Advocacy is where it all starts!
Advocacy and support for people with developmental disabilities and their families. This is Arc's legacy over the last 60 years. Advocacy is pleading the cause, idea, or policy to effect change, advance a cause or raise public awareness. It is also a type of problem-solving skill that protects rights and improves services.
Individual & Family Advocacy
Advocacy for individuals with a developmental disability and their families is a priority at our agency. Advocacy is an activity which can be used to ensure the protection of constitutional rights and to meet social and emotional needs of people with developmental disabilities. The goal of advocacy is to enable people to develop to their maximum potential in the least restrictive and most normal setting that is possible for them. It is important to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families that someone is there to listen, support and help them sort out options in their given situation.
Individual and family advocacy includes direct and indirect services. Our role can be as simple as referring people to resources and information to more intense involvement such as going with a family to many meetings with a school team to be sure their child has a good assessment and Individual Education Plan, or participating in a Due Process Hearing. Meetings have a different tone when an advocate is present. Everyone knows someone else is listening. Many parents say that their meetings are more productive and they are treated with more respect when an advocate is present.