1. Don’t discount or dismiss our experiences and/or requests.
If we tell you something is inaccessible, or we’ve experienced mistreatment, please don’t tell us
that we are overreacting or might have misunderstood. If you are a person without disabilities,
it’s possible that you might not fully grasp our experiences.
2. Don’t leave us hanging in awkward social situations.
Check-in beforehand about how we want to be supported when we encounter problematic
attitudes from others when we are out in public. We will let you know if we want you to come to
our defense, stay silent, or do something else. Everyone has a preference for how they want to
be supported when encountering challenges.
3. Please be honest when communicating with people with disabilities.
Some people are hesitant to criticize people with disabilities because they don’t want to look like
a bad person. If we say or do something you disapprove of, please let us know in a respectful
and considerate way. Your honesty could help us recognize and reduce what may be
considered problematic or socially unacceptable behavior.
4. Please attend events focused on disability and encourage others to do so as well!
Comedy, music, films, and poetry are just some of the creative ways people with disabilities use
to express themselves. Some people avoid attending these events because they think they will
be overwhelmed with feelings of pity for the artist. Try thinking of the individual as a whole
person with a valuable contribution, not just their disability. If you know of a cool event that
spotlights disability, you can help make it a success by encouraging your friends and family to
5. Disability is individualized.
Realize that everyone experiences disability differently based on the other identities (race,
class, gender, sexuality, etc.). There isn’t one universal disability experience. It’s best to keep an
6. Ask, don’t assume.
Please ask someone with a disability if they need help before assisting them. Also, ask how to
best support them and please wait for us to say “yes” before assisting. Please accept if we
choose to say “no.”
7. Be polite when asking questions.
While some people with disabilities are happy to answer questions, others are not. If you have a
question about someone's disability, please ask politely, and don’t be offended if someone
declines to answer. You can always research it if they decline.
8. You're going to make mistakes as an ally, and that’s ok!
A great ally is someone who feels comfortable around those with disabilities. You will make mistakes as an ally, but then you will learn from them. It’s okay! No one is perfect. So please don’t be shy about interacting with us. Your solidarity goes a long way in building a more inclusive society.
Introducing the Blind and Visually Impaired Program
Posted on January 4, 2024
The Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) Program is designed to provide services to individuals experiencing vision loss or blindness beginning at age 18. Have you noticed you need glasses? Would bumps on your microwave help you find the right button? These are examples of needs we can help you with through our BVI Program. Additionally, we can help with devices, orientation, mobility training, and much more. To be eligible for this program, you would have to:
1) be 18-54 years of age
2) not be employed or seeking job retention
3) and not be a part of the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR)
For more information, contact your county’s Blind and low-vision coordinator through our contact page at: https://ilrc-trico.org/ or call: Ventura: (805) 650-5993, Santa barbara: (805) 963-0595, San Luis Obispo: (805) 925-0015.
Posted on December 7, 2023
We know that finding a Personal Care Assistant is not always easy. Many people often find themselves searching through many sources for a Personal Care Assistant to help them with activities of daily life such as bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, cooking, eating, driving, shopping, recreation, reading, and so on. QuickMatch is a single source. The searchable database is utilized by our Housing and Supports Specialist and is composed of individuals who are privately paid Caregivers and In-Home Supportive Service (IHSS) providers. We hope that QuickMatch can help make the search for a Caregiver a little quicker and a little easier so you can focus on the other important parts of your life.
Disability Entrepreneurship Workshop
Posted on August 5, 2022
On August 16th, from 1:00 - 2:30 pm, join the Independent Living Resource Center on Zoom and learn how to become an entrepreneur with a disability. Matt Lowe will facilitate the workshop. Matt is a local advocate with a disability who has started several consulting businesses. Matt will discuss the resources people with disabilities can use to make a small business vision a reality.
Each attendee also will receive an optional free half-hour consultation with Matt to get more support around their idea following the workshop
What Disability Pride Means to Me
Posted on July 22, 2022
With the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in July 1990, the month of July is Disability Pride Month. It’s hard to imagine sometimes, but that was 32 years ago! Each ADA Anniversary allows self-advocates to reflect on how their conditions bring them strength. It also allows for calls to action in improving accessibility across the country and the world.
