Independent Living is a philosophy and a way of life. It is a worldwide movement for people with disabilities who work towards self-determination, equal opportunities and self-respect. The Independent Living Philosophy says that every person, regardless of disability, has the potential and the right to exercise individual independence. Its vision is a barrier-free society with open opportunities for all people to achieve their maximum potential. Independent Living promotes choice, total participation and advocacy for all Leaders.
John Evans, a Disability Rights, Equalities and Diversity Consultant said at a conference in London, 1989:
“The essence of Independent Living is the freedom to make decisions about your own life and to participate fully in the community.”
Independent living is not about being able to do everything by themselves, but rather about having the choice to live life with the help of a Personal Assistant. Many people have misconceptions about the term 'Independent Living', taking it to mean that a person should be able to live independently without any help. Independent Living means that a person with a disability can take control and lead their own lives, with the help of a Personal Assistant. It gives them the freedom to live life their way and make their own choices.
The Centre of Independent Living takes a different approach to the concept, and believes that independent living is not about being able to do everything by oneself, but rather about having the choice to live life with the help of a Personal Assistant, taking the responsibility of the Leader's needs from the shoulders of family members or partners.
Another movement relevant to Independent Living and its' philosophy is "The Social Model of Disabilities", which was created to change society’s attitude towards people with disabilities, believe that access, equality and inclusion are basic rights for all people. It states that society must recognize and accommodate to all individual needs. It looks at ways of removing barriers that restrict life choices for disabled people, and when these barriers are lifted, individuals with disabilities can be independent and equal in the community with control and choices over their own lives.
We focus on the problems of society by "disabling" attitudes and on removing those barriers which prevent people with a disability to become fully involved.