The Arc has a rich history spanning 60 years. In 1952, a small group of parents came together to act as voices for change. Little was known about the condition of intellectual disabilities (at the time referred to as ‘mental retardation’). It was common for doctors to tell parents that the best place for their child was in an institution. Emboldened by their collective desire to raise their children in the home and their stubborn refusal to accept that institutionalization was the only option, The Arc’s founders fought even harder. Like every parent of any child, they wanted more for their children. They wanted their children to lead fulfilling lives out in the community and not shuttered away in dark institutions. It was in that spirit that The Arc was born.
The Arc of Opportunity has grown and adapted to the changes that people with disabilities face across their life span. We are the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. We encompass all ages and all spectrums from autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X and various other developmental disabilities. We provide a full spectrum of supports focusing on the unique abilities of each person and helping each person find their place in the community through job placement and training, advocacy, education, housing and recreation.