Why is Independence Important for People with Disabilities?

At Community Access Care, we understand the importance of independence and strive towards continually providing support to our Participants so they can achieve just that! 

While independence may look different for a lot of people, it is equally important for similar reasons. 

What does independence mean for people with disabilities? 

Independence means a person with a disability can have individual autonomy, i.e. make their own decisions and take control of their life. 

For people who struggle in certain areas of their lives due to their disability, this is vital for their mental health and improved quality of life. Through our disability support and independent living services, the Community Access Care team has seen firsthand the positive effect of Participants having control in their lives. It can hugely impact their motivation to be active members of their community.

Individual autonomy means Participants can:

  • Make decisions regarding their life that others may not understand (nor do they have to), including physical, social, economic and cultural environments they want to be in
  • Have a say in the treatment and services they receive
  • Utilise their right to refuse treatment and services
  • Choose someone they trust to make decisions for them should they be unable to 
  • Engage in a sexual relationship that aligns with their sexual orientation 
  • Have the same voting right as adults who don’t have a disability 
  • Access information regarding their human and legal rights

Why is independence so important? 

Sadly mental health is a huge issue for the disability community. It can be easy for people not receiving the right type of disability support or social support to feel disconnected from their community for fear of not fitting in. Understandably,  detrimental thoughts of inadequacy can quickly take root in people who are unable to communicate, have a physical impairment or exhibit physical behaviours not typically seen in the community.

Helping Participants gain the confidence to be decisive is proven to improve mental health.

How to encourage independence? 

The first step is to be supportive

Believe us, it is hard enough for people with disabilities to deal with the outside world without their loved ones not respecting their choices to live as they want. Being supported by the people closest to them may give them the self-confidence to use their voice, accept their value and lead their lives with dignity. Patience and positivity are key.

Create opportunities for decision-making

The key to independence is being certain of your choices. For people with disability, this can be difficult, whether because of their disability or lack of confidence. Start with small, simple tasks to be decided on in their everyday lives. 

For example:

  • What clothes they would like to wear 
  • What food they would like to eat 
  • What activities they would like to do each day

Encourage peer friendships

The goal is always to bridge the gap between people with disabilities and society, but research shows that peer relationships are vital for developing independence. Peer interactions can allow Participants to feel safe, safe space allows them to come out of their shells and have fun. 

Building confidence is an important and ongoing process for those seeking independence and may take time. But it can lead to small groups of Participants feeling comfortable enough to go out in the community because they feel safe with their friends.

Community Access Care fosters Participant independence

Our Supported Independent Living (SIL) services allow participants to take charge of their day-to-day activities while improving their daily living skills. This boosts their confidence in their decision-making skills and takes them one step closer to caring for themselves. 

From the Community Access Care monthly activity calendar to our weekly Social BBQ, we offer Participants various situations to engage with their peers and other community members to help improve their social skills, find who they are in social situations and most importantly, find their voice. 

There is no better time than the present to help your loved one build their decision-making skills and self-assurance with the goal of living independently.

Get in touch with our friendly team, and we will assist you as soon as we can:
Phone: 1300 522 104
Email: [email protected]