Consumer Control, not a very common phrase, but it’s an important one. Consumer control means that the consumer has the control over issues that affect their life.
As a Center for Independent Living, we take our consumer control philosophy seriously! We are here to provide assistance and information to our consumers and to support them in the areas of their life where they would like our assistance. Our job is to listen to the needs of the consumer and to provide our assistance only when they request it.
Consumer control means: The consumer will always be asked for their input and opinions. They consumer will be given choices and options in all situations (unless there is only one option available for that particular situation). The responsibility of the staff member is to provide the information and options, the actual choice(s) and follow-through is the responsibility of the consumer.
The consumer takes the lead in working towards their goals, the Disability Empowerment Center staff is to work in a supporting role, providing information and encouragement.
Many agencies operate in a way that allows them to directly do things for the consumer, without the active involvement of the consumer. We feel that by allowing the consumer to do things for themselves (with our assistance), it empowers the consumer and it develops independent living skills that will extend to other areas of their lives.
Often, persons with disabilities are “taken care of” by family and loved ones – many times not allowing the person to make their own choices, to succeed on their own or even to fail and try again. We believe that all persons deserve to make their own choices, succeed on their own, and yes, even fail on their own. Failure is a great motivator and teaches us how to be strong and try again.