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In 1974, a group of concerned parents formed The Arc of Shelby County as an advocacy organization with the initial purpose to serve as a support for parents of children with intellectual disabilities. Over the past 45 years, The Arc of Shelby County has grown from a small support group into an advocacy agency that serves more than over 1,500 children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families each year. The mission of The Arc of Shelby County is to provide services and support that empower individuals with developmental disabilities and delays and their families throughout their lifespan to live happy, successful and productive lives within a community of their choice.
In 1988, the organization opened an early intervention program to serve children with developmental delays. Today, the Early Intervention program serves over 400 children under the age of three with a 25% delay in cognitive, communicative, physical, adaptive, or social/emotional development or with a diagnosis or a condition that likely will result in a delay in development. With a team that includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech/language pathologists, special instructors, and service coordinators, The Arc of Shelby County supports families in finding the best opportunities to promote their child’s growth and development.
In 1999 the organization launched a supported employment program to meet the needs of adults with developmental disabilities. The Arc of Shelby County’s Employment Program assists individuals with developmental disabilities in achieving their career goals and assists community employers in finding eager employers looking for meaningful work. Employment specialists focus on an individual’s unique strengths and abilities and provide a tailored approach to success that includes assessment, job search assistance, and job coaching. The program also offers Project SEARCH, a transitional program partnership between The Arc, Shelby County Schools, Brookwood Baptist Shelby Medical Center, and The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, for high school students between 18 and 21 years of age who are in their last eligible year of high school.
The Arc Community Living Program was created in 2004 to provide individuals and families with disabilities access to full lives in the community. This program provides Short-Term Assistance and Referral (STAR) services, personal care and supported employment services, school-age advocacy and support for families, and assistance with the application process for Medicaid/Medicare and Social Security.
All of The Arc of Shelby County’s programs are community based and are provided at no charge to families. To learn more and join with us in celebrating The Arc of Shelby County’s 45th Anniversary, visit www.thearcofshelby.org or www.facebook.com/thearcofshelbyco.
-Jennifer H. Ellison
Brought to you by: Community Partner, Sawyer Solutions
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