As one of the first Centers for Independent Living in the country, CIL in Central Florida was created to help provide resources and accessibility options for people with disabilities. Since its establishment as a place where people with disabilities can empower other individuals with disabilities, CIL stands committed to continue the growth for full disability inclusion. The vision of our founders has endured. CIL is an role model organization where the majority of staff and volunteers life with disabilities themselves. In the past 10 years, over 26,000 lives have directly been impacted by CIL.
Why Do We Work For Inclusion?
We believe the strength of a community comes from the inclusion of all of its people regardless of disability. If someone cannot access their community, they also cannot contribute to putting value into their community. One in five people in the United States have a disability, making it the largest minority population in the United States – and the world. Every single person (including you) is left with the reality that at any time, at any age, anyone can have a disability and have to relearn how to adapt to the world we live in.
What Is A Disability?
A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Disability can be anything ranging from asthma to cancer, mental illness to amputated limbs, hearing impairments to blindness, epilepsy to muscular dystrophy, or anything between. Everyone has the right to make their own decisions about how to live their own life. CIL works tirelessly to provide the resources and tools needed to create accessible and inclusive environments conducive to achieving independence.
How Do We Define Inclusion?
Every person deserves the right to live their lives the way they choose. When we look into our communities, we can identify five core areas where inclusion can be measured: Access to Valuable Employment, Adaptive & Assistive Technology, Affordable and Safe Housing, Access to Transportation, and the Ability to Self-Advocate.
Since the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed in 1990, Central Florida has made great progress towards becoming more inclusive. You can see it every day in your own neighborhood: sidewalk ramps, audible crosswalks, designated parking spaces, closed captions, and so much more. By growing our community with inclusion and acceptance for people with disabilities in mind, we can create accessible communities that will benefit everyone.
What Are The Challenges?
With over 350,000 people in Central Florida with a disability, the resources needed to assist the disability population have only grown. This number has steadily grown every year since CIL's founding in 1976 as anyone, at any time, can join the disability community. We remain dedicated to removing the physical, societal, and communicative barriers to inclusion and access that keep people with disabilities from achieving their full potential.
CIL, in partnership with the community, promotes inclusion of people with disabilities by eliminating architectural, communication and attitudinal barriers. CIL provides education, resources and training to enhance self-determination through informed choice.