The Arc logo

The Arc of Illinois Making Headlines

The Arc of Illinois has been advocating for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for 60 years. Right now, there is discussion in Illinois surrounding government-run institutions for individuals with IDD. Governor Pat Quinn has the opportunity to improve the lives of people with IDD in his state by moving away from institutions and toward community based care.

After a visit with the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board, the Executive Director of The Arc of Illinois Tony Paulauski shared today the results – an editorial that advocates for this shift. We are sure that many people will gain a better understanding about the challenges the IDD community faces from this editorial.

The Arc logo

Office Move: Website, Email, and Phone Downtime

The Arc is moving to new offices – beginning in the new location on Monday September 26. Our new address is 1825 K Street, NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20006.

During the moving process, portions of The Arc’s website, email system, and phone lines will be down for a period of time, starting Friday, September 23.

What Will be Effected?

  • The Arc’s main website:
  • The Arc’s email system: you will not be able to contact staff via email.
  • The Arc’s phone lines: you will not be able to call The Arc’s main office in Washington, D.C.

What Will Not Be Effected?

How Will I Know When the Site Is Live Again?

The Arc logo

Did You Achieve New Heights With Us?

The Arc’s 60th National Convention was extremely productive and enjoyable for all attendees. Aside from the educational aspects of the convention, advocates from different corners of the nation were able to come together and get to know each other. By sharing the work they are doing locally and their stories, convention turned out to be a great networking opportunity in addition to a place for individuals to learn and grow together.

From the Board Meeting where important decisions on how to keep The Arc moving forward in 2012 were made, insightful breakout sessions where dozens of topics including standards for excellence in chapters and marketing were discussed, and finally the closing plenary where attendees were given a crash-course in community organizing by Don Elmer, a great deal was accomplished during the last day of Convention.

Excitement is already in the air for 2012’s Convention in Washington DC! The Arc will be taking their message international by partnering with Inclusion International for next year’s convention.

We look forward to hearing how chapters across the country are using new ideas and concepts they took away from convention. We are certain that everyone returned home invigorated and excited to continue working and advocating for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Please share with us in the comments any new ideas and programs that this year’s convention inspired!

The Arc logo

New Heights in Denver

Day one of The Arc’s National Convention was extraordinarily successful. This year’s theme “Achieving New Heights” resonated through each session on our agenda. Together we are achieving new heights and finding new and innovative ways to grow as a movement, as an organization, and as individual advocates.

In our first day of activities we had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Temple Grandin about issues facing individuals with autism and how to provide better employment opportunities for them, presented Ashley Wolfe and Ricard E. Hemp well deserved awards for their remarkable work in IDD research, and had the great pleasure of listening to Dr. David Braddock whose work remains a benchmark for advocates to use in their efforts to improve resources for families and their loved ones with IDD. Not to say we didn’t also have fun with events like “Lucky Nights at Lucky Strike” where Lauren Potter from the hit television show “Glee “spent the night bowling and dancing with other attendees.

Check back for more updates from Denver! In the meantime, to see photos from Convention, check out our blog or our Flickr set.

The Arc logo

Temple Grandin, Lauren Potter, and Hope Salazar Share the Stage at The Arc’s National Convention

Denver, CO – Dr. Temple Grandin, whose life and work inspired the award-winning HBO biopic starring Claire Danes, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s national convention of The Arc, the country’s leading and largest organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Dr. Grandin will be presented with The Arc’s Image and Inclusion Award by last year’s recipient Lauren Potter, from the hit television program Glee.

Dr. Grandin, who has autism, is one of the top scientists developing groundbreaking methods for more humane handling of livestock. She is renowned for her design of animal handling facilities – currently, half the cattle in the U.S. and Canada are handled in equipment she designed. Dr. Grandin has also developed animal welfare guidelines for the meat industry and consults with McDonalds, Wendy’s International, Burger King, and other companies on animal welfare. She is a professor and researcher at Colorado State University, and was honored in Time Magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.”

At age two, Dr. Grandin was non-verbal, and exhibited all the signs of severe autism. Through intensive teaching and speech therapy, she learned to speak. As a child growing up on an Arizona ranch with her aunt, and with the guidance of a high school science teacher, Dr. Grandin was motivated to pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer.

