The Arc of Mississippi

Programs and Services

Contact  -  The Arc of Mississippi

The Arc of Mississippi advocates on behalf of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by supporting families, furthering the implementation of legislation on behalf of persons with disabilities, empowering self-advocates, identifying best practices and working within the system to affect change.

Member Chapter Services
Contact  -  Cindy Dittus

Local chapters and their members are the grassroots of The Arc of Mississippi. These local chapters are the organizations that make a difference in their communities and it is the task of the state office to gather and distribute pertinent information in a timely manner.

Community Outreach

Contact - Cindy Dittus

The mission of Community Outreach is to enhance Member and Chapter Services, give support to families and professionals, provide community education, and work within the system to bring about change. The Arc provides current information about the causes and prevention of intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing materials at schools, health fairs, trainings and our web site. This program continues to participate in Person Centered Planning meetings. Community Outreach continues to develop and provide trainings for parents and professionals statewide.

Education Department
Contact - Hollia Thompson

This department provides support to families of students in school settings. The education department provides trainings/presentations on IEP, 504, IDEA, Building Partnerships and other topics. The Education Department serves on Focused Monitoring Team Visits with the Mississippi Department of Education. The Education Department has been working on helping link individuals who are experiencing a transition with resources and services.

Yazoo Resource Center
Contact  -  Yolanda Kimble or Charles Stevenson

The Yazoo Resource Center serves over 90 people per week. Of these people 75 have developmental disabilities. The Center provides information and services for citizens with disabilities, the use of computers and a location for meetings. In December 2001, a teacher was hired for the center, and it is now open five days a week. Two computer classes are held daily for the individuals of Multi-Flex Industries with approximately 25 individuals in attendance.

Parent & Professional Training
Contact  -  Cindy Dittus

Our office provides training to parents, parent groups, providers and professionals on a variety of topics. The Arc also partners with state agencies and advocacy groups to implement promising practices.

Topics include:

  • Inclusion in the Community/Life in the Community
  • Rights of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities/Human Rights
  • Self Advocacy/Self Determination/Person Directed Planning
  • Individual Supports/Service Coordination
  • Employment
  • Social Relationships/Sexuality
  • Working with Families
  • Disability Awareness

Person Centered Planning
Contact  -  Mike Montgomery

The Arc of Mississippi is a partner in conducting PCP’s and trainings throughout the state. PCP’s are used to identify future goals and how to overcome barriers that may impede the individual’s success. Through planning strategies and activities set forth in the PCP, individuals with developmental disabilities and their families can address concerns, identify appropriate services and prepare for the future.

Public Policy Education
Contact  -  Matt Nalker

The Arc provides literature and input into public policy by serving on various councils, boards and governmental agency task forces. By bringing awareness to policy makers, The Arc can lend a voice to affect change. Through our Legislative Training we can help familiarize people with the process of how a bill becomes a law. Our website is a valuable tool in maintaining a strong, unified, widespread voice concerning legislation that impacts people with disabilities. The Arc of Mississippi has also added an internet tool to our Public Policy page that links you to your legislators. This enables individuals to express their concerns to policy makers.

Direct Support Professional Opportunity
Contact  -  Lisa Burck

2,500 people in MS have enrolled in the College of Direct Support, 60,000+ lessons have been completed, 500+ graduates. National credentialing is now available for direct support professionals.  Enrollment in the College of Direct Support is available to anyone who interacts with persons with disabilities.  To view more about the College of Direct Support go to  For more information about direct professionals go to  This training is appropriate for families, health care professionals, home and community based waiver providers, regional centers, community mental health providers, teachers, paraprofessionals, case management, and many other professions.  CDS courses meet Mississippi Department of Mental Health requirements for direct care.  CDS courses meet the Mississippi Division of Medicaid and subsequent home and community based waiver services requirements.  There is now a bachelor's degree program on disability that fits nicely with the direct support profession.  It is all on line for busy people.  Contact Lisa for more information.

Contact  -  Lisa Burck

The Arc of Mississippi is sponsoring the first ever direct support professional membership organization in Mississippi. SPARQLE stands for Support Professionals Advocating for Real Quality of Life for Everyone and is a state affiliate of the NADSP: National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals. This professional organization will hold credentialing for the state, plan for additional training needs, link DSPs around the state, and participate in DSP-LINK. Click here for the application.

Bridge to Independence
Contact  -  Lisa Burck

The Mississippi Division of Medicaid now offers the Bridge to Independence program for people who live in congregate settings.  The Arc of Mississippi plays an important role in the development and implementation of this important program.  600 people are estimated to be able to participate in this opportunity.

APSE Mississippi

Mississippi APSE is a membership organization formed in 2007 to improve and expand integrated employment opportunities, services, and outcomes for persons experiencing disabilities.

To accomplish this mission, APSE:

  • Provides advocacy and education to customers of supported employment (SE), i.e., supported employment professionals, consumers and their family members and supported employers
  • Addresses issues and barriers which impede the growth and implementation of integrated employment services
  • Improves SE practice so that individuals and communities experience SE as a quality service with meaningful outcomes
  • Promotes national, state, and local policy development which enhances the social and economic inclusions and empowerment of all persons experiencing disabilities
  • Educates the public and the business community on the value of including persons experiencing disabilities as fully participating community members