The Ten Principles of Independent Living

  1. Civil Rights – equal rights and opportunities for all; no segregation by disability type or stereotype.
  2. Consumerism – a person (“consumer” or “customer”) using or buying a service or product decides what is best for him/herself.
  3. De-institutionalization – no person should be institutionalized (formally by a building, program, or family) on the basis of a disability.
  4. De-medicalization – individuals with disabilities are not “sick”, as prescribed by the assumptions of the medical model and do not require help from certified medical professionals for daily living.
  5. Self-help – people learn and grow from discussing their needs, concerns, and issues with people who have had similar experiences; “professionals” are not the source of help provided.
  6. Advocacy – systemic, systematic, long-term, and community-wide change activities are needed to ensure that people with disabilities benefit from all that society has to offer.
  7. Barrier-removal – in order for civil rights, consumerism, de-institutionalization, de-medicalization, and self-help to occur, architectural, communication and attitudinal barriers must be removed.
  8. Consumer control – the organizations best suited to support and assist individuals with disabilities are governed, managed, staffed and operated by individuals with disabilities.
  9. Peer role models – leadership for independent living and disability rights is vested in individuals with disabilities (not parents, service providers or other representatives).
  10. Cross-disability – activities designed to achieve the first five principles must be cross-disability in approach, meaning that the work to be done must be carried out by people with different types of disabilities for the benefit of all persons with disabilities.

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