The Association for Community Living promotes attitudes, practices, programs and policies that enable people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be included as a natural and integral part of community life.
ACL continues to provide individual advocacy to ensure people with IDD are accorded their civil and human rights. We break down barriers to self-sufficiency by acting as a bridge between people with IDD and service/support systems, and by educating businesses, organizations and community members about how to communicate effectively with people with IDD in order to dismantle barriers to community inclusion. Recent successes include training recreation providers in two counties about including people with IDD in their programs; supporting inclusive theatre, music, library and dance programs; outreach, collaboration and training for law enforcement, mental health, substance abuse and protective services. In 2017 we will address the growing need for whole family advocacy and support for parents with IDD to develop their parenting skills and learn to navigate support systems as independently as possible. This will take additional resources and ACL is actively raising funds to support this effort.
"The ACL is a wonderful resource and I am so glad that several people referred me to them when I was having a challenge with my daughter's school. When I had to meet with the school, it was SO much easier to for me to attend the meeting, knowing I wasn't going into the lion's den alone, knowing that I had 'my' advocate there for support." (Victoria)
The Association for Community Living (ACL) was founded in Boulder in 1962, incorporated as a chapter of The Arc in 1974, and is the affiliated chapter of The Arc of the United States serving Boulder and Broomfield Counties. We were created by people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD), and people with IDD and their families provide leadership on the ACL Board of Trustees to this day. The ACL is part of a human rights movement established in the 1960's in response to the denial of public education to children with IDD and concern about routine institutionalization, and subsequent abuse and neglect of children and adults with IDD in institutional settings. The ACL has been instrumental in achieving the right to access public education and community based support services for people with IDD. These rights are now protected by law, yet people with IDD still experience significant barriers to community inclusion. Without independent advocacy it is very difficult for people with I/DD to access complex and fragmented health and long-term care systems, public assistance programs, public schools, higher education systems, and employment opportunities. Historically, and even today, people with IDD are excluded from community arts, music, recreation and leisure. The ACL is working to change societal attitudes, but it is still difficult for children, adults and families with I/DD to feel welcomed in their communities. The ACL is the only source of independent advocacy for people with IDD and their families in Boulder & Broomfield Counties. We receive no funding from the agencies within which we advocate which allows us to remain an independent voice for people with IDD.