Centers for Independent Living

Moving right along, promised you a page on the Center for Independent Living. Let’s do it!

As Virgil’s (sweet, lovable guide dog that he is) Mom was telling me, Centers for Independent Living (CIL) are pretty much all over in the United States. At Virtual CIL you can click a state and a list for that state appears. CIL does appear to be international at least on a small scale. I found one in Dublin, Ireland. Where else? No clue. My browser keeps routing me back to local offerings. Too much like work to try to find many more. Check under Center for Independent Living in your area.

Centers for Independent Living are often funded by government rehabilitation agencies. However, I was told they do have some discretionary funds to use with those who don’t qualify for government funding.

CIL offers peer counseling from people who have practical experience living with your disability. They also offer advocacy. Although they work to support legislation for disability rights and teach self-advocacy, they provide more practical support like helping clients get better transportation or housing as well.

Skill training is a big part of CIL according to the websites. They are reported to not only run educational programs to help people DIY but also to help find trustworthy and reliable caregivers and even financial advisers.

Under the heading of information and referral, they list a variety of things. It sounds as if they may have speakers. Referrals to specialists and suggestions for home modifications and adaptive equipment are likewise within their purview.

Other services? They have LIMITED funds to do basic structural modifications that will allow you to continue to live at home. We are talking things like lowering a section of counter if you are wheelchair bound, not renovating so you have a state of the art, gourmet kitchen.

CIL also offers an awareness program so young people and other, similarly ignorant folks can experience ‘having’ a disability. There is disability sensitivity training – although I daresay one of the camp kids I met had some of the BEST, semi tasteless blind jokes ever! – as well as Americans with Disability Act compliance training for employers and training for firefighters and other emergency responders on how to rescue us – and deal with us! – if need be.

It does sound as if Centers for Independent Living can be a good resource for us who need just a little extra support and knowledge to make it happen as VIPs (visually impaired persons). Of course, like everything in life, individual results may vary. There are dozens of these centers and I would suspect quality of services is not the same everywhere. What I know I learned from a CIL employee who is proud of the job she is doing and a web page or two. Go check it out and report back. Your experiences cannot help others unless you report them. Here is your forum.

written July 30th, 2017

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