The Arc is a national, community-based organization that advocates and provides services for individuals with special needs, as well as their families. The organization serves individuals of all ages with various disabilities, i.e. all spectrums of Autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X, and various other developmental disabilities.

The Arc was founded in 1950s through a grassroots movement of individuals who were fighting for the creation of services (i.e. day care, education, employment) for individuals with disabilities. Today, with more than 140,000 members and 700+ chapters, the Arc has become a driving force behind the fight for human rights, inclusivity, and community integration of individuals with disabilities. They provide services such as early intervention, supported employment, job training, transition planning, respite care, supported living, and transportation. They also provide information and supports to individuals and groups looking to advocate for individuals with disabilities.

Every state in the US has its own Arc, and certain counties have their own local branches , making this one of the most easily findable special needs resource. To find an Arc in your area, please visit the Find A Chapter page of the organization’s website, We have included links to Arcs located in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia below:

Arc of Montgomery County: The Arc of Montgomery County is “one of the largest and oldest nonprofit organizations in Maryland and serves individuals, families and employers affected by intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).”

Arc of Northern Virginia: “The Arc of Northern Virginia is a local affiliate of the largest non-profit organization supporting thousands of people and families living with cognitive, intellectual, and developmental disabilities. We provide service and education locally and on a state level, as well as, information and referral, special needs trust programs, self-advocacy empowerment opportunities, and special events. We distribute weekly updates for families, professionals and individuals living in the cities and counties of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax.”

Arc of Washington, D.C.: “At the Arc of D.C., we envision a society in which individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities exercise their rights and are afforded a full set of opportunities and choices that enable them to contribute and have impact in the community.”