The Arc continues to be one of the largest voluntary organizations comprised of family, friends, self-advocates, and professionals. The organization has grown from its few founding members in 1950 to 106,897 members in 1967. At its peak in 1977, membership totaled 220,936 individuals.
REASONS WHY PARENTS ORGANIZED
Woodhull Hay, of the National Association for Retarded Children, cited seven reasons why parents united to form groups:
- Evidence that institutions were limited in what they could do for children;
- Increased awareness that regular public school programs were unsuited for such children
- The need to disseminate knowledge and information concerning mental retardation;
- The need to challenge the validity of the finality in the words, "Nothing can be done for your child;"
- The desire of parents to learn what more could be done for these children and to pursue projects on their behalf;
- The need to strengthen the growing conviction that the responsibility is social, i.e., money should be provided for building a fuller life for the mentally handicapped; and
- The realization that it was not enough spiritually just to care for one's own child.