Dr. Adolf Ratzka encountered his disability as a result of contracting polio at the age of 17, and he has had to rely on personal assistance ever since. He imported the Independent Living movement to Sweden from the United States and founded the Stockholm Cooperative for Independent Living, which was behind the introduction of the Swedish law that established the right to a personal assistance budget.
Dr. Ratzka says: “My assistants enable me to work. One of their most important functions is to accompany me on trips as head of the Independent Living Institute. Since my wife has her own work – she is an occupational therapist – we only travel together on vacations. And then too, I take an assistant along, since I want to have the same role within the family that I would have had without my disability. Money for the costs of the accompanying assistant’s airline tickets, hotel room, meals, etc., is part of the monthly payment from the Social Insurance Fund. Thus, I do not have to apply and fight for such expenses every time I travel.”