ETCIL’s mission is to help people with disabilities achieve greater independence, self-sufficiency, and full participation in their communities.
Independent Living Philosophy
Living independently is living much like everyone else – having the same opportunities to succeed, to fail, to make decisions, to pursue enjoyment, to learn, and to experience life.
The philosophy of Independent Living was one born out of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
American laws and policies had historically placed persons with disabilities in restrictive living environments, required massive amounts of spending to support this segregation, and ignored the desires of the individual in planning of support services.
“Nothing about us without us.” became the mantra of the 1970s – a radical departure from the traditional medical rehabilitation paradigm that treated us as “sick”. People with disabilities should have an integral part in defining their destiny and the Independent Living philosophy was born.
With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 equal access, barrier removal, anti-discrimination laws, and removal of stigmas and segregation have been goals of the Independent Living movement. Evidence is clear that people with disabilities can live full, productive lives if we learn effective coping and management skills related to our disability as well as ensuring that our living arrangements and community environment are open and accessible
In most instances, the disability does not determine the level of independence – the development of independent living skills and environment do. A proper mix of barrier minimization, disability awareness, advocacy, technical assistance, provision of role models and encouraged self-determination defines Independent Living.