Information Center for Individuals with Disabilities was founded
more than 20 years ago to provide information, referral and
problem-solving assistance to people with disabilities.
Our primary goal was to develop a repository of wide-ranging
information to help persons with disabilities manage their own
lives. That part of our vision became reality in May, 1977, when the
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission offered to provide space and
basic funding for the Center. Other government agencies, private
organizations, and individual donors provided additional funding by
contract, grant or contribution. Scores of individuals whose lives
were affected by disability contributed their insights, experience,
resources and labor to build an effective organization. The Center
evolved as a cooperative effort.
As we progressed, we discovered that some questions could be
answered easily, while others required more personal attention and
communication. Personal communication is also essential for feedback
on the service-the quality and scope of the information we offer,
how easy it is to understand and access, and how we can best reach
the people who might benefit from the information.
We also saw that an informed and comprehensive system of organizing
disability information was unavailable. Therefore, the Center
focused on developing a disability taxonomy, or index of related
categories and subjects. Developing this tool has been a major
contribution to disability information. We now offer an efficient
and orderly system for storing an extensive collection of
information and identifying organizations providing additional
resources. Another major contribution has been the creation of
"fact sheets," clear and concise written responses to
frequently asked questions.
The Center has always aimed to learn about information resources
already available in the community so that, instead of duplicating
efforts, we can direct people to other organizations, guide them on
how to ask for what they need, and encourage them to come back to us
with any additional questions that may arise.
Several years ago the chief funding for the Center was discontinued
due to changes in funding trends, and we were forced to return to
our roots as an entirely volunteer-run organization. We regret that
we are no longer able to provide direct telephone and in-person
support. We continue to seek funding to assure that wider services
once again are made available to people seeking information about
living with disabilities. Fortunately, we have been able to continue
publishing our newsletter, Disability Issues, on a reduced schedule.
The Center is also involved in advocacy around issues of importance
to people with disabilities, as well as the creation of this web
site to share our information.