The first word I thought of while writing this piece is “intergenerational.” This word means relating to people in different age categories. Whether you are Gen Z or a Baby Boomer, everyone will probably experience disabilities in one way or another. The chance of getting a disability increases as we age. So, people in each generation should learn lessons from those before and after theirs.
An event with valuable insights was when Judy Heumann spoke at the University of Georgia (UGA) a few years ago at the 2019 Georgia Disability History Symposium. The discussion happened while I attended UGA. As someone who lives in both pre-and post-ADA worlds, Judy highlighted the benefits it brought when signed while also recognizing the struggles that still exist long after. This is particularly the case for people with disabilities in other minority groups (race/ethnicity, LGBTQ+, etc.). One final thing that Judy discussed is switching words like “special needs” or “different abilities” in favor of using "disability" to help erase the stigma of having a condition. It’s a natural part of living that should be embraced, not feared.
Judy Heumann may not remember me from everyone she has met at all her public speaking events, but I certainly will remember the lessons I’ve learned from her and so many powerhouses that have come before. I will also work to pay it forward to future generations of self-advocates by both sharing views and learning about new perspectives. We all travel this road called life, and it's wonderful sharing it with others. Community connectedness is a huge part of Disability Pride. It is something to celebrate each July and always!
Image Description: Judy Heumann and Emily Bridges smile at the camera in front of a banner for the 2019 Georgia Disability History Symposium. Judy is a white woman in a wheelchair with short brown hair. She wears glasses, a multicolored shirt, and black pants and shoes. Emily is a white woman with shoulder-length blond hair. She wears glasses, a black and white patterned shirt, a dark blue shrug, and black pants and shoes.
Is the Word Disability Becoming Politically Incorrect?
Posted on July 7, 2022
“Jacob, Santa Barbara has a service where… and I hate to use this word… “ I sit looking at my new house-mate trying not to roll my eyes as he utters this supposedly “bad” word. This word was so terrible to him, it was as if a curse would come to bear if he dared utter it. With terror and hesitation in his voice, he said the dreaded word. It started with the prefix “dis” and ended with the suffix “ity. I couldn’t believe it! My housemate (a 55-year-old man with cerebral palsy) was ashamed to use the term disability when talking about para-transit. All over my new community, I’ve found that the word “disability” is on its way out. It has been deemed offensive by do-gooders everywhere. A recent article in a local non-profit newsletter was titled, “The nicest things to say to a disabled person.” The list included this statement, “You don’t seem disabled to me.”
What does a disabled person seem like? Are we all foaming at the mouth, crying when we can’t watch "People’s Court" on time, or screaming our name repeatedly like Timmy on South Park? I feel sorry for the writer of the article because it’s clear that they have never seen the strength of our community. They think it’s a compliment to tell someone they’re not a member of the disability club I wonder if the same writer would suggest that white people tell their black friends that they don’t appear to be African-American. No, people have been fired, shamed, and vilified for claiming that a minority is “just like the dominant group” or “one of the good ones.” Even the saying, “I don’t see race; I see people“ has been panned in many circles for failing to validate the experience of the targeted group. Sadly, many people do not see disability as a culture or a shared experience so they look for ways to separate us from our
roots, thinking that this would make us feel good.
I’ve had friends invite me to talk about how it feels to be "Differently Abled" and what life is like having "Special Challenges". A fourth-grade teacher had a long debate with her co-workers about how to refer to the disability community during a school-wide awareness day. They finally came up with the confusing term, “People who have overcome challenges” or some such mess. In grad school I encountered an article that talked about “people with special learning abilities.” It took me 15 minutes to figure out the writers were talking about folks with learning disabilities.
But wait a minute…. Maybe the disability community could use this discomfort with the word “disability” to our advantage. Every city in the U.S. could vote on a different name for us and then we could sell a directory of how we are named in each locality. For instance, persons with disabilities could be called ”Supremely Normal” in San Francisco, while in New York we could be the “Big Apple’s Brightest Stars.” All the support services for people with disabilities in each town would be required to use that particular label. Thereby creating enough confusion that everyone would need to buy a copy of our directory.
