Help us continue to provide community support and services.

Disability Action Center NW

Principles of Independent Living


  • Civil Rights – There must be no discrimination on the basis of disability.
  • Consumerism – A consumer or customer is the best authority when purchasing a service or product and his or her wishes must be respected.
  • Equal access – All community activities must be fully accessible to all people with disabilities.
  • Community-based services – All programs and services that are community-based must be physically located in a non-institutional setting in their community and be responsive to the needs identified by people with disabilities in that community.
  • De-medicalization – Individuals with disabilities are not always “sick” and may not require help from certified medical professionals for daily living.
  • Self-help – People learn and grow from discussing their needs, concerns, and issues with people who have had similar experiences
  • Advocacy – Systemic community-wide change activities are needed to ensure that people with disabilities benefit from all that society has to offer.
  • Cross-disability – Programs and services must stress the full equality and participation of all persons with disabilities regardless of type or extent of disability.
  • Barrier-removal – Architectural, communication and attitudinal barriers must be removed to ensure that people are able to fully participate in their communities. .
  • Consumer control – The organizations best suited to support and assist individuals with disabilities are governed, managed, staffed and operated by individuals with disabilities.
  • Community-based living – No person should be institutionalized on the basis of a disability.
  • Peer support – The individuals best suited to support, assist, and guide people with disabilities are other people with disabilities.
  • Confidentiality – All people have a right to receive assistance without sacrificing their privacy.
Developed by Bob Michaels with the assistance of the Illinois SILC and the European Network on Independent Living (2013)