Disability, autonomy and the principle of independent living

The person with disabilities recognizes himself with health, social, technical and human needs. But he also recognizes himself capable of controlling his own life, of deciding and evaluating his own situation and making decisions about it. This is stated by the Independent Living movement that in the world has demanded respect for individual decisions, as far as possible in each case.
In our country, Law No. 20,422 (2010) establishes the rules on Equal Opportunities and Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (National Disability Service: Senadis). This law is based on five universal principles corresponding to: independent living; universal accessibility; universal design; intersectoriality; and participation and social dialogue. All of them, aimed at favoring autonomy and the development of individual freedom.
Today I want to focus on the principle of Independent Living, since, as a Work Skills Program, we aim directly at this purpose, by providing access to people with disabilities to university education and the labor market.
Senadis points out that this principle is related to the fact that the State is the one that will allow a person to make decisions, exercise acts autonomously and participate actively in the community. In general, progress has been made in inclusion for people with disabilities, although there are still gaps, such as those that Teletón highlights during its campaign.
At this point it is important to ask ourselves what happens to people with intellectual disabilities (PcDi), of whom we perceive, at the time of reaching Higher Education, that in the previous stages their autonomy or independence from the School and the Family has not been sufficiently enhanced.
It is only in this context that we begin to talk about these issues, to listen to them, to validate their opinion, to present the community and to generate actions to enhance their social inclusion through work practices, field trips, curricular activities with students of other careers, participation in sports, cultural workshops, as well as motivating them to live university life.
This is how this fundamental principle requires work with educators, parents and people with intellectual disabilities themselves in order to advance in this area.
It is necessary the presence of high expectations and an articulated work that from childhood points to the development of the future independent life of that child, who will be able to decide what he wants to do when he is of age, since until now it is the families who are making the decisions for the children, advised by professional teams, but without making them participate or exercising their rights as people.

Likewise, it is essential to give them the necessary tools so that the principle of Independent Living is not reflected only in a policy, but is practiced daily and thus we can break down the barriers that still exist and that do not allow to guarantee the social inclusion of all people.

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The content expressed in this opinion column is the sole responsibility of its author, and does not necessarily reflect the editorial line or position of El Mostrador.

Original source in Spanish

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