Center for Independent Living - information and services
Posted Nov 17 2009 10:20pm
First I'd like to thank you for your website and newsletter. What awesome information you find and pass along. I'm quite sure I am not the only one with MS who appreciates all you do.
Second, I have a suggestion for information you might want to consider including. I work for a Center for Independent Living (CIL). We are a non-profit organization run by people with disabilities for people with disabilities. We are dedicated to empowering people with disabilities (of any sort) to achieve equal rights, equal opportunties and integration into their communities. Centers for Independent Living embrace the core concepts of the independent living philosophy which are: consumer control, self-advocacy, community change and cross-disability participation.
One of the bases of the IL philosophy is that everyone, no matter what his or her disability, a the right to make his or her own informed decisions - not just about medical care but about every aspect of their life.
Through advocacy efforts, CIL's in various areas of the country have been instrumental in bringing about accessible transportation, affordable and accessible housing and home modification programs, among other things. For example, through grants we have obtained, we can pay for home modifications such as adding a wheelchair ramp, widening doorways and making bathrooms more accessible. We also have a nursing home transition leader who identifies individuals in nursing homes who can live independently with the support of community based services, and helps these people transition back into their own homes. In addition, we have the equipment to convert restaurant menu's, business brochures and any other written information into large print and/or Braille.
Some CIL's have equipment loan closets and grants to provide individuals various items of durable medical equipment,wheelchairs, scooters, etc.
CIL's can also help people with disabilities access other resources, help with finding employment (including resume writing and interview techniques), provide independent living skills training (such as helping a person with a visual impairment learn how to cook, a person with a physical impairment learn how to clean or take public transportation), provide area businesses with questions about accessibility, and help individuals advocate for themselves when faced with discrimination or a barrier, along with peer support (pairing up with people with a similar disability who have been specially trained for support). While each CIL will vary in some of the services they offer, all offer the core services, as well as a plethora of disability resources.
Sadly, in most areas very few people know such a center exists. Every day I get calls from people who say they had no idea we existed, despite the fact that our center has been in existence over 20 years. In the 6 months I have worked at the CIL, we have had only 1 call from a person with MS. That is why I am hoping you can get the word out. Those interested can go to the following link which lists CILs in each state, Washington, D.C. and Puerto RIco. By clicking on the state they live in, they will get a list of centers in their state with appropriate contact information. Services are provided free of charge to anyone with a disability. http://www.virtualcil.net/cils/