The absurdity of trying to come up with a new name for a group is a lesson that’s easily understood by my friends who invite me to “differently-abled” events or tell me that I am not “disabled” to them. When I explain to them that the word “disability” describes a community or movement I belong to, they instantly understand my perspective. Most of them are part of queer and people of color struggles for liberation and they see the value of claiming one’s identity.
My friends also get it that simply using nicer language does not lead to justice. Three years ago, the U.S Congress passed a law by a unanimous vote that outlawed the use of the word “retarded” in government documents. Even though the law was enacted, many people with disabilities still don’t have access to health care, social security benefits are being cut and people are losing funding for attendant care.
People who get hung up on words need to realize that the disability community won fights for liberation even when we were called crippled, retarded, and handicapped. Instead of freaking out about language, we need to focus on fighting for services. When our conditions are perfect, that’s when I’ll be more than happy to hear your arguments as to why the term “disability” is politically incorrect.
Rapid Response Mini Summit
Posted on May 10, 2022
Hear from artists and activists with disabilities about what pride means to them. Explore what it means to be an ally. Get informed of the past as we work towards a future of equity.
The first 25 registrants will receive a $20 GrubHub gift card to use for dinner during the summit.
Youth Services Town Hall on May 11th
Posted on April 21, 2022
Join us and learn more about the services and supports for youth with disabilities! The youth are our future; the earlier they can learn about the resources available to them, the earlier they can set goals to increase their independence!
Image Description: Animated image of youth with disabilities with light/medium complexions and brightly colored clothes dancing under the ILRC logo which reads: "Disability, Advocacy, Action, Equality ILRC" with a white dove in the corner. Text on flier details the Youth Town Hall Event.
Dementia, Disability, and Diversity: A Discussion
Posted on March 1, 2022
Do you have questions about how dementia links to disability and diversity? Start off Spring by learning more about these topics and ILRC services on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, from 2 to 3 PM. Please see the following flyer for the Zoom link. To request accommodations, please contact Emily Bridges at [email protected] or (805) 650-5993, ext. 203.
Webinar on Intersectionality
Posted on January 19, 2022
Join the Independent Living Resource Center on January 31, 2022, from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm for a seminar on the important accomplishments achieved when different communities have come together to create change!
Learn about the concept of intersectionality and explore how different groups are affected by challenges such as lack of affordable housing, climate change, and access to healthcare.
By attending this webinar, you will also have the opportunity to be part of a planning campaign for social change that will be implemented in 2022. To register for this webinar and request accommodations, please send an email to [email protected] no later than January 27, 2022.
"Ask an Able-Bodied Person" Workshops 3 & 4--Mark your calendar!
Posted on January 12, 2022
"Ask an Able-Bodied Person" Workshops are a safe, fun, experimental space where people with disabilities can discover more about able-bodied culture.
Join us as we explore questions like:
“When did you know you didn't have a disability?”
“Why don’t certain people without disabilities ask people with speech disabilities to repeat themselves?”
“Do you feel a connection to others without disabilities?”
“How does it feel to walk/drive a car/be understood by strangers?”
"Ask an Able-Bodied Person" Workshop 3---Friday, January 14th, 1:00- 2:30 PST time On Zoom
"Ask An Able-Bodied Person" Workshop 4---Sunday, January 23rd, 4:00-5:30 PST time On Zoom
To sign up and to request accommodations please email [email protected] Please also indicate what workshop you want to attend.
ILRC welcomes a new Youth Advocate in Ventura!
Posted on January 12, 2022
My name is Vanessa Acain and I am excited to begin my role as Youth Advocate here at ILRC! I am passionate about playing a hands-on role in empowering our community through diversity, intersectionality, and inclusivity so I am looking forward to serving Ventura County’s youth and young adults. Our youth are our future, and the earlier they can learn about the resources and opportunities available to them, the earlier they can set goals to increase their independence. Our youth services include but are not limited to peer support, independent living skills training, and employment services. Working alongside our youth to help them achieve each of their unique goals towards independence offers our youth with disabilities the opportunity to not only be a part of our community, but live, work and thrive in it. In my short time here, I have been collaborating with our community partners and organizations to help open doors for our youth with disabilities and make their goals for independent living a reality. I am thrilled to see all the great things our future advocates will do! Please feel free to contact me through email at [email protected] or through phone at (805) 650-5993x209, I would love to talk with you!
