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Our Core Values

Human Dignity

People with IDD have human dignity. The lives of people with IDD have value.


People with IDD have varying strengths, abilities, and interests. Each person is unique.


People with IDD can make decisions about their lives. People with IDD should be supported to do so as requested or needed.


People with IDD have human and civil rights, which must be protected.


People with IDD are part of and contribute to the fabric of society. Everyone benefits when people with IDD are present and participate.


People with IDD have differing support needs. Society must support people with IDD to achieve their full potential. Society should also help families who provide support for loved ones with IDD.


Society must remove barriers and correct injustices that limit opportunities for people with IDD. Extra action is needed to help people with IDD and their families, who face other forms of bias or discrimination.


Human diversity is beautiful and powerful. We celebrate, honor, and seek to understand the differences in our identities and life experiences.

Approved by chapters of The Arc, 9/28/21.




The Arc’s position statements address critical issues related to human and civil rights, health care and treatment, and services and programs for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Position statements are used to inform The Arc’s public policy agenda, as well as to provide the national platform of positions of The Arc for use by chapters at all levels of The Arc in its work – national, state, and local. The statements also serve to inform our constituency, stakeholders, media, and the general public on the prevailing organizational view on key issues.

Creation of Position Statements

The President of The Arc appoints the Policy and Positions Committee which considers development of new position statements and revision of existing position statements and which collaborates with the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD).

New position statements and revisions of existing statements are developed through a process that provides substantial opportunity for input and participation by chapters of The Arc. Chapter comments are taken into consideration as the final drafts are developed for consideration by the Board of Directors of The Arc. After approval by the Board, final drafts are presented to the Chapters for adoption at The Arc’s Annual Meeting. Once adopted, position statements remain in force until they are replaced or withdrawn. The Arc’s bylaws require that the position statements be reviewed at least every six years.


Guiding Principles

Advocacy First

The Arc is a disability rights organization. We work with and for people with IDD, their families, and our communities to achieve change. We use the power of advocacy to improve the lives of people with IDD.

Stronger Together

The Arc unites our chapters to advance the human rights and wellbeing of people with IDD and their families. The success of our advocacy depends on the strength of the chapter network. We are stronger together.

Quality and Excellence

The Arc provides programs and services that people with IDD and their families want and depend upon in their daily lives. We strive for quality and excellence in all we do.

Shared Leadership

The Arc actively engages people with IDD and their family members in leading and guiding our work. These voices are the most important. The strong partnership between volunteer, experts, and the people we serve is critical to our mission.


The Arc leads by building consensus around a clear vision for the future of people with IDD. We unite and mobilize people behind goals and strategies that will make that vision a reality.

For All People with IDD

The Arc works with and for ALL people with IDD. While our work also helps all people with disabilities, our priority is people with IDD and their families.


The Arc works in coalition with other disability, civil rights, and human services groups. We value joint effort and step up to provide leadership when needed.

Open and Accountable

The Arc is accountable to people with IDD, their families, donors, and the public. We are committed to honesty and transparency.

Identity and Language

The Arc respects the rights of people with IDD to decide if or when to self-identify and the language they use when doing so.

Approved by chapters of The Arc, 9/28/21.