  4. People with disabilities are the victims of social prejudice rather than the victims of disabilities.

Independent Living does not mean that a disabled person wants to live by himself or do everything by himself. When assistance is needed, it must be provided to elevate the quality of life through personal assistants, assistive devices and other support services.

For example, there is no point in a disabled person spending two hours dressing up when a personal assistant can help him accomplish the task in five minutes. The time saved can be utilised in doing other more productive activities.

Disabled persons, like everyone else, desire to live in the community like the non-disabled, get educated in  mainstream schools, be gainfully employed in jobs that commensurate with their skills and qualifications, enjoy a leisurely stroll around the neighbourhood or go to the movies.


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