In 1953 a group of concerned parents joined forces to provide better lives for their children who, because of developmental delays and intellectual disabilities, were not able to participate in everyday society. At the time, little was known about intellectual disabilities, referred to then as “mental retardation.” It was very common for doctors to counsel parents to place their children in institutions for most of their lives. Emboldened by their collective desire to raise their children in the home and their refusal to accept that institutionalization was the only option, groups around the country organized and implemented at the local level action plans aimed at giving their children fuller lives in the community.
Initially groups used the acronym A.R.C. and called themselves Associations for Retarded Children. In 1992, however, growing sensibility to the hurtful connotation of the “r” word moved them to abandon the acronym and instead to use the word Arc. An arc is a curved pathway. Planets and electricity, for instance, move in arcs. It is the mission of the Arc to accompany our clients throughout their life journeys so that, by following their own pathways, they can achieve their goals and dreams.
Our independent local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is known as Arc of Greater New Orleans. We currently serve some 600 children and adults in Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, Plaquemines and St. Tammany parishes.
Arc of Greater New Orleans (ArcGNO) works to secure for all people with intellectual disabilities opportunities to develop, function, and live to their fullest potential.
To create, through education, advocacy, and support, a greater New Orleans community that includes, accepts, and celebrates people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
ArcGNO provides a variety of services to individuals of all ages. We assist parents of infants (0-3 years) to find effective therapies and treatments. We help students explore their options for the future after high school. We provide job coaching and placement for those seeking employment, day activities that enable individuals to be active and integrated into the community, and personal care attendants to assist with a variety of tasks in the home and around the community.