The Five Core Independent Living Services

Independent living means having the right and chance to make decisions. It involves the right to have control over and responsibility for one’s own life.

As a federally funded center for independent living, the Center for Accessible Living provides the five core independent living services of information and referral, independent living skills training, peer support, advocacy, and transition.

Information and Referral provides information to assist the community in learning about disabilities and disability related issues. Information is available about: types of disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability laws, individual access, other agencies and services, resources, and more.

The Center also provides appropriate referrals to resources and partner agencies. CAL makes information and Referral Services available to everyone, disability or not. Information and Referral Services are available to anyone, statewide and in surrounding areas.

To find your nearest CAL office or to email, visit our contact us page.

There are many skills that we learn along the way that help us have a more independent life and maintain that independence once we reach our goals. One of the ways the Center for Accessible Living helps people with disabilities to live independently is through Independent Living Skills instruction.

Independent living skills are as basic as learning to take responsibility, making good decisions and learning how to solve problems. The teaching of these skills builds self-confidence and leads to independent thinking.

Classes or one-on-one sessions help consumers learn basic skills to achieve self-reliance for a more independent lifestyle. Topics include:

  • Goal setting

  • Budgeting / Credit counseling

  • Basic banking skills

  • Communication skills

  • Assertiveness skills

  • Mobility / Public transportation

  • Personal safety

  • Nutrition

  • Time management

  • Study skills

  • Education opportunities

  • Referrals to other resources

We all have times in our lives when situations become difficult, or times when we are not sure what the best action might be. It is helpful to talk things over with another person who will respect us and keep our conversations confidential.

One-on-one and group peer support assists individuals with disabilities to help each other on a cross-disability basis. The individual you discuss your concerns with at the Center for Accessible Living will have experience in living with a disability.


What Is Peer Support?

Sometimes we have a friend or family member in whom we can confide. Other times it is more helpful to talk with a peer, a professional or a person who has good listening skills and will aid in our decision-making.

Peers provide assistance and support to increase skills and knowledge that will overcome interpersonal, family, social, financial, inter-agency and other disability-related challenges.


Who Can Have Peer Support?

Any individual with a disability may schedule a free appointment with the peer support coordinator by phone or e-mail.

The Center also offers an excellent opportunity to share concerns, ideas, and personal issues with others in similar situations. Visit our Calendar for a list of current Peer Support Groups.


What Topics Are Discussed?

One-on-one and group peer support assists individuals with disabilities to help each other on a cross-disability basis. Any topic can be discussed. Peers provide assistance and support to increase skills and knowledge that will overcome such challenges as:

  • Adjustment to a disability

  • Interpersonal and family relationships

  • Social issues

  • Financial concerns

  • Getting services from other agencies

  • Low self-esteem

  • Coping skills

  • Dealing with stress and anger

  • Grief and loss issues

  • Trauma from physical, verbal or sexual abuse

  • Trauma from an accident or sudden onset of a disability

  • Communicating with family about a disability and your needs

  • Loneliness

  • Other disability-related challenges…


For more information, please Contact CAL.

Advocates work in partnership with consumers to resolve incidents of discrimination and denial of services. This is done through negotiation with governments, business and service providers.

Advocacy also includes working for systems changes that reflect the needs of people with disabilities at the federal, state and local levels.


Individual Advocacy efforts help consumers:

  • Learn and develop self-advocacy skills.

  • Provide assistance with the resolution of conflicts that impede service delivery.

  • Investigate discrimination claims.

  • Gather information regarding your rights.

  • Interact with appropriate social services.

  • Achieve individual goals, including employment goals, if desired.


Systems Advocacy helps consumers learn to:

  • Advocate for yourself and others with elected officials and other agencies.

  • It can be as easy as an email or phone call to officials.

  • If you choose, meet with elected officials along with CAL staff to have your voice heard.


If you would like to be a part of CAL’s systems advocacy efforts, the first step is to sign up for Advocacy Alert emails.


Advocacy Starts With Making Your Voice Count: Register & Vote!

You can register at the Center for Accessible Living and many other places.

You must be registered 30 days in advance to vote in the Primary and General Elections in May and November. It is important to register to vote and inform yourself on the issues. Elected officials make decisions that affect you on a daily basis as a person with a disability or family member of a person with a disability. If you don’t vote, you have no voice.

To learn more about the voting process, how to register, or to find out about your voter rights as a person with a disability, visit

To check your registration, or to find out where you vote in Kentucky, visit

To learn more about the Candidates, visit the non-partisan, independent website,

Additional information on absentee ballots is found on the Absentee Voter page or the Military and Overseas Voter’s page.

