The Arkansas Disability Coalition, ADC, formerly named the Arkansas Coalition for the Handicapped, was incorporated in 1976. The ADC began with a group of families, who had children with various disabilities. They came together to discuss the lack of school services for their children and others, joined forces, and incorporated the organization. The timing was crucial due to the authorization of the Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act, the Special Education Law which entitled children with disabilities to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
The ADC Board of Directors was established with the majority of the board being parents of individuals with disabilities. Members of the board represented disability related organizations, such as the Arkansas Association for Hearing Impaired Children and the Arkansas Association for Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities. One member of each organization was selected to serve on the board and would have one vote, no matter how large or small their organization was.
About 1990 there was a tremendous movement for people to use “people first language” so the name was changed to the Arkansas Disability Coalition. There were many people who were not members of other disability related organizations who wanted to be more involved with the ADC, and they needed a way to participate. So the ADC by-laws were changed to include a means for all individuals to seek election to the board. Also, the planning began for an annual convention to be held for the members. The first ADC Convention, “The Option is Yours”, was held on March 20, 1993.