The history of independent living is closely tied to the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s among African Americans. Basic issues–disgraceful treatment based on bigotry and erroneous stereotypes in housing, education, transportation, and employment — and the strategies and tactics are very similar. This history and its driving philosophy also have much in common with other political and social movements of the country in the late 1960s and early 1970s. There were at least five movements that influenced the disability rights movement.
Tips for communication with those who have disabilities. Tips include:
- When talking with a person with a disability, speak directly to that person rather than through a companion or sign language interpreter who may be present.
- When introduced to a person with a disability, it is appropriate to offer to shake hands. People with limited hand use or who wear an artificial limb can usually shake hands. (Shaking hands with the left hand is an acceptable greeting.)
Every individual with disabilities has a right to be safe, respected, and to live a life free of violence.
- Up to 85% of women with disabilities are victims of domestic abuse (Colorado Department of Health)
- Powers et. al. (2002) study found women with physical and physical and cognitive disabilities:
- 67% experienced physical abuse in their lifetime
- 53% experienced sexual abuse in their lifetime.
- 2001 Study documented 3.4 times the rate of abuse among children with disabilities (Boystown, Sullivan & Knutson)
People with disabilities assisting people with disabilities to achieve Independent Living goals. Staff, with disabilities, become roll models, mentors, and advocates for people learning to live with disabilities.
We are gathered here both to shed our tears as the empty chair rolls past,
and to celebrate and to dedicate ourselves until the last.
For the work he did and the friends he made remain although he’s gone:
Freedom for all! Justice for all! Lead on! Lead on! Lead on!