Cape Organization for Rights of the Disabled



Principal Features of Independent Living

Consumer control over policy and management decisions

Persons with disabilities control decisions governing organizational policies and procedures, the provision of services, and community activities.

Consumer control over service objectives and methods

This aspect of independent living services places primary responsibility for identifying service needs, setting independent living goals and objectives, and making decisions about service participation with the person (consumer) who is receiving services.

Cross-disability emphasis

Independent living emphasizes responsiveness to the needs of all persons wtih disabilities. This separates the independent living program from those which emphasize services to a particular disability group.

Community-based and community responsive

Independent living centers are designed to be responsible and accessible to the disability community in their service locale and to significantly involve the community in setting program priorities.

Peer role modeling

The emphasis on peer role modeling in independent living reflects a belief that persons with disabilities can greatly benefit from the perspectives and support of their peers who have successfully achieved meaningful, productive lives in their communities.

Provision of a range of services

Independent living is responsive to various consumer needs for knowledge, skills, options, and support associated with achieving personal independence. A range of services is provided. These include such services as attendant care services, housing services, transportation services, educational services, vocational services, equipment services, communication services, legal services, and social/recreational services.

An emphasis on community advocacy

Independent living recognizes that in order for persons with disabilities to achieve independent lifestyles, environmental and social barriers in the community must be eliminated. There is thus a dual commitment to both individual services and community advocacy activities conducted to enhance opportunities for persons with disabilities to have equal access to all aspects of community life and to achieve meaningful integration into society.

Open and ongoing access to services

Independent living services are open and available to persons with disabilities on an ongoing basis, reflecting their ongoing and continuing needs and interests.

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