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Independence

Many people with mobility disabilities live completely independent lives. Often, accomplishing that just takes a little creativity. Some of the people you work with may need little or no assistance. Others may need more support. In either case, asking “How would this work best for you” is a great way to start.

  • Make sure you are letting people make their own decisions. Don’t leave out options that you don’t think would work for them because of their disability.
  • Getting around within your facility can also be an issue. People may have trouble accessing rooms with round door handles (hard to grasp) or narrow doorways. If someone is staying in an alternate accessible location, you will need to move any programs (one-on-one advocacy, support groups, etc.) to an accessible meeting area. If a person is staying in shelter, you’ll need to provide access to all public living and program spaces.
  • When working within new systems, people may need support in asserting their rights to accommodations. Landlords, for example, may be unaware that they cannot deny tenancy to a person with a disability, or that they must allow tenants to make reasonable modifications to their buildings. More information on reasonable accommodations (PDF from hud.gov).
  • A court system must hold hearings in an accessible location, even if it means moving to a different building. Carrying someone up or down stairs is not an acceptable option unless the person with the disability wants this done.  You may need to help people find resources to assert their rights to services and programs.  Disability rights organizations are happy to work with you and /or the person with the disability to advocate for equal access.
    For more information, visit the Web sites of Vermont Center for Independent Living and Disability Rights Vermont.