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 ONLINE HELP TO LIVE IN THEIR OWN
 Web site links people with disabilities to resources

If you have a disability and are living on your own in Los Angeles, you are no longer alone. As of March 19, you became part of a community in cyberspace with a Web site to help you live independently, a place where you can find the nearest wheelchair repair shop or publicly subsidized, accessible apartments for rent.

Alan Toy
Alan Toy, who oversaw the development of the site at UCLA, explains how those with disabilities can use it.

UCLA and the Westside Center for Independent Living (WCIL) have unveiled a groundbreaking online resource for people with disabilities, bringing together interactive mapping technology with grassroots knowledge and government databases to promote independent living.

The Living Independently in Los Angeles (LILA) information system (http://lila.ucla.edu/) enables users to navigate the city and learn about vital community resources. A public demonstration and launch took place recently at the WCIL in Venice.

Through a collaboration of public, private and academic institutions, LILA was developed by WCIL and the Advanced Policy Institute of the School of Public Policy and Social Research, in partnership with the City and County of Los Angeles.

"LILA provides a one-stop resource center and a virtual community for people with disabilities to gather and share information online," said Alan Toy, UCLA project director who is overseeing the development of LILA. "It is a tool to take people out of their homes and into the community."

"What makes the project truly dynamic and interactive is that people with disabilities throughout Los Angeles County will be able to input their own experiences and knowledge into the site," added WCIL executive director Mary Ann Jones.

The Web site provides access to disability-related information such as equipment needs, adaptive technology, medical services, recreational programs, accessible trails and beaches, social clubs and support networks. Ultimately, users will be able to find the access features of public buildings or to map bus stops, blue parking curbs and curb cuts to pinpoint accessible paths of travel, Toy said.

The site also features a public forum and an advocacy section to generate discussion and action around disability issues.

by Carol Tucker

source: UCLA Today

last update: 04-08-06
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