In some quarters, being disabled makes a person a victim. And they are treated accordingly, with sympathy, as an outsider, as someone who is less than equal by the standards of society.
While many disabled people accept this notion, there are also a significant block of disabled people who reject the notion completely, instead empowering themselves to do for themselves.
These are the people who are a part of the Independent Living Movement.
The Independent Living Movement sprang out of the greater awakening of civil rights in the 1960s, when a group of disabled students at the University of California, Berkeley began working toward the removal of architectural barriers on the campus and in the nearby community. The group became more organized and reached out to others who were disabled, creating a new model for how people with disabilities could be self-sufficient and learn to live on their own as much as possible.
The movement grew into a philosophy that was important because it brought together people from all walks of life with many different kinds of disabilities to unite for a single purpose. Instead of fighting between groups of disability-specific organizations, these people banded together to create a voice that was larger than the sum of its parts. For example, instead of groups advocating only for spinal cord injuries competing with other groups such as multiple sclerosis or polio, the groups joined forces, making it easier to seek institutional changes.