The Importance of Independent Living for People with Disabilities

The philosophy of Independent Living holds as its axiom that disabled individuals are themselves better at assessing their needs than anyone else. This is a form of disability empowerment. To be able to direct their lives, such people with disabilities must organize so that they will have the political power to promote solutions for their dignity and voice. Among the ways that they can be empowered are with self-representation, de-institutionalization, and de-medicalization.

With the empowerment that more independence affords them, disabled people can attain a sense of autonomy. If provided the ability to participate in society without the barriers of institutional control and to stereotype, these individuals can have normalcy, a condition that allows them to attain a sense of pride and freedom and control over their lives. Oftentimes, assistive technology is tremendously helpful in supplementing ability. Also, service deliveries controlled by the choices of individuals support their desire for independence better than institutional control. Cash benefits have been found to be superior to services in-kind regarding users’ quality of life and cost-efficiency because the individuals are afforded the choice of what will best serve them. With such benefits, disabled individuals can take the initiative in directing their lives and act as experts on their particular needs.

The Individual Living approach affords individuals with disabilities the opportunities for personal choices and the benefits of technology that can assist in their independence. With this independence, such disabled persons have an enhanced pride in themselves. For, they can live more independently as they direct the course of their lives without the imposition of a public agency. Like others, they are individuals with personal desires, and by having more independence, they can better fulfill these yearnings. Most importantly, with the Independent Living Approach, disabled people have many of the same opportunities that non-disabled people do. This approach allows these disabled individuals to live with equal opportunities and thrive within their own terms and conditions.