Founded in 1950 by a group of parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, The Arc has been instrumental in the creation of virtually every program, service, right, and benefit that is now available to more than half a million Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Today, The Arc continues to advocate for including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in all aspects of society.

Our Mission

As a state chapter of The Arc of The United States, The Arc of Texas promotes, protects, and advocates for the human rights and self-determination of Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Our Vision

The Arc of Texas envisions a world where Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities are included in their communities where quality supports and services are available to meet their needs and choices.

Guiding Principles

People First

The Arc believes that all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities:

  • Have strengths, abilities, and inherent value
  • Are equal before the law
  • Must be treated with dignity and respect

The Arc believes in self-determination by empowering people with the supports needed to make informed decisions and choices.

Advocacy

The Arc of Texas believes that heartfelt, strategic advocacy and self-advocacy is one of the most powerful tools we can employ to improve the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Whether it’s at an ARD meeting or at the Capitol, advocacy is essential to fulfilling our mission.

Community Participation

The Arc works toward and believes in the community imperative: that all people have the fundamental moral, civil and constitutional rights to live, learn, work, play and worship in safe and healthy communities of their choosing.

Diversity

The Arc of Texas believes that we benefit from the experiences of ALL people. Not only are we stronger because of the contributions from people with diverse personal characteristics, it’s necessary to adhere to our core values of inclusion and acceptance. The Arc of Texas does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, religion, age, geographic location, sexual orientation, gender or type of disability.

The Arc of Texas is affiliated with The Arc of the United States, which advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities on a national level. We are also proud to have more than 35 affiliated local chapters working to provide additional supports and services to families in communities throughout the state.

The Arc of Texas is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, nonprofit organization. We receive funding from a variety of sources, including private donations, membership dues, fundraising events and special government grants.

The Arc of Texas is an accredited charity by the Better Business Bureau and complies with their high standards for ethical business behavior. Our charity review is available on the BBB website.

History and Achievements

For 60 years, The Arc of Texas and The Arc of the United States have been instrumental in the development of virtually every program, service, right, and benefit available to the more than half a million Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

1951

Founded

Local councils form The Arc of Texas for Texans with intellectual disabilities.
1953

Incorporation

The Arc of Texas, Inc. is created by filing a Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State
1953

Legislation

The first state legislation mandating public education for children with intellectual disabilities passes.
1960

Headquarters

The Arc of Texas opens its first official headquarters in Austin.
1971

Olympics

In collaboration with the Kennedy Foundation, The Arc of Texas establishes Texas Special Olympics.
1975

IDEA

The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Public Law 94-142 passes.
1977

Bill of Rights

The Texas Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Act, a Bill of Rights for Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is enacted by the Texas Legislature.
1980

Texas Advocates

The Arc of Texas helps establish the Texas Advocates, a self-advocacy group for people with intellectual disabilities.
1983

Litigation

The Arc of Texas intervenes in federal litigation regarding Texas institutional services. The lawsuit eventually resulted in the closure of two state institutions and the development of community services for hundreds of former state school residents.
Mid 1980s

HCS & CLASS

Legislation passes barring discrimination in community zoning provisions for group homes and establishes the In-Home and Family Support Program for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities. The Texas Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) and Community Living Assistance and Support Services (CLASS) Medicaid Waiver Programs are initiated.
1993

Name change

The organization name and mission are changed to reflect the services and supports provided to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
1993

Conference

The Arc of Texas holds the first annual Inclusion Works! Conference for over 1,000 teachers, administrators, and parents to help ensure students with disabilities receive special education services in regular education classrooms.
1990

ADA

Congress passes The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a comprehensive bill of rights for Americans with disabilities.
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