The goal of Community Experience Program is to provide an inclusive, stimulating environment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to learn daily living skills, socialize with their peers, stay engaged with their community, and provide opportunities for learning and creativity. Our objective, as with all Arc programs, is to enable individuals with IDD to live the most independent life possible. Community Experience Programs encompass a wide range of opportunities and skills training, such as self-care/personal hygiene, social skills, and therapy for physical/fine/gross motor skills.
The Arc’s Community Experience Programs seek to include and accommodate the entire range of intellectual and developmental disabilities and complexities presented. The Arc provides opportunities for continued learning and engagement. Individuals can visit our Literacy Center at the Crestwood campus or utilize the gym and wellness program. Programming is tailored to each individual’s needs, interests, and abilities. For example, some individuals may need to concentrate on name recognition and basic hand-eye coordination. Alternatively, some may need to focus on money management, navigating public transportation, and maintaining the appropriate parameters of interpersonal relationships.
Please visit our Directory to view locations.
The Arc’s Community Experience Program also benefits families of individuals with IDD. Many parents and siblings who care for their loved one tell us it’s a chance for them to return to work and better manage other responsibilities. Age of Community Experience Program participants vary from early 20s to 60s and older.
Cortney has participated in The Arc’s Community Experience Program for more than 5 years. He is quiet and unassuming, and always well-mannered. By his choice, he generally does not participate in Day Program outings and signals his direct support professionals when he is not interested by shaking his head. Cortney enjoys his quiet time.
When the opportunity arose to send two individuals from our Community Experience Program to Studio By The Tracks (SBTT), staff presented Cortney’s name. Most were unaware that Cortney enjoyed art and drawing, but decided to ask him if he wanted to participate. As usual, he declined and shifted away. After some persuading and insistence that SBTT was a quiet place for him to draw, Cortney gave a brief nod—yes! Arc staff was thrilled Cortney agreed to the opportunity.
After Cortney’s first day of quiet, artistic time to himself, he arrived back at The Arc and flashed a fleeting smile to let staff know he enjoyed his time at the studio. Today, Cortney is more open-minded about outings and social events and always asks, “Am I going to draw?” He still declines some activities, but staff has seen an improvement in his willingness to participate.
We look forward to seeing Cortney’s excitement when his drawings are for sale and he earns some well-deserved income. Our staff is happiest when we are able to help our individuals find their creative outlet and gain validation from activities that are as a result of Arc programming. We are thrilled to see Cortney’s eagerness to explore his passion.