A Leader in Disability Rights
We are a part of the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. We encompass all ages and all spectrums from autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X and various other developmental disabilities
The Arc fosters respect and access for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, giving them the power to achieve a full and satisfying life.
The Arc believes that all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are defined by their own strengths, abilities and inherent value, not by their disability.
The Arc believes that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are entitled to the respect, dignity, equality, safety, and security accorded to other members of society, and are equal before the law.
The Arc believes that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities belong in the community and have fundamental moral, civil and constitutional rights to be fully included and actively participate in all aspects of society.
The Arc believes in self-determination and self-advocacy. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities, with appropriate resources and supports, can make decisions about their own lives and must be heard on issues that affect their well-being.
The Arc believes that society in general and The Arc in particular benefit from the contributions of people with diverse personal characteristics (including but not limited to race, ethnicity, religion, age, geographic location, sexual orientation, gender and type of disability)
The Arc of Snohomish is affiliated with the Arc of United States with more than 140,000 members and nearly 700 state and local chapters nationwide, we are on the front lines to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families have the support they need to be members of the community.
The Arc acts to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their
parents, siblings, family members and other concerned members of the public have
meaningful opportunities to inform and guide the direction of the organization’s advocacy,
including determining policy and positions on important issues. The Arc strives for
diversity in its leadership, as well as in all facets of the work of the organization.
The Arc leads by articulating a positive vision for the future of people with intellectual and
developmental disabilities and catalyzes public and private support in realization of that
vision through carefully planned and well-executed goals, strategies and actions.
The Arc represents the public interest, supporting and acting with and on behalf of all
people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families regardless of the
type of disability or membership in The Arc.
The Arc works with individuals, organizations and coalitions in a collaborative fashion. The
Arc values and promotes effective partnerships between volunteer and staff leadership at
all levels of the organization.
Transparency, Integrity and Excellence
The Arc conducts its business with integrity, accountability, and open, honest and timely
communication. The Arc is committed to quality and excellence in all it does
Deeply Rooted History
The Arc was born more than 60 years ago from a grassroots movement of families working vigilantly to create services for children and adults who were being denied day care, educational opportunities and work programs.
Founded in 1943, The Arc of Snohomish County was comprised of a small group of concerned and passionate parents and community members who would be catalyst for changing the public perception of children with disabilities. For the past 60+ years, The Arc has continued to grow and evolve along with the changing needs and issues people with disabilities and their families face.
Governed by a volunteer board of directors and managed by key staff of the Arc of Snohomish County we work passionately to uphold our vision that every individual and family living with an intellectual or developmental disability in the Snohomish County has access to the information, advocacy and skills they need to participate as active citizens and active members of their community.
The Power of Parents
The Arc has a rich history spanning 60 years and marked by accomplishment. We continue to carry out the mission and vision of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as their parents and siblings.
In 1943, a small group of parents and other concerned individuals came together to act as voices for change. At the time, little was known about the condition of intellectual disabilities (at the time referred to as ‘mental retardation’) or its causes. There were virtually no programs and activities in communities to assist in the development and care of children and adults with intellectual disabilities or to
It was common at that time for doctors to tell parents that the best place for their child was in an institution. Emboldened by their collective desire to raise their children in the home and their stubborn refusal to accept that institutionalization was the only option, The Arc’s founders fought even harder.
Like every parent of any child, they wanted more for their children. They wanted their children to lead fulfilling lives out in the community and not shuttered away in dark institutions. It was in that spirit that The Arc was born.
The Early Days
At the outset, the organization was committed to altering perceptions of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and to educate parents and others regarding the potential of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Arc also worked to procure services for children and adults who were denied an education, the right to attend day care and preschools, and the right to work.
Growing With The Times
Over the last 60 years, The Arc of Snohomish has grown and adapted to the changes that people
with disabilities face across their life span. Through the decades, The Arc has seen several name
changes, advocated for the passage of state legislation on behalf of people with disabilities.
Our rich history leading to successful outcomes would not be possible without the significant number of dedicated parents, family members, volunteers, staff and other advocates from all over the nation who share our vision. The following testimonies are historical accounts from individuals that were either founders, or were present to witness the origins of the organization. Because these are historical documents, they reflect terminology that was in common usage notably ‘mental retardation,’ a term that is no longer in favor and is not employed by The Arc.
- National Association of Parents and Friends of Mentally Retarded Children, by Woodhull Hay, Secretary, 1952
- A History of the National Association for Retarded Children, Inc., by an Anonymous Author
- The National Association for Retarded Citizens, by Robert Segal, Ph.D.