What is the Independent Living Philosophy?
The Independent Living philosophy postulates that people with disabilities are the best experts on their needs. Since we are the best experts on our needs, we need to show the solutions we want, be in charge of our lives, and think and speak for ourselves. Independent Living does not mean that we want to do everything by ourselves and do not need anybody or that we want to live in isolation. Independent Living means that we demand the same choices and control in our every-day lives as everyone else.
To this end we must support and learn from each other, organize ourselves and work for political changes that lead to the legal protection of our human and civil rights and therefore they must take the initiative in designing and promoting better solutions. People with disabilities should have the same civil rights, options, and control over choices in their own lives as do people without disabilities.
The Independent Living philosophy demands the removal of infrastructural, institutional, and attitudinal barriers and the adoption of the Universal Design principle. Depending on the individual’s disability, support services such as assistive technology, income supplements or personal assistance are necessary to achieve equal opportunities.
“Independent Living does not mean that we want to do everything by ourselves, do not need anybody or like to live in isolation. Independent Living means that we demand the same choices and control in our every-day lives that our non-disabled brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends take for granted. We want to grow up in our families, go to the neighborhood school, use the same bus as our neighbors, work in jobs that are in line with our education and interests, and raise families of our own. We are profoundly ordinary people sharing the same need to feel included, recognized and loved.” ~ Dr. Adolf Ratzka