A History of Name Changes

  • 1953 - 1973: National Association for Retarded Children (NARC)
  • 1973 - 1981: National Association for Retarded Citizens (NARC)
  • 1981 - 1992: Association for Retarded Citizens of the United States (ARC)
  • 1992 - Present: The Arc of the United States  (The Arc)

Changing with the times

We, as an organization have been sensitive to the impact of terminology on our constituency and have adapted accordingly. As the words 'retardation' and 'retarded' became pejorative, derogatory and demeaning in usage, the organization changed its name to 'The Arc.' 

Today, the term 'mental retardation' remains the terminology used in the medical field and referenced in many state and federal laws.  However, 'intellectual disability' and 'developmental disability' are making their presence known, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure they're adopted more broadly.

We strongly believe the only 'r-word' that should be used when referring to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is "Respect."