Programs & Services
The Arc’s programs and projects promote systemic change to enable access and equity across all aspects of society. For example, Operation House call addresses bias in health care, while Widening the Circle advances social inclusion.
ADVOCACY AND EMPOWERMENT
The Arc of Massachusetts plays a leadership role in advocating on both the state and federal levels to obtain services and supports for people of all ages with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). This includes ensuring that elected leaders and public officials understand the needs of our constituents, advancing progressive regulations or policies, and working with the judicial system if needed. We encourage families and individuals to advocate for their personal goals.
EDUCATION AND TRANSITION TRAINING
The Arc provides a range of webinars and outreach sessions to assist families in their caregiving role and to educate them about resources that are available. We provide self-advocates, parents, educators, and other professionals the tools they need to assure positive transitions from school to adulthood, so they can be fully included in the community with access to housing, employment, and recreation. Our work with the Massachusetts Alliance for 21st Century Policy, including the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, involves both education and empowerment.
OPERATION HOUSE CALL
Operation House Call (OHC) teaches new medical professionals essential skills to enhance the health care of persons with I/DD. Families, parents, and individual self-advocates serve as educators in a health care field that seldom focuses on more than making a diagnosis. It is a rare and important training opportunity for students at Boston University School of Medicine, Tufts Medical School, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Simmons College School of Health Sciences, and Yale University School of Nursing. Through OHC, students begin to build confidence and interest in working with individuals with I/DD and their families.
SUPPORTbrokers assists persons with disabilities achieve their vision. We accomplish this through planning, education, and advocacy. Consumers or families hire a support broker to help them find appropriate services and supports to thrive in their community. Brokers can help consumers find transportation, a place to live, someone to help them with daily living skills, a job counselor, and other linkages. They also can facilitate and create a person-centered plan and help consumers apply for Social Security or health insurance, among other benefits.
WIDENING THE CIRCLE
Widening the Circle explores the benefits of relationships between people with and without disabilities and provides information on engaging in and sustaining those relationships. Building friendships can be especially challenging to people who have disabilities, whose relationships are often limited to family, paid staff, and others with disabilities. All people benefit from a diversity of relationships.