Our Mission Statement here at Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT) is:
Ireland to empower those of us who
have disabilities to direct our own lives
and enjoy the same equality and
freedoms as non-disabled citizens.
Here at Áiseanna Tacaíochta (ÁT), everything we do is underpinned by the philosophy of Independent Living. Independent Living means that you, as a person with a disability, enjoy the same freedom, dignity and choice as everyone else, and that you are empowered to take charge of your own life, making the decisions which affect you for yourself. True Independent Living allows you to custom-design your supports, based on your individual needs, capabilities, life circumstances and aspirations and, in doing so, to contribute to the development of a more equal and just society for everyone.
We live by the basic principle of “Nothing About Us Without Us”, which means that people with disabilities should always be consulted on the decisions that concern or affect them. We believe that people with disabilities are the best experts in their own lives, and it’s so important that their expertise is listened to and valued.
We call our members “Leaders” because, together, we are leading a new vision. Our model of Direct Payments – which allows Leaders to manage their own services, mainly Personal Assistant (PA) – is a huge step towards having our rights, as people with disabilities, to independence and equality recognised. The fact that the Health Service Executive (HSE) is engaging with this model demonstrates not only its merits in terms of cost-effectiveness and value for money, but also confidence in our new role as Leaders.
We believe in the power of peer support and mentoring. Becoming a Leader means becoming autonomous and taking control of our own lives – in many cases, for the very first time – but, equally, it means listening to, sharing with and supporting our peers, and paving the way so that others can access the same rights.
We believe in the need for solidarity. It is important that we look outside of our own situations to seek support and inspiration from others – including mainstream society. We are all born into society and each of us has to ensure that we occupy our place in it by demanding the same rights as everyone else.
At ÁT, we are achieving independence through the control of our own services; we are demonstrating that people with disabilities can be Leaders in their own lives and of a new vision; and we are promoting solidarity among our Leaders and wider society.