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Independent Living Introduction (What is it?)

Independent Living, as seen by its advocates, is a philosophy, a way of looking at disability and society, and a worldwide movement of people with disabilities who proclaim to work for self-determination, self-respect and equal opportunities.

In most countries, proponents of the Independent Living Movement claim preconceived notions and a predominantly medical view of disability contribute to negative attitudes towards people with disabilities, portraying them as sick, defective and deviant persons, as objects of professional intervention, as a burden for themselves and their families, dependent on other people's charity. These images, in the Independent Living analysis, have consequences for disabled people's opportunities for raising families of their own, getting education and work, which, in turn, result in persons with disabilities making up a large portion of the poor in any country.

Independent Living means controlling and directing your own life. It means taking risks and being allowed to succeed and fail on your own terms. It means participating in community life and pursuing activities of your own choosing. Independent Living is knowing what choices are available, selecting what is right for you, and taking responsibility for your own actions.

For people with disabilities affecting their ability to make complicated decisions or pursue complex activities, independent living means being as self-sufficient as possible. It means being able to exercise the greatest degree of choice in where you live, with whom you live, how to live, where you work, with whom you work and how to use your time.

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