and environmental modifications can play in reducing disability and increasing functional ability and quality of life.

Education of Persons with Disabilities and Their Families, Personal Attendants, and Advocates

People with disabilities and their families, personal attendants, and advocates should be better informed about the principles of disability prevention. Such education would contribute significantly to the prevention of disability and secondary conditions—those brought about by poor self-care as well as those induced by a lack of needed social and other support services, architectural inaccessibility, unequal educational and employment opportunities, negative attitudes toward disability, changes in living environments, and greater exposure to disruptive, frustrating events.

Independent living centers, which are controlled and staffed by persons with disabilities, are designed to deal with the prevention of secondary conditions and to be a source of information on the practical aspects of daily living with a disability. Because these centers are usually staffed by persons with disabilities who are living independently, they offer advice based on first-hand experience of the motivation and ingenuity needed to pursue an independent lifestyle. Being able to share experiences with peers who are independent brings to light those coping mechanisms that aid in preventing secondary conditions. Independent living centers are also effective advocates for attitudinal and architectural changes in society that would improve accessibility, stimulate social interaction and productivity, and facilitate an active, quality lifestyle.

RECOMMENDATION 27: Provide more training opportunities for family members and personal attendants of people with disabling conditions

Persons with disabilities, their families, personal attendants, and advocates should have access to information and training relative to disability prevention with particular emphasis on the prevention of secondary conditions. Independent living centers and other community-based support groups provide a foundation for such training programs and offer a source of peer counseling.

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