Accessible & Affordable Housing Webinar coming up on September 27th from 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Posted on September 15, 2021
ILRC will be hosting an Accessible & Affordable Housing Webinar on Monday, Sept. 27th, 2021 from 1:30 - 3:00pm.
Expect to learn about legally required reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act and help make housing more accessible for all.
To reserve your spot, email Jacob Lesner-Buxton at [email protected] by September 22, 2021.
ILRC’s work on the Better Care Better Jobs Act
Posted on August 30, 2021
ILRC’s work on the Better Care Better Jobs Act
By Jacob Buxton-Lesner, Systems Change Advocate
Earlier this summer Congress introduced the Better care Better Jobs Act. This act would invest money in projects some are referring to as making investments in “human infrastructure.” Money for transportation, child care, and other social service projects are included in this bill.
One of the human infrastructure projects this bill contains is $400 billion for home and community-based services (HCBS). This would impact In-home Supportive Services (IHSS) in California, allowing seniors and individuals to be able to hire providers who help them with daily living tasks such as showering, getting dressed, and preparing meals. Even though these individuals provide a vital service in our community, they are often not compensated adequately. Most care attendants make around $14.00 an hour in California. According to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator, the cost of living in California cities for a family of four is 2.5 times greater than the amount that most providers receive.
If this Better Care Better Jobs Act is approved, the $400 billion will allow counties to pay providers more money as well as shorten the amount of time consumers and providers have to wait to be approved to enroll in the IHSS program. Currently, the wait time to be enrolled in the program ranges between two and three months when the need for extra help and care is often immediate. If passed, the funding will also increase the budgets for the advisory councils for the IHSS program that operates in each county. This is important because the committees provide education and advocacy around the program for people in need for these services, more funding equals more accessibility.
In order to assist with getting support from congress, a Collaborative called LTSS for All, made up of groups supporting people with disabilities and care attendants set the goal of collecting 400 stories from California about how attendant care affects their lives. I volunteered to lead ILRC in collecting twelve stories.
Through social media, presenting at two ILRC groups, and presenting to a group of advocates Momentum WORK (formerly UCP) we exceeded our goal and collected seventeen stories about homecare. In the month of August, these stories were presented to speakers of the house, Nancy Pelosi and congressman Salud Carbajal.
Despite there being major political divisions in Congress, there is a chance that the funding will get passed in the next few months. Under a process called reconciliation, a process this bill has potential to qualify for, only fifty senators are needed to pass a bill rather than the sixty senator votes normally required. Even though getting fifty votes might still sound like a tall order, the disability community has had a history of successfully sharing stories with the federal government. These stories have resulted in the birth and implementation of several important policies benefiting people with disabilities.
Even though our story collecting is over for now, there are still opportunities to do advocacy work on these issues throughout the fall. You can help get involved by sending letters to the editors meeting with public officials. Signing petitions can also be key to getting this funding for our community. If you wish to be updated on this bill please email me at [email protected].
(Image description: A group of seven people outside the office of Congressman Salud Carbajal.)
ILRC's Latest Commercial running in Santa Barbara County
Posted on June 4, 2021
Are you interested in seeing if you qualify for low-cost internet?
Posted on April 30, 2021
Assistive Technology Spotlight: AT Program Information
Posted on April 16, 2021
AT Donation Program
Posted on April 7, 2021
ILRC's AT Coordinator talks about a high-tech AT Device
Posted on March 29, 2021
We are excited to announce that Jennifer Griffin has been named Executive Director of ILRC!
Posted on March 4, 2021
Check out the Independent's story about Jennifer below!
