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Who We Are

Frequent Questions

  1. What exactly is a Developmental Disability?

    In Illinois, persons are considered to have a developmental disability if they have been diagnosed with one or more of a number of conditions, manifested before age 22.

    Some examples are Down Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol syndrome, spina bifida, or other neurological conditions when such conditions result in impairment of general intellectual functioning or adaptive behavior.

    A developmental disability is sometimes present at birth and continues, or can be expected to continue, indefinitely and constitutes a substantial handicap for the individual.

  2. What does The Arc stand for?

    Prior to the reclassification of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, The Arc used to be an acronym containing a derogatory term. However, The Arc is no longer an acronym and serves all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities without forcing individuals to submit to a derogatory term.

  3. What does The Arc Do?

    Helps families to raise their children with disabilities at home.

    Supports adults with disabilities to live safely in their communities, close to work, family and friends.

    Advocates for the civil rights of people with disabilities

  4. I am uneasy meeting someone who I think has a developmental disability. I’m not sure how to talk to them or that they will understand me.

    Remember that you are meeting a person, not a disability

    Presume Competence, speak normally and assume the person understands you, even if you are uncertain of their understanding. You will be able to read body language if the person is not verbal. It’s amazing how much of human communication has nothing to do with speech.

    Treat everyone age appropriately. An adult with a developmental disability is not a child in an adult’s body.

    Relax and get to know the person better. You will find you have more in common than you have differences.

  5. Where do people with developmental disabilities live?

    There are approximately 200,000 Illinoisans with developmental disabilities and approximately 82% of those people live at home with their families.

    Illinois ranks 3rd in the states that still institutionalize people with developmental disabilities.

    Many adults with developmental disabilities live in groups homes of 4 or 5 people.

    Others live in their own homes with supports provided by community agencies like The Arc.

  6. What do people with developmental disabilities do?

    There is no guarantee of services for adults with disabilities after leaving school.

    The options are: work in the community, supported employment, self employment, day training programs, stay at home, volunteer, participate in community activities, or other activities.

    People with developmental disabilities want what we all aspire to: love, friends, family, meaningful work, a home, and financial security.