Independent Living is a movement led by those of us with disabilities. We are organizing and advocating for systematic change, and promoting the human and civil rights of all people with disabilities. People with disabilities are experts about their own needs … “Nothing about us without us” as we say. The environment here at Access to Independence promotes respect and values each individual’s contributions.
We provide the tools and resources necessary for people who have disabilities to be autonomous, navigate their own future and fully integrate into and contribute to their communities.
Federal Laws Supporting the Independent Living Movement
1968 – Architectural Barriers Act (designed to eliminate architectural barriers in all federally owned or leased buildings)
1970 – Urban Mass Transit Act (required that all new purchases of mass transit vehicles be life equipped; APTA sought and won a court injunction barring implementation of the proposed regulations)
1973 – Rehabilitation Act (Section 504 and related non–discrimination provisions in programs receiving federal funds)
1975 – Developmental Disabilities Bill of Rights Act (Protection & Advocacy or P&A agencies in each state established)
1975 – P.L. 94-142, Education of All Handicapped Children Act (written to require a free, appropriate public education for children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment; mainstreaming children with disabilities into regular classrooms)
1978 – Rehabilitation Act Amendments (Title VII, Comprehensive Services for Independent Living, was created; Part B funded creation and operation of “centers”)
1983 – Rehabilitation Act Amendments (mandated that each state operate a Client Assistance Project or CAP; Title VII Part A funded by services for IL clients – a concept parallel to the basic VR program)
1985 – Mental Illness Bill of Rights Act (Expanded P&As to cover mental illness)
1986 – Rehabilitation Act Amendments (advocates fought for and
won “consumer control” for Title VII Part B center boards; supported work programs created and funded)
1988 – Air Carrier Access Act (designed to provide for equal access on private airlines)
1988 – Civil Rights Restoration Act (clarified that any organization or corporation receiving federal funds may not discriminate in any of their programs)
1988 – Fair Housing Act Amendments (prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in housing and creates universal design in new construction provisions)
1990 – Americans with Disabilities Act (creates broad civil rights protections for people with disabilities modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973)
* Maggie Shreve is a consultant to ILCs. This paper was written under a federal grant for an ILC Training Module, around 1982.