Edgar Morales: ¿Por qué el Censo 2020 es importante para usted y su comunidad?

Una vez cada 10 años, el gobierno federal exige que los residentes de los Estados Unidos sean contados a través del Censo de los Estados Unidos. En el video a continuación, Edgar Morales, Especialista en Habilidades de IL en The Independence Center, explica por qué es tan importante que las personas con incapacidades se pongan de pie y sean contadas durante el Censo 2020.


¡Visite nuestra página del Censo de EE. UU. Para obtener más información sobre el Censo, por qué es tan importante completarlo y cómo enviar el suyo!

Patricia Yeager: Why Census 2020 Matters to You and Your Community

Once every 10 years, residents of the United States are required by the federal government to be counted through the U.S. Census. In the video below, Patricia Yeager, CEO of The Independence Center, explains why it’s so important for people with disabilities to stand up and be counted during the 2020 Census. “You help to inform…how to distribute money for schools, health care, emergency prep, local services, and for your local independent living center,” she says.



Visit our U.S. Census page for more information on the Census, why completing it is so important, and how to submit yours!

Paul Spotts: The Census and Community Planning

For Paul Spotts, Assistive Technology Specialist for The IC, the Census is important because it affects planning and funding for our local communities. This includes infrastructure like transit, road construction, and better highways. Watch the video below to learn more about why Paul will be filling out his 2020 Census.


Visit our U.S. Census page for more information on the Census, why completing it is so important, and how to submit yours!

Matthew Ruggles: How the Census Affects Education and Employment

Screenshot from Census Video with MatthewThe IC’s Matthew Ruggles is an IL Specialist with emphasis on Deaf and hard of hearing. In the video below, he explains some of the ways that an accurate Census count benefits people in our community. For example, the results of the Census affect how funding is allocated when it comes to education, training, and employment support.



Visit our U.S. Census page for more information on the Census, why completing it is so important, and how to submit yours!

Daniel Ratcliff: Why the Census Matters to Me

Screenshot from Census Video with DanielInformation about the 2020 Census is now being mailed out to every household in America. The U.S. Constitution mandates that every person living in the United States be counted every ten years. Despite this, there are many people who have never participated in a Census. The Independence Center’s own Daniel Ratcliff, Benefits Coordinator, is one of those people. But in the video below, he shares with us why he will be participating in the Census for the very first time.



Visit our U.S. Census page for more information on the Census and why completing it is important to people who receive benefits like Medicare, Medicaid, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

A Note from Patricia: COVID Update and Available Resources

Dear friends,Photo of Patricia Yeager, CEO of The IC

This week, Governor Polis issued a Stay-at-Home Order, mandating that residents must remain in their homes except to conduct essential business and activities, However, we want you to know that you are not alone during this unprecedented time.

Although our physical offices are closed at The Independence Center, we are still answering all calls to 719-471-8181 and our staff is also corresponding via email. We are dedicated to supporting our consumers and clients, and continue to advocate for their needs.

Our disability community is diverse, and this crisis is impacting individuals in different ways. We know that many people with disabilities have been dealing with health challenges, economic difficulties, and social barriers that may have been intensified by the COVID-19 outbreak.

During this time, we all need to deepen our commitment to our personal health and the health of our community. So starting today, we will be sending out weekly emails to help people with disabilities and their community do just that!

First, we encourage you to stay up to date with COVID-19 news and safety guidelines using the links below, and check out this practical coronavirus guide for people with disabilities.

• CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

• Colorado COVID updates: https://covid19.colorado.gov/

• The Independence Center’s COVID-19 web page, which will be updated with additional information as it becomes available. https://www.theindependencecenter.org/covid-19/

Links to Resources

• If you have an emergency need for food, find Food Access/Distribution Resources provided by Colorado Springs Food Rescue.

• If you are on Medicaid and need support with medication or medical care, connect with a CCHA Care Coordinator.

• If you need prescription refills, call your insurance company and ask about obtaining prescriptions through the mail. Most insurance companies and pharmacies offer a 90-day mail-out option.

• If you need mental health support, contact NAMI to learn more about their free online support groups. If you have a more urgent mental health need, call Colorado Crisis Services at 844.493.8255, or text the word “TALK” to 38255.

• If you need financial support, dial 211.

Remember, we’re all in this together. If you have any type of disability-related question or need during this time, please call us at 719-471-8181 or email us at info@the-ic.org. We’re here to help!


Patricia Yeager
CEO, The Independence Center

COVID-19: A Message to Our Consumers, Clients, and Friends

COVID-19 – Our Staff Is Here for You


COVID-19 Virus Photo

Photo courtesy the CDC

To our consumers, clients, and friends,

With the rise of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the U.S. and locally, we understand that these are uncertain times. We want to reassure you that our staff, services, and resources will continue to be available to you. However, in an effort to mitigate the impact on our consumers, clients, and staff, we are making changes in some of the ways we do business.

Beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020, our buildings (located at 729 and 711 S. Tejon) will be closed to visitors, including consumers, clients, and vendors. Our staff will still be available to assist you by phone (719-471-8181) and email (info@the-ic.org) during our regular business hours of 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  

Below, you will find helpful information and resources about the coronavirus and emergency planning. This will be updated as the situation evolves.

In addition – with guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local officials – we have implemented the following policies and procedures for our staff and leadership team to help them stay healthy and available to you:

  • Frequently communicating with our staff regarding this rapidly changing situation and giving them the support they need to make good decisions for themselves, their families, and the people we serve.
  • Encouraging good hand and respiratory hygiene, including frequent hand washing.
  • Taking extra precautions in our work environment.
  • Eliminating business-related travel and gatherings whenever possible.
  • Sending home employees who appear to be sick.
  • Requiring self-quarantine for staff who travel for personal reasons.
  • Increasing social distancing by implementing technology and infrastructure that would allow some staff members to work remotely.

Thank you for your being part of The Independence Center family. We look forward to helping you through these times and beyond. We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 and will adjust accordingly.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out. We’re all in this together!


Patricia Yeager, Ph.D.

CEO, The Independence Center

Accessibility Done Right: Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

Florissant Fossil BedsJust outside of the small town of Florissant, Colorado, lies one of the most diverse fossil deposits in the world. In 1969, the area was established as Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in order to protect and preserve the fossils for “future generations to study and enjoy.” Since then, tens of thousands of visitors have come to the park to learn about the fossil record, redwood forests, and volcanic eruptions, along with the people who have lived in the area since pre-historic times.

In 2013, a permanent visitor center, museum, and research facility was built and a geologic trail was dedicated and opened to the public. These, and other park features, were created to ensure that everyone has access to this national treasure, including those with disabilities.

For example, people with mobility disabilities will find that the visitor center, associated outdoor exhibit area, and the half-mile, self-guided Ponderosa Loop Trail are fully wheelchair accessible (although the trail may be snow-covered in winter).

In addition, the Monument’s 15-minute orientation film is captioned for those who are d/Deaf/Hard of Hearing. For those who are blind or low vision, the visitor center exhibits and the park film, “Shadows of the Past” are accessible through audio description (ask for headsets and instructions at the front desk).

Even the bathrooms are extra welcoming for people with disabilities, down to the detail of placing coat hooks at a lower level for those in wheelchairs or who are of short stature.

Accessible BathroomWhile most people expect the Monument to comply to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because it’s a federal entity, it’s a shining example to other public venues about what is possible. From creating accessible paths of travel to little touches like the placement of coat hooks and mirrors, there are many innovative ways to make the world more friendly and accessible to people of all ages and abilities. All it takes is some planning and forethought.

Have you come across a business or organization that’s “doing it right” when it comes to accessibility? We’d love to hear about it! Post about it on social media (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) with the hashtag #accessiblecos. Be sure to include photos if you have them!

And if you need help advocating for accessibility in your own life, contact our Advocacy department at 719-471-8181.

Understanding Physical Disabilities

Teenage girl hugging girl in a wheelchairA physical disability is one that either permanently or temporarily restricts movement in the upper or lower limbs, or limits physical functioning, dexterity, coordination, or stamina. Like most disabilities, anyone can acquire a physical disability at any point in their lifetime.

The types and extent of physical disabilities vary from person to person. Not everyone with a physical disability is paralyzed or uses a wheelchair. Some individuals may need to use a cane, walker, or wheelchair, or a combination of these. Others have less “visible” physical disabilities such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Chronic dizziness
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

The causes can range from congenital or genetic conditions to diseases to physical trauma to age. Regardless of the cause, people with physical disabilities often face barriers that impede or prohibit access to housing, medical care, transportation, public buildings, and public events – all of which are necessary for living a full, independent life.

At The Independence Center, we offer a variety of resources – such as skills classes, peer support, and information about assistive technology, employment, disability benefits, and advocacy – to help those with physical disabilities live more independently.


Please visit our Center for Independent Living page or call The Independence Center at 719-476-8181 to get started.

Podcast: A Conversation with Dr. Matthew Weed

by Amber Carlton


In Episode 9 of the Real Empowerment Podcast, Daniel Ratcliff and Rebecca Michael of The Independence Center sit down with Dr. Matthew A. Weed, a consumer of The IC. Dr. Weed is a geneticist and is the first totally blind, diabetic person to graduate from Yale, Princeton, and Harvard universities.

In this podcast, listeners will learn:

  • The challenges he faced and the solutions he found to make his way to Yale.
  • His advice to students with disabilities who are preparing for college.
  • His experience looking for employment with a double disability.
  • What drives him to succeed.
  • How he found The IC and the services he has utilized.

To listen to the podcast, click below.

For more information on disability awareness or individual advocacy, contact The IC at 719-476-8181.