Disability Network Southwest Michigan – Independent Living Program

For over 30 years, Disability Network Southwest Michigan has been the first stop for people with disabilities and their families – providing independent living, information and referral, peer support, and advocacy and community education services to people across all disabilities. Disability is a normal part of life. It will impact each and every person in the U.S., directly or indirectly through a family member or friend. Disability does not discriminate. More than 80% of Americans will experience disability in their lifetime, either first-hand or by knowing someone with a disability. Too often, living with a disability limits choices for involvement and presents barriers to full and equal participation in community life. Disability is a civil rights and diversity issue. Since disability is about all of us, it requires us to build inclusive communities and to change attitudes about living with a disability. To ensure that the skills and talents of workers and community members with disabilities are not wasted, the independent living programs maximize the leadership, empowerment, independence and productivity of individuals with disabilities and create inclusive communities in which to thrive. Disability Network Southwest Michigan is filling a gap in programming in our community. Its Independent Living Program reduces or eliminates barriers to employment, education and self-sufficiency for people with disabilities and helps people with disabilities achieve social/emotional self-sufficiency by teaching effective problem solving and self-advocacy skills.