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.
The ACL advocated in the school system for a child who has a diagnosis that keeps him in a custom wheelchair. He has a speech delay and uses a Dynovox to communicate most of the time. His mother can understand his speech but this is more difficult for his teachers. He requires assistance with a lot of daily tasks. His family moved to Colorado several years ago because they read that the quality of life for people with disabilities was better here. He was enrolled in special education at their local school and with the support of ACL advocacy has been included in his school community and he has done very well. He has a great sense of humor and has a lot of friends at school. He also has a great relationship with his family and their family dog, Ralphie. It is an ongoing concern that as he transitions to high school that the services he receives at school will continue. Advocacy is ongoing and as he becomes a young man the collaboration of the person being served, the family, the ACL, the school system and the community ripples out creating a more inclusive community as we all look forward to his high school graduation.
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 has been instrumental in achieving the right to access public education and community based support services in our community. 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 IDD to access complex and fragmented health and long-term care systems, public assistance programs, public schools, higher education systems, and employment opportunities. People with IDD are excluded from community arts, music, recreation and leisure activities and it is difficult for people with IDD 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.