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The Power of Parents

In 1950, little was known about intellectual disability (then referred to as 'mental retardation' and developmental disability, or its causes. There were virtually no programs or activities to assist in the development and care of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) or to support families. It was common for doctors to tell parents that the best place for their child was in an institution. But these advocates wanted more. They wanted their loved ones to lead fulfilling lives in the community and not to be shuttered away in institutions. Strengthened by their collective desire  to raise their children in the home and their refusal to accept that institutionalization was the only option, The Arc was born. 

Through the decades, The Arc has advocated for the passage of state and federal legislation on behalf of people with disabilities and established a broad network of state and local chapters that range from small voluntary groups to large, professional organizations.

The Arc Through the Years

Over the last several decades The Arc has been at the forefront of making change happen. Whether through advocacy or by supporting research efforts, The Arc leads the way.


Change the Word to End the Word

Over time, as the words 'retardation' and 'retarded' became insulting, derogatory and demeaning in usage, the organization evolved its terminology to reflect the desires of people with disabilities, and changed its name to 'The Arc'. While the term still appears on occasion, it has largely been replaced and the usage of 'intellectual disability' and 'developmental disability' continues to spread. 

We are strive and work to do everything in our power to make sure that the only 'r-word' that should be used when referring to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is respect.

Name History

1953 --1973: National Association for Retarded Children (NARC)

1973 -- 1981: National Association for Retarded Citizens (NARC)

1981 -- 1992: Association for Retarded Citizens of the United States (ARC)

1992 -- Present: The Arc of the United States (The Arc)

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