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MRC Commissioner Osborne & MRC staff with Korean delegatesTen representatives from the Republic of Korea recently visited the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) to discuss some of the policies and services that support the rights and ability of people with disabilities to participate equally in our society.

MRC Commissioner Osborne and Independent Living staff at was honored to meet with the group which is visiting organizations across the nation to learn about the development and practice of Independent Living services here in the U.S. MRC Commissioner Osborne & MRC staff with Korean delegates

The delegation, which is being sponsored by the International Visitor Leadership Program – a program of the U.S. Department of State – included staff from the Seoul Center for Independent Living, and the Yangchun Center for Independent Living, a member of the Seoul Metropolitan City Council, a student from Seoul National University and professors from Sungsil University and Sahmyook University.

Independent Living services have existed for about 15 years in Korea and are currently utilized primarily by people with physical disabilities. However, the Korean delegates said there is a strong interest in expanding access to Independent Living for people with other types of disabilities. One of the group’s goals for the visit is to learn more about consumer-directed services in the U.S., and how Independent Living Centers are serving people with developmental or intellectual disabilities.

Approximately 90 percent of the people with disabilities in institutions in Korea are people with developmental or intellectual disabilities, the delegates said. They said young people with disabilities have few options after finishing school, and often have no choice but to stay in an institution. Independent Living advocates in Korea would like to change that, and broaden access to independent living for all people with disabilities.

MRC staff described the role of MRC Supported Living services in helping individuals with di
sabilities gain access to a broader range of consumer-directed services, such as the Personal Care Attendant (PCA) program. The Supported Living Program supports an individual with a disability in managing and organizing their daily life. Many of the individuals served through MRC’s Supported Living program are individuals with developmental disabilities.

The group discussed other Independent Living services which empower young people with disabilities to become more independent and self-sufficient. MRC’s Transition to Adulthood program provides peer mentoring and skills training to help youth learn skills needed to transition from special education to the community. The Transitional Internship Program provides summer employment opportunities for High School students with disabilities as an entry into future employment, leading to economic and social self-sufficiency. Youth leadership programs help young people with disabilities take pride in their growing abilities to advocate for themselves and others. All of these programs serve people with a wide range of disabilities, including intellectual and developmental.

MRC staff was very pleased to be invited to meet with the group of delegates, and look forward to future opportunities to connect with colleagues from the Independent Living world across the globe.

 

MRC Commissioner Osborne & MRC staff with Korean delegates from US Dept. of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program

MRC Commissioner Osborne & MRC staff with Korean delegates

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Director of Independent Living & Assistive Technology, MRC

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