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The Arc Launches Survey on National Disability Needs

FINDS (Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports)

Washington, DC – As we pause to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), The Arc recognizes that there has been significant progress made on behalf of people with disabilities. There is more still to be done, however, and The Arc is initiating a national effort to tap into the knowledge and perspectives of individuals and families within the intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) community.

Our goal is to assist the sector in determining needs for services and supports. This survey—The Arc FINDS (Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports) —will enable those in the field to better understand what services are available, what gaps exist and what new supports are needed.

The Arc FINDS launches July 21 and will be accessible until September 1 to all families and individuals with IDD, both in and outside of The Arc’s chapter network. Dissemination of the survey to a broad range of disability and caregiving networks across the country and throughout our allied organizations will maximize the survey’s reach and findings.

“The Arc FINDS will capture the perceptions of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities of all ages, as well as those of their families and caregivers. The results will provide us with a much-needed candid and current view on issues concerning the needs for disability supports across the life span,” said Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc.

“We are committed to finding a meaningful way to involve the population we serve in determining the services provided and gauging the successful delivery of these services—just as any business would involve its consumer network through an open market-research style survey. We’re thrilled to be promoting FINDS in collaboration with other top disability organizations focused on those with intellectual and development disabilities,” Berns said.

Ann Cameron Caldwell, Chief Research and Innovations Officer for The Arc, is directing the survey and its evaluation. “The information gleaned from the survey will help identify—and document—nationally, by state and locally what families want in terms of needed services and supports. This information, including personal stories, will be valuable in informing and supporting ongoing program development, advocacy and policy work,” said Dr. Caldwell, who is the parent of a teenager with Down syndrome.

Questions are being asked in areas of advocacy, education, transition, employment, housing, community participation, civic engagement/voting, transportation, caregiving, and demographics. It is written to allow for both the perspective of individuals with IDD, as well as their parents/caregivers. It also assumes for the differences in service and supports required at different stages of life.

Options are in place for respondents to contribute personal stories about their experiences with contact information to support advocacy efforts here in Washington. The vehicle for collection will be an online survey that respondents can link to electronically through The Arc’s website: There is no cost to participate and all responses will be confidential; it will take respondents about 30 minutes to complete the survey. The survey may also be found at:

This information will be shared initially at The Arc’s National Convention (November 3-6, 2010 in Orlando, Florida), as well as publicly on The Arc’s website.