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The Arc of San Diego offers life-enhancing programs

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The Arc of San Diego has established programs vital to the well-being of adults and children with disabilities and their families for nearly 55 years. Each program brings individuals, also referred to as consumers, closer to social, economic and personal independence, helping them tap into their unlimited potential.

The Parent/Infant program is offered to families in their home setting, a classroom environment or a combination of both.

In the home environment, Arc staff members make regularly scheduled visits to work with the child and his or her family.

In the classroom environment, the child is brought to an Arc facility, community pre-school or another toddler program to integrate with other young children in activity participation. Each activity takes place in a play environment of daily routines, incorporating fine and gross motor skills, personal and social interaction, self-help, language and cognition.

While most children do very well learning the basic functions taught in this program, some children might need extra assistance with certain skills like language, motor or self-help. In these circumstances, The Arc of San Diego enlists the assistance of physical, occupational or speech therapists. Because this program is so well-tailored to each child and fulfills many of their needs, the success rate is high and consumers often do not need their services after the age of 3, instead entering mainstream preschool programs.

Arc understands that with the joy of embracing a child with disabilities also comes hard work, so it has created the Respite program, which gives families time to run errands, go out to dinner, spend quality time with their other children or take time for themselves while their child is cared for. This vital program helps maintain family stability and prevent or delay the need for the child to live away from home.

But The Arc of San Diego does not stop at helping children. It places just as much emphasis on people over the age of 60, exemplified by a dedication to helping seniors via the Senior Program.

Disabled adults who lived beyond the age of 40 were once anomalies. With the advancement of medical technologies, these stellar individuals are now living into their 60s and 70s, and with their growing life expectancy comes an increase in personal choices. For instance, rather than simply find a job or participate in a day program, they can now take part in activities that augment the quality of their lives and maintain or improve their skills with personalized help because The Arc of San Diego offers one “instructor” for every three seniors.

Arc does more than meet the basic needs of these consumers — it offers them support and encourages them to get involved in light recreation and leisure activities that enhance their lives and maintain or even improve their skills. The individual may elect to design and create crafts, which enhance hand-eye coordination, spatial and color discernment and dexterity, among other abilities. These crafts are then sold on-site and at craft shows to retail business partners, thereby promoting community interaction for these seniors. They also interact with their community when they visit local community senior centers, where they can take part in activities with their non-disabled counterparts. At Arc, disabled seniors are truly treated like the first-class citizens that they are.

Keeping consumers in touch with today’s technology, Arc offers a phenomenal computer program using Macintosh units donated by community colleges and reclaimed PCs. Training is provided by instructors, coaches and community college professors. Participants are stimulated as they use these computers in ways almost unimaginable. They use touch screens to match graphics or sounds, promoting memory skills and reinforcing cause and effect. Also offered are Braille keyboards, as well as switches that can be activated by the consumers’ fingers, hands, noses or chins to gain access to the world, become more confident and even secure jobs in the community by typing their resume and searching for employment.

Consumers use computers for recreation as well, creating fliers for upcoming activities, designing greeting cards and making vivid decorations for the center.

Arc’s many programs are offered at various Arc locations in North, South and East County as well as South Bay and central San Diego.

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