HOW IT ALL BEGAN
In 1982 two music therapists and special educators had a vision to create and develop community based programs utilizing the creative arts therapies (music, dance, drama, and visual and literary arts) for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To fulfill this dream, Helen Dolas, Founder and CEO and another music therapist established Arts & Services for Disabled, Inc., a non-profit corporation (Services for Developmentally Disabled of Long Beach, Inc. originally!). This was an incredible challenge for two women: finding a community that would believe these services were tremendously needed and understand that by providing programs utilizing the creative arts in a specific methodology and therapeutic approach (not art and crafts!) they could improve the quality of life for developmentally disabled individuals.
DID YOU KNOW?
California is home to about one million developmentally disabled people, about 3% ofthe national population. Of that one million, only about 150,000, or 15%, receive services of any kind. Forty-two percent of those served have entered or re-entered an Arts & Services for Developmentally Disabled, Inc. programs because their needs were not addressed or met by other programs.
We know our programs work. According to our tracking systems, 93% of our students have increased positive behaviors for at least one year’s duration. 96% of our students have successfully acquired or improved social interaction skills, and many have developed independent living skills.
Our artistic endeavors are both consistent and successful. We have presented 21 public performances and 50 art exhibits during the past two years. 168 Arts & Services students have
either won prizes, sold their art work or been accepted into public exhibits. These shows have been viewed by 81,957 people throughout California and across the nation. Whether measured in statistical terms or by more humanistic approaches, our programs are positive, effective, and “people friendly.”