The Independent Living movement emerged in the 1960s and 70s, with people with disabilities advocating for greater choice and control over community services like peer support, personal assistants, employment, and housing. This movement aimed to empower individuals and prevent dependency.

Gerben DeJong later applied this philosophy to rehabilitation, proposing that the process should be educational rather than medical, with health professionals supporting rather than controlling.

Alan Clarke, founder of the Burwood Academy, was inspired by DeJong’s paradigm. Clarke envisioned the Academy as a research organisation rooted in the principles of self-determination and empowerment for people with disabilities.

The Academy thus promotes research and education accessible to those with lived experiences of disability.

In May 2019, BAT published a paper titled ‘The Burwood Academy: Incorporating the Principles of the Independent Living Paradigm into Rehabilitation Research,’ explaining our approach to Independent Living and its integration into our guiding framework. READ HERE