Who We Are

About US

About Us

The Arc of Southwest Alabama was formerly called the Educational Center for Independence (ECI). ECI was first incorporated in February 17, 1971. The program began in Sunflower, Alabama and served children and adults at that time. The program eventually moved to Chatom and served only adults. Over the years the services provided in Washington County have expanded to include Day Habilitation, Residential Habilitation, Hourly Community Services and Positive Behavior Supports, Specialized Medical Equipment, and Transportation. The Arc of Southwest Alabama (TASA) has always been committed to advancing the independence and productivity of individuals with disabilities. The primary means of accomplishing our mission is through direct supports and services to individuals and their families. TASA also strives to develop partnerships and joint ventures with similar agencies. It is the focus of The Arc of Southwest Alabama to enrich Washington County by offering quality supports and education to the community.

The Arc of Southwest Alabama is a private, non-profit corporation designated as a 501(c)(3). The agency serves Washington County. The office is located at 234 Hearn Drive, Chatom, Alabama, 36518. TASA is governed by a Board of Directors that is elected according to the Bylaws of this organization. TASA is certified by the Alabama Department of Mental Health and receives funds through the Medicaid Waiver Program facilitated by the State of Alabama. TASA contracts with the Cindy Haber Center (formerly The MR/DD Board, Inc) to provide case management services. TASA is also a partner agency of the United Way of Southwest Alabama and receives funding from United Way as a result.

In September 2016, ECI officially became a chapter of The Arc. The Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. State and national chapters of The Arc encompass all ages and more than 100 different diagnoses including autism, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and various other developmental disabilities.

With nearly 700 state and local chapters nationwide, The Arc is on the front lines to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families have the support and services they need to be fully engaged in their communities. The Arc works with its federation of state and local chapters to create an impressive network of human service agencies ensuring they have the strongest civil rights advocates promoting and protecting their needs at all levels.

Our nationwide network of chapters provides a wide range of human services and other supports to people with I/DD and their family members, including individual and public policy advocacy and residential, educational, and vocational services that let people with I/DD participate and be included in their communities. In addition, many of our chapters provide person-centered and financial planning, recreational activities, and other supports that meet the unique needs of people with I/DD and their families.

The Arc was born more than 60 years ago from a grassroots movement of families working vigilantly to create services for children and adults who were being denied day care, educational opportunities and work programs.

Founded in 1950, The Arc was comprised of a small group of concerned and passionate parents and community members who would be catalyst for changing the public perception of children with disabilities. For the past 60+ years, The Arc has continued to grow and evolve along with the changing needs and issues people with disabilities and their families face.

Governed by a volunteer board of directors and managed by key staff of The Arc, we work passionately to uphold our vision that every individual and family living with an intellectual or developmental disability in the United States has access to the information, advocacy and skills they need to participate as active citizens of our democracy and active members of their community.

The Arc is recognized as the foremost partner with families and people with developmental and intellectual disabilities to support and enhance the quality of their lives.

Our Core Values

Human Dignity

People with IDD have human dignity. The lives of people with IDD have value.


People with IDD have varying strengths, abilities, and interests. Each person is unique.


People with IDD can make decisions about their lives. People with IDD should be supported to do so as requested or needed.


People with IDD have human and civil rights, which must be protected.


People with IDD are part of and contribute to the fabric of society. Everyone benefits when people with IDD are present and participate.


People with IDD have differing support needs. Society must support people with IDD to achieve their full potential. Society should also help families who provide support for loved ones with IDD.


Society must remove barriers and correct injustices that limit opportunities for people with IDD. Extra action is needed to help people with IDD and their families, who face other forms of bias or discrimination.


Human diversity is beautiful and powerful. We celebrate, honor, and seek to understand the differences in our identities and life experiences.

Approved by chapters of The Arc, 9/28/21.

Our Mission

The Arc of Southwest Alabama…where we reach goals and achieve success beyond expectations!

Guiding Principles

Advocacy First

The Arc is a disability rights organization. We work with and for people with IDD, their families, and our communities to achieve change. We use the power of advocacy to improve the lives of people with IDD.

Stronger Together

The Arc unites our chapters to advance the human rights and wellbeing of people with IDD and their families. The success of our advocacy depends on the strength of the chapter network. We are stronger together.

Quality and Excellence

The Arc provides programs and services that people with IDD and their families want and depend upon in their daily lives. We strive for quality and excellence in all we do.

Shared Leadership

The Arc actively engages people with IDD and their family members in leading and guiding our work. These voices are the most important. The strong partnership between volunteer, experts, and the people we serve is critical to our mission.


The Arc leads by building consensus around a clear vision for the future of people with IDD. We unite and mobilize people behind goals and strategies that will make that vision a reality.

For All People with IDD

The Arc works with and for ALL people with IDD. While our work also helps all people with disabilities, our priority is people with IDD and their families.


The Arc works in coalition with other disability, civil rights, and human services groups. We value joint effort and step up to provide leadership when needed.

Open and Accountable

The Arc is accountable to people with IDD, their families, donors, and the public. We are committed to honesty and transparency.

Identity and Language

The Arc respects the rights of people with IDD to decide if or when to self-identify and the language they use when doing so.

Approved by chapters of The Arc, 9/28/21.