Assistive Technology Spotlight- Medline Rollator Walker
Posted on February 26, 2021
Assistive Technology Spotlight- Reacher Demonstration
Posted on February 26, 2021
ILRC's Assistive Technology Coordinator can help you obtain a wide variety of high-tech and low-tech assistive technology to help you increase or maintain your independence. Check out the above video to learn more about the reacher.
Posted on February 22, 2021
Help us find this power chair a new home!
Posted on February 18, 2021
Help us find this power chair a new home!
ILRC has received a Permobil M300 Powerchair AT donation. It is in great working condition. It has some small scuffs and marks, but this does not impact the function of this chair.
ILRC Public Safety Power Shut Off (PSPS) Support
Posted on February 3, 2021
Do you or someone you know rely on medical equipment that requires power? ILRC provides services to help you to be prepared for, and during, a PSPS. PSPS's occur when there is high fire danger weather and are a wild fire mitigation effort. However, these events disproportionately impact people with disabilities. ILRC can support you by:
-Assisting you in applying for your utility companies Medical Baseline Program
-Helping you sign up for outage alerts
-Guide you through creating a disaster plan
-Provide back-up batteries for those who rely on qualified medical equipment and are in a potential PSPS zone (while supplies last)
-Provide information on community resource centers (charging stations) near you during an active PSPS event
Contact us today!
The 2021 Issue of the VCAAA's LIVEWell is Now Online!
Posted on January 15, 2021
The 2021 issue of the VCAAA's LIVEWell is now online. LIVEWell serves as the premier resource guide for Ventura County's older adults and people with disabilities. This issue focuses on important topics for navigating times of crisis. Content is available in English and Spanish and can be found using the following link: www.vcaaa.org/livewell Hard Copies available soon! Check out page 30 to learn more about ILRC's work on Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response.
Come Join ILRC for How to Create Accessible Community Events
Posted on April 25, 2019
Come join Independent Living Resource Center for our interactive panel event "How to Create Accessible Community Events" on Monday, May 6th, 2019 from 10:00am – 12:00pm, at the Dick Dewees Senior and Community Center in Lompoc. Don't miss this opportunity to hear from people with disabilities about the challenges and best practices for making your event one that is accessible and welcoming to the whole community.
Join us on October 19th for the 1st Annual ILRC Fundraising Event!
Posted on April 17, 2019
Join us on October 19th for the 1st Annual Fundraising Event for Independent Living Resource Center, at the beautiful Santa Barbara Club in Santa Barbara. Passion for Independence is an inaugural event with cocktail hour and dinner, funding the addition of needed ILRC services.
Our Emcee will be Ernesto Paredes, the Executive Director of Easy Lift and 2018 Santa Barbara Foundation Man of the Year.
You may also become a sponsor for the event. The benefits of becoming a sponsor may include preferred seating, recognition from the podium, logo and/or name on this Passion for Independence event webpage, recognition on ILRC's social media feeds and event program, and more!
ILRC Welcomes a New Program Manager!
Posted on June 25, 2018
Brian Hollander is excited to be joining Independent Living Resource Center of Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties.
Brian is committed to the philosophy of self-determination and equal access and envisions making these a part of the DNA of our culture, as well as our system of delivering services. Brian identifies as a person with a disability and has a passionate belief that there are no "disability rights", only civil rights that should be accorded to all.
Brian is an experienced Program Manager, Community Organizer and advocate with deep experience and commitment to the Independent Living movement, having worked for or with nearly all of the Centers for Independent Living in New York state throughout his nearly 25 year career.
Brian has served in a wide array of roles, including self-directed supported housing, human rights, public policy and mental health. He currently serves as the NY Connects Outreach Specialist at Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley in Troy, New York. Previously, Brian built and managed a first in New York State demonstration project to establish the effectiveness of peer mentoring in Consumer Directed Personal Assistance, New York states self-directed home care program.
Brian also serves as Co-President and public policy chair of New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, a peer-provider partnership organization that advocates for recovery oriented, person driven supports for people diagnosed with mental health conditions.
Brian would like to share how impressed he is with the work that ILRC is doing to build equal access and self-determination in new and innovative ways that create a connected, engaged community. He looks forward to learning from the ILRC team and community, as well as building the future of our movement.