Image shows the Art Loyola building at NUIG
Aras Loyola, NUIG.

I’m doing my placement at the Galway Centre for Independent Living.

It’s a great place the offer some great services.

The Independent Living Movement came about because of the disability rights movement in the US, which started in the 1960s.

Ed Roberts was a quadriplegic who dealt with discrimination. His fight for acceptance in schools, however, is what Roberts is most well known for. In high school, he was stopped from graduating because he could not complete his gym requirement, as he was paralysed and spent most of his time in an iron lung.

His biggest educational challenge came when he was accepted at college. After struggling to get accepted, Berkeley refused to give Roberts financial aid. He then sued Berkeley for access and integration.

Although he won the case, Roberts was housed in school’s infirmary instead of the dorms. As others with disabilities started attending the school and living in the infirmary, an activist group called the Rolling Quads was formed. They ended up starting the Disabled Students’ Program, a resource for those with disabilities that was run by people with disabilities. This program led to the first independent living centre in America being made.

The movement’s message seems most popular among people whose lives depend on assistance with the activities of daily living and who, in the view of the IL Movement, are most exposed to custodial care, paternalistic attitudes and control by professionals.

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