INDEPENDENT LIVING PHILOSOPHY: Independent Living is understood to mean that persons with disabilities are capable of controlling their own lives and participating fully in family and community activities. All citizens, regardless of disability, have the right to a job, an education, a place to live, to go into public places, and to enjoy life to the fullest. Citizens have the responsibility to be informed, to make their own decisions, and to help others.
Advocacy for Individuals:
Provided upon request to individuals with disabilities who need assistance in accessing programs or services or who feel they have been discriminated against because of their disability. Staff may provide the service directly or refer the individual for legal assistance if appropriate. DCIL Center staff will also assist individuals to learn how to advocate for themselves.
Advocacy for Systems Change:
DCIL works with area residents with disabilities to reduce architectural, program, and attitudinal barriers to independent living and increase opportunities for full participation in community life. We work on a variety of issues at the local, state, and national levels including affordable accessible housing, transportation, and accessibility of the built environment. Volunteers are always needed to assist us in our efforts to ensure people with disabilities have equal rights.
Independent Living Skills:
Assists individuals with disabilities in the development of skills and knowledge that encourage maximum independence. You can learn skills such as money management, assertiveness, and using public transportation. This service is provided individually and in groups by staff who have expertise in the desired skill area. All skills training is designed to meet the learning needs of each individual.
Information and Referral:
Getting the right information or finding out where to go for needed services can make a significant difference in the life of a person with a disability. Given the ever-changing field of disability, it often seems there is just too much information to track. Changes in laws and regulations, the introduction of new programs and opportunities, the development of new technologies or approaches to minimize the impact of a disability can all have a direct bearing on quality of life for an individual with a disability. Drawing on the cross-disability expertise of our staff, few questions or requests for information stump our collective knowledge and experience. We also have a library of books, pamphlets, and videotapes that you can borrow at no cost.
People learn and grow by discussing their needs, concerns and issues with people who have had similar experiences. Our Board of Directors, staff, and consumers collectively have a wide range of physical disabilities, hearing loss, vision loss, and developmental and psychiatric disabilities. We have years of experience in living independently with our disabilities. We've experienced all the feelings about disability, the skills needed, the resources and assistive devices, the self-advocacy. Upon request, staff will match individuals with similar disabilities or issues and concerns so that they can learn from each other and provide mutual support. You can request peer mentoring to be provided individually or we can connect you with groups that have similar disabilities or concerns.