Independent Living Philosophy

We make Independence personal.

One definition of independent living is “control over one’s life based on the choice of acceptable options that minimize reliance on others in making decisions and performing everyday activities.”

This includes managing one’s own affairs, participating in day-to-day life in the community, fulfilling a range of social roles, and making decisions that lead to self-determination and the minimization of psychological or physical dependence on others. Independence is a relative concept, which may be defined personally by each individual. (DeLoach, Wilkins, and Walker, 1983).

The Independent Living philosophy is one of consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access, and individual and system advocacy in order to maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence, and productivity of individuals with disabilities, with the goal of integration and full inclusion of individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of American Society by:



  • Exercising the greatest degree of choice about where one lives.
  • With whom one lives, and how one lives.
  • Having opportunities to participate in all aspects of community life.
  • Making decisions.
  • Taking responsibility for one’s own actions.
  • Controlling and directing one’s own life.
  • Taking risks and being allowed to fail.
  • Asserting one’s rights and responsibilities as a first class citizen.

It does not mean:

  • Being taken care of;
  • Accepting an attitude of learned helplessness;
  • Not being allowed to take risks;
  • The Medical Model of Disability (quote: “…a medical model of disability is used to justify large investment in medical procedures, technologies and research, when adaptation of the disabled person’s environment might ultimately be more beneficial to the society at large, as well as financially cheaper and physically more attainable”);
  • Not having the same access to life and living as those without disabilities;
  • Having no choices or options…

And the list could go on and on, as it applies to each individual.