A man on a wheelchair.
Assistance for people with special needs. Photo: Pixabay.

More than $700,000 in grants for people with disabilities

The initiative seeks to expand technology training and advocacy for special education.


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Comcast recently announced an expansion of its partnership with The Arc of the United States, a nonprofit organization that advocates for and serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), including Down syndrome, autism, mental disorders, fetal alcohol spectrum, cerebral palsy, and other diagnoses.

Rubén Rodríguez, COO and Acting CEO of The Arc of the United States, stated:

Far too many people with IDD are left behind in our society. A quality educational experience and understanding of technology is fundamental in creating equal opportunities of all kinds.

Resources in Action

Through two new grants totaling $710,000, the alliance seeks to foster digital and advocacy skills in people with IDD and their families.

The funds will enable The Arc to establish more Technology Training Centers at chapters across the country, as well as offer The Arc@School's special education advocacy curriculum to Spanish-speaking families, programs that have already helped more than 3,500 people with IDD to develop more independence, equity and opportunities for their future.

“These systems continue to deepen extraordinary disparities among people with IDD, especially underrepresented communities and low-income families. Our continued partnership with Comcast is making opportunity a reality for all people with IDD. It’s chiseling away at our society’s rampant inequities and helping everyone – no matter your disability – build bright futures,” added Rodríguez.

Digital Training

$560,000 will go to strengthen The Arc Technical Training Centers in 10 locations across the country, while seeking to expand the training model to include caregivers and family members of people with IDD to ensure they can provide support in the technology implementation in all settings, including assistive technology.

Highlighting how people with IDD face unique barriers to understanding and adopting digital tools, which are exacerbated by a higher poverty rate and lower overall income, since 2014 Comcast has supported The Arc's Tech Coaching Center, reaching nearly 2,500 people with IDD through 19 chapters and providing them with access to devices, services, and training that improve outcomes measured in employment, health, independent living, education, and interpersonal connections.

“We know that digital skills training can open new doors to opportunity and help people living with disabilities gain independence. That’s why we are proud to continue our long-standing partnership with The Arc to reach even more people with IDD – including their caregivers and families — and to create pathways that can help enrich their lives,” pointed out Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation. 

Special Education Advocacy

$150,000 will be used by The Arc to fully translate the curriculum into Spanish-language and increase access to content, thus meeting the needs of this population.

The academic achievement and graduation rates of students with disabilities lag far behind their peers, trends marked by excessive discrimination, suspensions, and isolation within school settings across the country.

In 2016, The Arc created The Arc@School, an evidence-based, self-paced online training program designed to help families, educators, and advocates navigate the special education system.

To date, more than 500 families of color and low-income households have received free access to The Arc@School, plus a facilitation guide, a Spanish-language overview of the special education process, and resources and sections on cultural competency.


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