grew out of the disability rights movement, which began in the 1960s. The IL Movement works at replacing the special education and rehabilitation experts' concepts of integration, normalisation (people with disabilities) and Physical therapy with a new paradigm developed by people with disabilities themselves. The first Independent Living ideologists and organizers were people with extensive disabilities (e.g., Ed Roberts (activist), Judith Heumann, Peg Nosek, Lex Frieden) and of course, early friends and collaborators in the 1970s (Julie Ann Racino) and university and government supporters throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Ed Roberts was a quadriplegic Richard Scotch, www.jstor.org/stable/3350150. who dealt with discrimination in many different aspects of his life. His fight for acceptance in schools, however, is what Roberts is most well known for. In high school, Roberts was stopped from graduating because he could not complete his gym requirement, as he was paralyzed and spent most of his time in an iron lung.Kim Nielsen, A Disability History of the United States His biggest educational challenge came when he was accepted at college. After struggling to get accepted, the UCBerkeley refused to give Roberts financial aid. He then sued Berkeley for access and integration. Although he won the case, Roberts was housed in school's infirmary instead of the dorms. As others with disabilities started attending the school and living in the infirmary, an activist group called the Rolling Quads was formed. They ended up starting the Disabled Students' Program, a resource for those with disabilities that was run by people with disabilities. This program led to the first independent living center in America being made, the Berkeley Center for Independent Living.Richard Scotch, www.jstor.org/stable/3350150 These centers flourished across the United States and are a huge part of why Ed Roberts was so instrumental in the start of the Independent Living Movement. Still, the movement's message seems most popular among people whose lives depend on assistance with the activities of daily living and who, in the view of the IL Movement, are most exposed to custodial care, paternalistic attitudes and control by professionals. In 2015, independent living centers are codified in law throughout the US, and offer a variety of "professional services" (i.e., independent living) under government payment structures in the US.
In the Independent Living philosophy, people with disabilities are primarily seen as citizens and only secondarily as consumers of healthcare, rehabilitation or social services. As citizens in democratic societies, the IL Movement claims, persons with disabilities have the same right to participation, to the same range of options, degree of freedom, control and self-determination in everyday life and life projects that other citizens take for granted. Thus, IL activists demand the removal of infrastructural, institutional and attitudinal barriers and the adoption of the Universal Design principle. Depending on the individual's disability, support services such as assistive technology, income supplements or personal assistance are seen as necessary to achieve equal opportunities. As emphasized by the IL Movement, needs assessment and service delivery must enable users to control their services, to freely choose among competing service providers and to live with dignity in the community. Cash benefits or Direct Payments are favored by IL activists over services in kind in terms of the outcomes for users' quality of life and cost-efficiency.
Over the years, the IL Movement has spread from Americans with disabilities to all continents, adapting itself to and getting enriched by different cultures and economic conditions in the process. A considerable body of research, training materials and examples of good practice exists on such themes as transition from institutional to community living, transition from school to employment or self-employment, community organizing and advocacy, disability culture, girls and women with disabilities as well as disability and development. Supporting the movement and utilizing its work has become an important ingredient of many countries' social policy.
"Independent Living does not mean that we want to do everything by ourselves, do not need anybody or like to live in isolation. Independent Living means that we demand the same choices and control in our every-day 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 interests, and raise families of our own. We are profoundly ordinary people sharing the same need to feel included, recognized and loved."Dr. Adolf Ratzka, http://www.independentliving.org
According to the IL Movement, with peer support, everyone – including persons with extensive developmental disabilities – can learn to take more initiative and control over their lives. For example, peer support is used in Independent Living Skills classes where people living with their families or in institutions learn how to run their everyday lives in preparation for living by themselves.
There is a fundamental set of services (Core Services) found in all of the Centers, but there is some variation in the programs that are offered, the funding sources, and the staffing, among other things. Depending on the public services in the community, Centers might assist with housing referral and adaptation, personal assistance referral, or legal aid. Typically, Centers work with local and regional governments to improve infrastructure, raise awareness about disability issues and lobby for :Category:Disability legislation and prohibits discrimination. Effective centers have proven to be in states like California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.