The Arc is involved in two types of advocacy – personal, which involves making sure an individual client receives the services they need, and community, which involves making sure elected officials are informed about the needs and concerns of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Because our clients face a multitude of challenges, whether its navigating the complex medical, legal and educational systems, the Arc provides advocates. One-by-one, Arc advocates guide clients and their families through the processes necessary in order to receive needed information and services.
“We, the ones who are challenged, need to be heard. To be seen not as a disability, but as a person who has, and will continue to bloom.To be seen not only as a handicapped, but as a well-intact human being.”
– Rober Hensel, born with Spina Bifida and Guinness World Record Holder of the Longest Wheel Chair Wheelie – 6.178 miles.
Arc’s trained staff and volunteer advocates accompany individuals and families to doctor appointments and medical procedures 1) to ensure that the individual’s rights are protected and 2) to serve as a liaison between the medical professionals and the client. In this capacity, the advocate prepares clients and their families by explaining, reassuring and preparing the client and their families for what they can expect. For our clients, these advocates ease the anxiety that often accompanies a trip to the doctor’s office. This advance preparation means that appointments go more smoothly, which in turn encourages more physicians to accept patients with disabilities.
Advocates are available to accompany individuals or families to legal proceedings, including courtroom appearances. Our advocates are often involved in researching cases or complaints to determine whether a person’s rights have been violated. They explain the processes that need to be followed and prepare clients and their families for whatever legal action may need to be taken. When the need arises, Arc advocates collaborate with local lawyers and disability law experts to make sure that the rights of Arc clients are respected and protected.
Advocates are available to assist clients and their families as they learn the ins and outs of the often difficult and confusing Individualized Education Program process. The advocate ensures that parents and children receive fair treatment, and works with school staff to ensure that Arc clients and their families understand the programs and resources that are available to them.
The Arc of Buncombe County provides a voice at the local legislative level for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We work with the national Arc as well as the state and other local chapters to advocate for the rights of our community through grassroots action and public policy. We track legislation and inform our members and friends about civil rights, education, employment, health care, and housing issues. The Arc also acts as an advocate for the community as a whole.
SOME OF OUR ADVOCACY AREAS INCLUDE: