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Centers for Independent Living

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Centers for Independent Living

Centers for Independent Living offer a wide variety of services for persons with disabilities. The four main services they provide are as follows:

- Information and referral. Centers maintain comprehensive information files on accessible housing; transportation; employment opportunities; personal care attendants; interpreters for persons with hearing impairments; readers for persons with visual impairments; and on many other services.

- Independent living skills training. Centers provide training courses to help people with disabilities gain skills that would enable them to live more independently.

- Peer counseling. Centers offer services in which a person with a disability can work with others who have disabilities and who are living independently in the community.

- Advocacy. Centers provide two kinds of advocacy: 1) Consumer advocacy, which involves working with persons with disabilities to obtain necessary support services from other agencies in the community, and 2) Community advocacy, which involves staff, board members, and volunteers initiating activities to makes changes in the community that make it easier for all persons with disabilities to live more independently.

Independent Living Centers have a majority of people with disabilities on their governing boards, and they hire qualified people with disabilities to fill management and other staff positions. These centers showed that no one - not even doctors or therapists - knew more about needs of people with disabilities than the people themselves.

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