The Elizabeth Richardson Center (ERC) is the most comprehensive provider of disability services in Northwest Arkansas. They have been serving the needs of individuals with disabilities since 1963.

The center operates a total of four Child Development Centers in Fayetteville, Huntsville, Springdale, and Siloam Springs that serve the needs of children six weeks to five years of age with developmental delays or disabilities.
For adults, the center provides community employment, independent living options, life skills classes, job skills training, recreational activities and community involvement. “Our number one goal at ERC is to enhance the lives of the individuals we serve,” stated Marketing Director Finley Turner. “We focus not on the disability as much as the ability of these individuals. People would be amazed with the talents these individuals possess and as an organization we want to help them share their talents in a way that shows their reality is not determined by their diagnosis, but rather by what ERC can help them make it.”

It all began in 1963, when a group of concerned citizens in Fayetteville, led by Dr. Wade Burnside, saw a need for services for children with developmental delays or disabilities who were not being served by the public schools. On Sept. 29, 1963, the school — that would eventually become the Elizabeth Richardson Center — opened its doors in the basement of Fayetteville’s First United Presbyterian Church with four students in attendance. Mrs. Elizabeth Richardson was the first teacher and she went on to become the first Executive Director of this fledgling Northwest Arkansas non-profit.

The non-profit has grown in the years since to include an ERC Child Development Center in Fayetteville, ERC Life Skills building in Springdale, Richardson Industries building in Springdale, and much more, including a Child Development Center in Huntsville making ERC the only disability service provider serving Madison County. “Our new Admin office just opened in Fayetteville on College Avenue,” added Turner. “We had been housed with Richardson Industries in Springdale until recently.” Some of the companies ERC works with at Richardson Industries include Walmart, Tyson, Marshalltown, and La-Z-Boy. “A fun fact about the work we do with Walmart is that our clients collate all the ‘rollback numbers’ for every Walmart,” noted Turner.

For more information, the Elizabeth Richardson Center may be contacted at (479) 872-1800, or by emailing admin@ercinc.org.

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