In 1952, several families in Stamford Connecticut needed support for their children who were intellectually disabled. When they tried to access community assistance, they realized that there was little or no support available for their children. They put an ad in the Stamford Advocate and invited other parents of children with intellectual disabilities to a meeting to discuss ways to secure support for their growing children.
There was overwhelming support from the community and Aid for Retarded Children, Inc. was formed. The first program was a summer camp, which was followed by a preschool. As the children grew, the agency grew with them. Soon ARI was serving teens and adults. In 1971, the name of the agency was changed to Aid for the Retarded, Inc., in 1988 was changed to ARI, Inc. and in 1995 the name changed to ARI of Connecticut, Inc.
In 1974 a Vocational Training Center opened and provided employment services for adults with developmental disabilities. In 1978 ARI began residential services with the opening of its first group home. Since then ARI has expanded operations to five group homes (four in Stamford and one in Ridgefield). In 1992 Residential Services were expanded to provide supports for individuals to successfully live independently in their own apartment.
ARI of Connecticut, Inc. has grown over the years, but has intentionally remained one of the smallest providers of services for adults with developmental disabilities in the state. We believe that our intimate size enables us to provide a “family like” environment and a more individualized approach to services and supports based on each individual’s needs and interests. Currently ARI provides residential supports for 32 individuals in five group homes and 18 living in their own apartments. In addition, ARI operates a day program providing community activities, life skills and vocational training for 60 individuals. We train and support another 33 individuals in their jobs, helping them to obtain and retain community based employment. ARI also provides social and recreational programs for these individuals and many others who are not otherwise supported by ARI.
In total, we serve nearly 150 individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities who primarily live in Stamford and its surrounding communities annually. Their disabilities include mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy, mental illness, epilepsy, dementia, Alzheimer’s, blindness and/or deafness and hearing impaired. Many have multiple disabilities and additional medical diagnoses. These individuals range in age from their late teens to their eighties. ARI strives to provide the highest quality of service possible, with a strong focus on the continued health of each person we serve. ARI continues to seek opportunities to provide its holistic approach to underserved individuals.
Our Mission and Goals
The mission of ARI is “enriching the lives of people with disabilities and their families by enabling them to achieve their fullest potential at home, at work and in the community.” The goal of ARI is for all individuals we serve to continue to learn and grow in order to achieve a higher level of independence, allowing them the opportunity to live a rich and full life. ARI believes that every person is valuable and is able to be a contributing member of his or her community. ARI’s services are based on the belief that all people have similar desires to:
• Develop meaningful personal relationships
• Be treated with dignity and respect
• Have meaningful choices available
• Pursue hopes and dreams
• Engage in productive activities
• Be integrated in the community