The Arc Tennessee provides comprehensive programs to empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Lenny Schumacher

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NASHVILLE, TN – The Arc Tennessee is a nonprofit corporation established in July 1952 when a group of parents met in Nashville at George Peabody College. The organization assists individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to be actively involved in the community throughout their lifetime.

For more than 60 years, The Arc Tennessee has worked to create programs that positively impact the lives of individuals with disabilities. The programs include the Center for Decision-Making Support, Family Engagement, People First, Peer Support Academy, and People Talking to People.

The Tennessee Center for Decision-Making Support exists to provide easy-to-understand, accurate information about all decision-making support options for people with disabilities in one place. The Center’s resources can benefit all ages and families. Meanwhile, The Family Engagement Program is a joint work between the Tennessee Department of Education to help families engage in their child’s journey in special education.

People First Tennessee is a grassroots - disability rights program operated by and for individuals with disabilities in the state. With nine chapters and 300 members statewide, People First aims to connect with other self-advocates, mentors, and supporters.

The Arc Tennessee partners with Amerigroup and disABILITY link to provide support and training for individuals with disabilities to become peer mentors for one another. The Peer Support Academy is a three-day training experience like no other.

The organization provides The People Talking to People project or PTP, an independent quality assurance program for the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities or DIDD. Here, People with disabilities will conduct interviews with other people with disabilities to gather information to measure quality indicators.

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