TARC is Now “The Arc of Oklahoma”:
Education, Empowerment, Advocacy, and Support for People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Eight years ago, my husband and I went to Europe with no reservations, no plans, and everything we need for two weeks in packs on our backs. In keeping with this “fly by the seat of our pants” journey, we rented mopeds to see the Tuscany region. Riding through the beautiful Italian countryside with no map and no plan was all adventurous and wonderful – until it wasn’t. We became terribly, miserably lost riding Mopeds in the rain. We rode in circles, desperately searching for anything that looked remotely familiar that might point us back to our lodging. We didn’t speak Italian, so even when we did see other humans, we couldn’t communicate. It was not the best day in Italy.
I’ve thought about the helpless, panicky (but temporary) feeling I had that day compared to my parents’ long journey through my brother’s disabilities. They landed in a situation for which they had no preparation and no roadmap. It was the 1960s, and there was rarely an open discussion about children with intellectual disabilities. There were even fewer resources for helping parents navigate through a confusing maze of therapies, education, and services for children with intellectual disabilities. When my parents unexpectedly had a child diagnosed with intellectual disabilities, they felt helpless and lost. Unlike my day lost in Tuscany, there was a long lifetime of bumps and detours along the road for them.
The “map” my parents did find was TARC, which has been serving Tulsans since 1952. TARC is now The Arc of Oklahoma, a state chapter of The Arc of the United States, the largest national community-based organization advocating for and with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD.) The Arc and its network of affiliates are dedicated to serving individuals and their families across diagnoses, including Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Arc of Oklahoma is your bilingual roadmap to navigating the way to services for your family member with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc of Oklahoma is your one-stop shop where you can become educated about disabilities, find out about resources that are available in your area, receive support through peer groups (English and Spanish speaking groups available), and get assistance for IEP (Individualized Education Program) school meetings. There are also self-advocacy groups, social activities, and grief support groups. If the Arc of Oklahoma does not directly provide a service, they can point you in the right direction.
The Arc of Oklahoma is not just for kids; it provides services from pre-birth through the end of life for individuals and families. Please click on this link to view Cheryl and Christian’s story of how The Arc assisted them from the beginning of Christian’s life and continue to do so through every stage of life. The Arc of Oklahoma is a “map” that comes fully equipped with tour guides, both English and Spanish speaking, to help you find your way through the system.
The Arc of Oklahoma is a new name, but it will continue to provide the excellent services TARC has provided for over sixty years. According to The Arc of Oklahoma Executive Director Lisa Turner, “The new logo connects us with the work of a strong and energetic national organization and is a bright reminder that we provide an opportunity for hope, growth, and change for Oklahomans with I/DD and their families.”
The Arc of Oklahoma is proud to announce their first annual calendar available for a twenty dollar donation. The 2021 calendar showcases Oklahomans with intellectual and developmental disabilities living their best life, from becoming homeowners to winning the National Cheerleading Championships to finding their happy place. The purchase of a calendar helps The Arc of Oklahoma continue to provide services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and bonus, it makes a great stocking stuffer! The Arc of Oklahoma is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and proud Partner Agency of the Tulsa Area United Way. All services are provided free of charge. The Arc also depends on contributions from other charitable foundations, businesses, and generous families and individuals. All donations are tax-deductible.
To contact The Arc of Oklahoma, visit their website at https://www.ddadvocacy.net/ (which also has a Spanish option) or call 918-582-8272.