The Independent Living Philosophy

Independent living is a philosophy and a movement by people with disabilities who work for self-determination, equal opportunities and self-respect. Independent living is about having choices and about having the right to make those choices, to make one’s own mistakes, and to learn from them in the same way that people without disabilities can. People with disabilities must be empowered to take control over their own lives.

Centers for independent living promote a philosophy of consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access, and individual and systems advocacy in order to maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence, and the integration and full inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the main stream of American society.  (Rehabilitation Services Administration – 1992)

Independent living does not mean that we want to do everything by ourselves and so, not need anybody or that we want to live in isolation.  Independent living means that we demand the same choices and control in our everyday 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 abilities, start families of our own.  *. Just as everybody else, we need to be in charge of our lives, think and speak for ourselves. To this end we need to 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.

-Adolf Ratzka