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Advocacy for Adults and Transitional Age Individuals
The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties is the only local provider of Adult Advocacy Services for those adult and transitional age individuals with intellectual disabilities and/or developmental delays that may be experiencing issues that infringe upon their quality of life. While the adult system has historically experienced limited funding, the Arc continues to provide advocacy services free of charge for individuals living with an intellectual disability and/or developmental delay. Our Advocates are here to help families navigate the somewhat cumbersome adult, regulatory guidelines and offer advice and assistance in a wide variety of issues, ranging from employment to residential and community programs, and can provide assistance at agency planning meetings. The Arc and its Advocates remain vigilant in protecting the rights and safety of each individual with whom we work..
Since its founding in 1949, the Arc of Pennsylvania has been a leader in advocating for individuals with an intellectual disability and/or developmental delay to protect their right to a free, public education. And in 1972 filed suit against Pennsylvania’s Board of Education and Department of Public Welfare of behalf of 13 children who were being denied access to free public education. It was because of this landmark lawsuit that the Commonwealth agreed to devise a plan to identify, locate, evaluate and train all school-age children with intellectual disabilities and developmental delays. This historic action led to the federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA, which affords a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to all students with disabilities. This law was later reauthorized and is now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties is the area’s only free-of-charge provider of Advocacy services for individuals with intellectual disabilities and developmental delays who are facing challenges in receiving the proper educational supports to be successful. Our Advocates can offer expert advice and assistance on such topics as issues related to the individual’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), classroom placement, and providing for reasonable physical accommodations, among others. Families are asked to partner with our Advocates in developing an action plan that will ultimately lead to the family gaining the necessary skills to be their own effective, self-advocate.
The Arc of Lehigh & Northampton Counties’ Advocacy Department is currently in a period of revision designed to serve individuals and families as effectively and efficiently as possible in the future. While we do not expect this revision to continue for an extended period of time, it is necessary that we evaluate our staffing and the processes in which we currently engage in as requests for our support have increased significantly. We believe that taking this opportunity provides us with a future to continue to support our individuals and families while having the confidence to expand our impact within our community.
- As a result of our commitment to planning for the future, at present we are unable to take on any new cases. If you are interested in putting you and/or your family’s case on our waiting list, please complete the online inquiry form below.
- If you have had a previous case with us, please also complete the online inquiry form.
- For those individuals and families who are currently receiving Advocacy support, we will continue to help support you until the situation is resolved.
While we are in this period of revision, we will continue to screen all new requests for Advocacy support and provide resources where applicable.
We value the needs of you and/or your family and thank you in advance for your patience as we look forward to positioning our department to meet the needs of the intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) community at large.
The Advocacy Department
The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties is a non-profit organization as defined by IRS regulations. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.