“Dr. Grandin’s appearance at The Arc’s national convention is sure to inspire the hundreds of members, staff, volunteers, families and individuals with IDD that will gather in Denver in September. This convention comes at a critical time in our efforts to reinvigorate our movement and grow The Arc,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.

In addition to Dr. Grandin, other well respected advocates in the disability community will be on hand, including actress Lauren Potter from Glee, Hope Salazar (wife of U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar), and Dr. David Braddock, the force behind the “State of the States” report on disability issues. Dr. Braddock is a former recipient of The Arc’s Distinguished Research in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Award and will be a featured speaker at the convention in addition to participating in a panel discussion with attendees. The 2011 Convention will take place in Denver, Colorado, September 16 – 18, at the Sheraton Denver Downtown.

The Arc advocates for and serves people with IDD, including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 700 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with IDD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

The Arc logo

Follow The Arc’s 2011 National Convention

The Arc has achieved so many great things this year with your help and support. We’ve rolled out a new brand, unveiled new public service announcements, created a fantastic resource for people with autism and other developmental disabilities, released an authoritative study of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and so much more.

We’re excited about what’s next, and you’re an important part of it! We’ll be marching on this weekend at The Arc’s National Convention in Denver, Colorado. If you can’t achieve new heights with us in person, don’t worry – there are many ways you can be a part of the Convention online:

  1. Follow this blog. We’ll post all the news and information coming out of Convention each day, and we will try to post as many photos as we can. You can find the latest headlines from the blog right on our home page.
  2. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Each day, we’ll be posting real-time updates on our social media profiles as well, in addition to meatier updates here. On Twitter, you can use the hash tag, #thearc11, to follow the conversation centered around the Convention. If you’re at Convention, and tweeting, please join the discussion.
  3. Visit our Flickr page. Flickr, a place to share photos, we’ll be the first place we post photos each day from Convention events. Also, if you’re taking and posting photos there, we invite you to post them to our group page.
  4. Use the Convention website. Our Convention website is still the best place to go for all the Convention particulars, like the schedule, list of sponsors and exhibitors and more.
The Arc logo

The Arc Announces “Achieve With Us” Social Media Contest Winner

Washington, DC – In June, The Arc announced the first ever “Achieve with us” social media contest, inviting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to share their stories of achievement. All entries were submitted through The Arc’s Facebook page, and today, The Arc is announcing the winner of this nationwide contest: Tyler Smothers from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Out of 119 contestants garnering more than 25,000 votes, Tyler was the top vote-getter in the contest and was selected for his impressive fundraising work for a local chapter of The Arc. Tyler is the driving force behind The Arc of East Central Iowa’s annual bike riding fundraiser “Tour de Flood.” Tyler helped create this event in 2008 to help raise money for flood relief. The goal was to raise $2,000, but by the end of the event, over $18,000 was donated. Using an adaptive bike, Tyler leads the ride, in spite of the challenges presented by Occipital Encephelocele, which causes Arnold Chiari Malformation type III. This fundraiser has become a celebrated annual event that continues to raise tens of thousands of dollars every year for The Arc of East Central Iowa’s enrichment programs for all ages, greatly due to Tyler’s passion and dedication. This year’s race will be on September 18.

Tyler and his mother will receive a trip for two for two days to Washington, DC, to share his story of achievement with The Arc’s National Office. He will also have an opportunity to meet with members of his Congressional delegation or their staff to discuss his work on behalf of the people of Cedar Rapids.

Tyler was thrilled to hear he was the winner of the contest and said, “This is so exciting and awesome, I am going to love going to Washington, DC.” He is very enthusiastic about his trip to DC and looks forward to potentially meeting members of the Iowa delegation and said he hopes to meet President Obama and the First Lady as well. When asked what he will say when he comes to Washington, he said, “I am going to tell them living with a disability is challenging.”

“Tyler Smothers embodies The Arc’s belief that for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, achieving your goals and dreams is possible with drive, determination, and support from family and friends. This social media contest was successful beyond our expectations, and shows the power of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their communities,” said Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc.

The Arc advocates for and serves people with IDD, including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 700 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with IDD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.