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GDA is proud to be part of a disabled-people led history of social change, rooted in the Independent Living Movement.

For centuries, disabled people were segregated from society, forced into institutions, and told this was for our own good. Out of this oppression, the Independent Living Movement was born.

Social Model of Disability

Disabled people realised that the inequality and exclusion we face is not caused by our impairments or conditions – but by the barriers we face living in a world that was not designed for us. This means it is not disabled people who needed to be ‘fixed’ – but society.

Disabled people – including some of GDA’s founding members-  fought long and hard for their rights to Independent Living: these were finally enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which the UK ratified in 2009.

GDA is a member of the Scottish Independent Living Coalition.

Together, disabled people led organisations identified 15 Rights that we need to achieve Independent Living. These are the things that need to be in place to create a level playing field for disabled people:

  • Accessible Transport
  • Accessible Housing
  • Accessible Environment
  • Healthcare
  • Social Care Support
  • Aids and Equipment
  • Accessible Information
  • Communication Support
  • Participation
  • Decent Income
  • Inclusive Education
  • Employment and Training
  • Peer Support
  • Advocacy
  • Legal Rights and Justice