WASHINGTON, DC, April 4, 2023 – The Arc is thrilled to announce that a grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation will help us empower families and students navigating the special education process, which continues to be a source of confusion and frustration for countless families across the country.

Too often, students and their caregivers do not know all the supports and services that they are entitled to, or how to successfully advocate for them. With The Coca-Cola Foundation’s support, The Arc is working to change that reality.

The new grant will support dissemination and facilitation of The Arc@School’s Self-Determination Toolkit and Special Education Advocacy Curriculum in five selected chapters of The Arc across the country. Through these resources, students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families will expand their knowledge about rights within the special education system and how to receive what they need to thrive in school.

Each chapter will utilize the Self-Determination Toolkit to work directly with students with disabilities and local school systems, with the ultimate goal of leading their own Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. Assisting students with disabilities to better understand self-determination is critically important to help them be their own advocate and develop those skills that will be important in their day to day lives now and in the future. Additionally, their parents and guardians will have the opportunity to access the online Special Education Advocacy Curriculum training for free to expand their knowledge on the IEP process and feel empowered to be meaningful partners alongside their children as they advocate for themselves.

“An equitable education is a vital building block of community life for people with disabilities,” said Katy Schmid, Senior Director of National Program Initiatives at The Arc of the United States. “Issues like restraint, seclusion, segregation, and a lack of accommodations don’t just hurt students during their formative years—they can have long-term negative effects socially, psychologically, academically, and sometimes even physically. Inclusion starts in the classroom, and we thank The Coca-Cola Foundation for their continued commitment to making sure students with disabilities thrive in school and beyond.”


About The Arc of the United States: The Arc advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy, and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of nearly 600 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with IDD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis. Visit www.thearc.org or follow us @TheArcUS to learn more. Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.

About The Coca-Cola Foundation: Established in 1984, The Coca-Cola Foundation has invested more than $1.5 billion globally to protect the environment, empower women to thrive and to enhance the overall well-being of people and communities.

Media Contact:

Jackie Dilworth


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