There was a lot we liked about the Noah's Arc support group but, our favorite part was being exposed to other parents of premature babies that had "graduated" from the NICU - sharing their stories of success with us - giving us hope and making us aware that we were not necessarily alone in what was otherwise a very frightening and emotional time in our lives. We were able to find much needed support through this program.
Our wish for the Noah's Arc program is that other parents with babies in the NICU are able to find the same much needed comfort and support that it provided our family.
The Arc and the Aktion Club are wonderful to help others and children and senior people by reaching out to them and always thinking of them first. It doesn't matter who you are because we are all human beings.
What I wish for the future is for the Aktion Club to always continue and for all of us to continue to grow and learn about our community and the resources that are available to help us. I also want for all people to care for special people. I love the Aktion Club and all of my friends that are in the club with me. We have a blast. The Arc is always making sure we have good things to do.
The Arc of Mecklenburg County is a fabulous resource for individuals with developmental disabilities, theirfamilies and professionals. Over the years I have used the Resource Guide and made suggestions about services found in this guide to individuals in my community. It is a valuable tool! I recently attended their Guardianship Education Workshop to learn more about this process so that I could have more meaningful conversations with the parents of my students and individuals in my community on this topic.
My wish for The Arc is that they will be able to continue to provide the resources and supports to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families so that these individuals will have greater fulfillment in their lives.
Thank you so much for the brochures and pamphlets on your Doors 2 Life program you recently supplied to the Autism Society of North Carolina—Mecklenburg County Chapter. As you know, each year the chapter puts together transition packets for students with autism who are leaving high school. These transition packets include information on employment, recreation, training/education and other opportunities for those with autism.
The Arc's Resource Guide is enormously helpful because it is an A-Z list of all the possible places where our population can find help. We greatly appreciate you gathering this information and making it easy to access, both in the print brochure and on the website. We are also very appreciative of the fact you make social opportunities like the Atkion Club available to our young adults. As you know, it can be very challenging to find places where they can be accepted and have the chance to participate in helping in the community.
Thank you again for all you do to serve a population that is so often underserved.
I feel that the Aktion Club has encouraged me by seeing others succeed and helping out with collecting shoes, cell-phones and other needed community items that we can donate. We get to learn about our community by visiting museums, riding public transportation and getting involved in volunteer activities. We also get to have fun! We go bowling every winter and go to Charlotte Checkers Hockey Games together. We raise our own money by holding fundraisers so we can do fun activities. I love the Aktion Club.
My uncle, Larry, has Down Syndrome and when I was younger we lived in the same home together. I now consider him more of a brother than an uncle, and because of Larry I've always had a desire to be involved with the special needs community.
In today's world of complex government guidelines and ever changing economic conditions it is crucial for communities to have access to the services that The Arc provides; advocacy, community awareness, and possibly the most important thing, direction for those new to the special needs world.
My wish is that The Arc continues with its mission for many years and that others will also be encourged to volunteer and provide support along the way.
Upon learning of our oldest son's diagnosis of autism, we were distraught, confused and scared. The doctor who diagnosed him told us that with proper therapy and counseling, our son could thrive. All we knew was that we had an autistic son, a pile of reports and an uncertain future. In addition, neither my husband nor I had any understanding of this scary disorder.
We were advised to contact the Arc of Mecklenburg County for direction. The people at The Arc took the time to listen to our situation and our fears. They connected us with other special needs parents and gave us a comprehensive resource guide. We were relieved to see that the information we needed had been researched and compiled in one neat book. They helped us prioritize the many therapies our son would need so we were a bit less overwhelmed.
The therapists were effective but expensive, and they suggested that we access continued therapies through the school system. Panicked, we realized that we needed to make some fast and vital decisions regarding our son's education placement. Again, we called The Arc of Mecklenburg County. They told us that they had an upcoming education workshop on how to navigate services through the school system. Thus began our education on advocating for our child.
The Arc held workshops on writing effective IEP's (Individual Education Plans), and even attended the intimidating IEP meetings with parents. They brought in experts on legal issues parents face which helped us to understand our rights and responsibilities as parents of a child with disabilities. They held resource fairs where vendors would present their services. They even arranged for massage therapists to donate their time at the resource fairs to give free shoulder massages to exhausted parents. As we grew more educated, the fear and panic we felt started to subside and we began to feel empowered and even optimistic about our son's future.
Most recently our son graduated from High School and we faced another transition, this time into the real world of adulthood. We had learned at an earlier seminar that The Arc had created a web site designed to help graduating students with disabilities navigate the world of employment. We learned that this site is unique in that it accounts for not only future employment, but future life. It guides individuals with disabilities through a series of “doors” which enable each to follow his own path, using his own abilities and preferences. It is professional, concise and user-friendly. This tool has been invaluable to us in exploring the future with our son. He is much less anxious about how his abilities will fit into the workplace environment and more confident about the prospect of becoming fully independent one day.
Our son recently graduated from Myers Park High School with a 3.8 weighted grade point average. He was the first student with autism to have been on Myers Park’s football team. He is working at an internship while taking a UNCC course in web design. He is a potential candidate for an internship at a web design firm here in the Charlotte area.
Looking back, we could not have come nearly this far without the services provided to us by The Arc of Mecklenburg County. They empowered us as a family to learn, grow and overcome many of the limitations typically experienced by individuals on the autism spectrum. The Arc continues to be an invaluable resource to our family as well as many other families of individuals with disabilities.