To learn more about your rights as a voter with a disability, visit Kentucky Protection and Advocacy (P&A) website.


If you encounter problems casting your vote

Call your local County Clerk
~ or ~

Protection and Advocacy’s voter hotline
(1-800-372-2988) Hours: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (EDT)

Have a legal guardian? Have questions about voting? Give P&A a call!


To find out who your Federal, State and Local elected officials are:

Find your elected official on

Call your local Board of ElectionCounty Clerk’s Office or League of Women Voters.

or visit: Kentucky Legislature, Find your state legislator.


To Contact Legislators in Frankfort:

To Leave a Message for a Legislator: Call 1-800-372-7181

To Ask for a Legislator Directly: Call 1-502-564-8100 (LRC Switchboard)

To Send a Fax to a Legislator in Frankfort: Fax 1-502-564-6543

To Write a Legislator in Frankfort:
Legislative Offices, Capitol Annex
Frankfort, KY 40601

To Email a Legislator:
(Check with you legislator; not all legislators like to receive messages via email. If you do email a legislator, be sure to include your name, address and phone number.)


To Contact the Governor:

Fax: 1-502-564-2517
Governor Andy Beshear
State Capitol
Frankfort, KY 40601

Legislators’ contact information can be found here or from LRC Public Information Office in the Capitol Annex (phone: 502-564-8100, ext. 517). Please note that leadership and committee assignments in the Senate have recently changed, so be sure your list is current!


To Contact Other Executive Branch Officials:

Visit the Kentucky Government Website
(From this site, you can connect to the state phone directory and all cabinet home pages.)


To Track Legislation:

Legislative Calendar Line: 1-800-633-9650
(Daily recording of committee meeting schedules and bills on committee agendas.)

Bill Status Line: 1-800-809-0020
(Provides latest status of each bill as recorded in the Legislative Record for the day; open 8-4:30)

Message Board of Lobbyists/Citizens: 1-800-592-4399

(To leave a message for a lobbyist or someone visiting the Annex; messages posted in Annex Room 116)

Public Bill Room: 1-502-564-8100, ext. 323
(To order an official copy of a bill or amendments; subscribe to or purchase the Legislative Record)

Kentucky Legislative Website
(This site has district maps, names and home addresses of all legislators; also, proposed bills, bill status, reference materials, Kentucky Revised Statutes and Kentucky Administrative Regulations.)


To Keep Up With the Latest News:

Louisville Courier-Journal.

Lexington Herald-Leader.


Want to Learn More?

Vote Smart – A non-partisan website which includes information about the voting records of elected officials

REV UP: Register, Educate, Vote, Use your Power – a campaign of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) aimed at increasing the political participation of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues.


The fifth core independent living services is transition. Transitioning is another word for big changes. For individuals with disabilities these changes can bring challenges. Transitions can include: graduating high school, going to college, getting a job, dating, and moving away from home. Challenges that come with transitions can include: personal development, decision making, managing your health and finances, career assessment and entering the workforce, and how you want to live and what things you would like to do as an adult.

Transition to adulthood is an exciting time but it can also be very scary. The Center for Accessible Living has several transitioning programs to help young adults with disabilities to ease those fears and create a positive transitioning experience. Through its Young Empowered Self Advocates (YES!) school program, the Center for Accessible Living partners with High Schools to help students with disabilities get prepared for the transitioning experience. Youth transition coordinators visit classrooms and engage students through interactive lessons. Lessons currently include: Self advocacy, Career exploration, Career readiness (resumes, applications, and interviews), Workplace etiquette, Money skills, Self-determination, and Community & Social skills. Currently, the YES! program is in 12 Jefferson County high schools and three Bullitt County high schools and is expanding to other parts of the state. YES! is a provider of Pre-Employment Training Services (Pre-ETS) for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

The Young Empowered Self Advocates (YES!) Community Group is for individuals ages 16 -29 with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The goal of the YES group is to increase self-confidence, learn independent living skills, and teach skills necessary for a positive transitioning experience. The YES group meets monthly and due to the growing popularity and attendance, The Center for Accessible Living has plans to increase the number of YES groups locally and across the state.

For more information on YES! programs, click here: Yes!,or contact: Donna Fox in the Louisville Office, Carrissa Johnson in the Murray Office, Lindsay Jones in the Bowling Green Office, and Rene Thompson in Northern Kentucky. 

Another important transition involves residents of congregate settings such as nursing homes who wish to relocate into a home of their choice within the community. Along with local partners, CAL staff identifies and assists people to make an informed decision to move out of congregate settings into the community setting of their choice.