Seven Needs Of Independent Living
The Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People is commited to the Seven Needs of Independent Living
A list of what disabled people need to be independent (have choice and control over our own lives) was developed in the 1980s by the Disabled People’s Movement:
1. Information. To be able to make choices, we need to know what we can choose between. Information needs to be accessible to us, for example available on audio tape, Braille, by British Sign Language video, on computer disc, in large print, in symbols, or being told to us by a person.
2. Peer Support. Once we have information, we need to meet other disabled people to share knowledge and experience – this is peer support.
3. Housing. This is a basic need for everyone. For disabled people our housing needs to be accessible to us – that is to suit our needs. For example, level access or wider doors, calming or contrasting colours, etc.
4. Equipment, or aids and adaptations. For example: flashing door/smoke alarm, kettle tipper, liquid level indicator, hoist, adaptive computer equipment/software, adjustable height desk, etc.
5. Personal Assistance. As often equipment is not the answer, many disabled people employ someone to assist them. This enables people to be in control of how and when the assistance is given. It also prevents reliance on informal support such as family and friends.
6. Accessible transport. This includes: buses, trains, trams, taxis, planes and cars.
7. Accessible environment. That is roads, paths, buildings, parks, theatres, schools, colleges, train stations, airports, shops, places to work, basically everywhere being designed in a way that disabled people can use them as easily as non-disabled people.
Access is not only physical (wider doors, lifts, ramps, appropriate furniture). It also includes spoken communication, appropriate language (whether British Sign Language, plain English or other), and suitable written communication, such as large print, Braille, etc.