The Arc of the Gulf Coast supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in their quest for self-determination, ensuring that they have meaningful lives in the communities where they live, learn, work, play and worship – responding to their needs, one person at a time.
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 1950, 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 support families.
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.
Since our founding in 1950 by a group of parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, The Arc at the local, state and national level 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.
A world where people with disabilities are included in their communities and neighborhoods and where quality supports and services respond to their needs and personal choices.