Informing, Connecting, and Empowering families with knowledge and resources, The Arc is a partner in your journey to help your child develop their unique talents and interests.

The Arc connects parents and family members with the resources needed to feel confident and capable of helping their child thrive. Services are designed to complement existing resources for children and youth under the age of 21. Learning how to solve problems, make decisions, develop goals, and follow through builds self-reliance and trust in one’s ability to be successful.

When a child is diagnosed with a disability, the family is thrust into a new world; acronyms that everyone else seems to know, the uncertainty of where to turn, and an unclear way forward. With The Arc, families have a place to turn, a trusted partner in helping their child succeed. The Arc acts as a facilitator, a bridge to understanding the local resources and the people, support, and options available.

Caring for a child with a disability can be stressful. The added stress of not knowing who to turn to is unnecessary. The Arc connects families with the needed resources; the people, programs, and opportunities they need. And these connections start with a simple phone call to one person who will find the answer if they don’t already know it.

Family Supports

This program means people under 21 can access additional resources through ​The Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) via a qualified provider. The Arc is a Family Supports Provider, one of only a handful in our area. Family supports are geared toward out-of-school time; weekends, evenings, and summer break. We help families access needed services like assistive technology, vehicle modifications, respite care, and training.

Educational Advocacy

School-aged students with a disability, birth to age 21, are entitled to a free and appropriate education. This means each child is looked at individually to determine the supports or accommodations needed to be successful in school. The Arc can help families navigate the education system, create and update individual education plans (IEPs), find needed resources, and work with the school system to make positive changes.

The Arc@School

Do you find the special education process confusing? You’re not alone. Become a better advocate for students with disabilities with The Arc@School!

The Arc@School’s advocacy curriculum is designed for people who need to better understand the services available to special education students. After completing this program you will be able to advocate for the services and supports your child needs. The program covers:

  • Building a Foundation for Advocacy
  • IDEA and Early Intervention Services
  • DEA and Special Education Services
  • Anatomy of an IEP
  • Procedural Safeguards
  • Section 504

The program includes 8 weeks of online instruction, and each module includes a pre-test, listening guide, narrated video presentations, post-test, and additional resources.

When you sign up for the program, you will get:

  • 2 study sessions with Arc staff (Oct 27 and Nov 17)
  • 8 weeks of video content
  • Back to school kit
  • Interactive Support Facebook Group
  • Certificate of completion following the program

Thanks to support from Optimal Health, this program is currently SOLD OUT for the Fall. Join the waitlist for the Spring session, below.

Register using the form below. Questions? Email or call 410.353.1137

Cup of Caring


Are you struggling to understand the resources available to you or your child with intellectual and developmental disabilities? Join us for a virtual Cup of Caring and learn how The Arc can help!

These monthly coffee talks take place on the first Tuesday of every month from September – May at 10:00AM and 6:00PM. The talks are facilitated by The Arc’s Director of Engagement. Caregivers and interested community members will have a chance to ask questions, to learn, and to share information about resources for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their communities. So grab a cup, and join us!

September 1 – Back To School

October 6 – Workforce Readiness

November 3 – Transition Planning

December 1 – Sensory Friendly Holidays

January 5 – Virtual Advocacy

February 2 – Family Fund

March 2 – Resources For Your School-Aged Child

April 6 – Financial Planning

May 4 – Admissions & Services

Check out episodes from the Cup of Caring series.

Questions? Email or call 410.353.1137.

The Family Fund

To better understand the additional costs for families with a child with a disability, Researchers Mark Stabile and Sara Allin recently examined evidence about three kinds of costs; “direct, out-of-pocket costs incurred as a result of the child’s disability; indirect costs incurred by the family managing disability supports and long-term costs associated with the child’s future economic performance.” Stabile and Allin’s research titled, The Economic Costs of Childhood Disability, showed the average cost incurred supporting a child’s disability is $30,500 a year per, on top of the typical expenses of a family.

Because we know there are incredibly effective camps, therapies, equipment, and learning opportunities not fully covered by insurance and often out of reach financially, we developed the Family Fund. A grant program, the Family Fund is there to help fill gaps in providing quality of life enrichment needs for youth under the age of 21.

Additional information and frequently asked questions about the Family Fund

Holiday Giving Program

Every year, The Arc Central Chesapeake Region works diligently to ensure we can touch as many lives as possible during the holiday season. We understand the tremendous financial burden families have when they are caring for a child with special needs. Our hopes are that by partnering with local businesses and sponsors, we can lessen the burden for those who are in need by supplying holiday gifts to both the child with a disability and their siblings.

Get the Family Connector

The Family Connector is a resource newsletter for families with children (under 21) with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is delivered mid-month, every month, and includes resources you need to navigate a complicated world.