March 2, 2017

Knowing what you face and your opinions will help The Arc be more effective for you and others. That's a fact.  We are hoping that we will have hundreds of Massachusetts families from diverse backgrounds respond to the FINDS survey* being advanced by The Arc of the US. As of Tuesday we were in the top five of states in survey responses, but we can do better. Help guide our advocacy and education work. Your information WILL make us more responsive to your concerns. (If you are a service provider please read my P.S.)

The survey, which can be found here, has the following types of questions:

  • What are the life experiences of caregivers and their family members with IDD?

  • What are the most difficult or stressful aspects of caregiving? What is rewarding?

  • What would make life easier or better for caregivers, their families, and people with IDD they support across the life course? 

In Massachusetts, we believe there are more than 200,000 people with an intellectual or developmental disability (4.7 million in the US). 1.7 million informal caregivers (estimated 2015) provide daily assistance to fragile seniors, people with disabilities, and others who need help to live at home.  Please take the 30-45 minutes today to answer the survey and help us advance services and supports!  Your answer will be anonymous and confidential. 


Thank you!

Leo V. Sarkissian 
Executive Director

P.S.  If you are a provider who works with diverse families or older caregivers, please help us reach them with the paper surveys (English and Spanish here). We also will share the link with partners who work with diverse communities.


*This survey is conducted by the University of Minnesota's Research and Training Center on Community Living and The Arc.


The Winter 2017 issue of 
Advocate is out now!

Do you Subscribe to the Boston Globe? 
Help us earn a free ad!
If you are a Boston Globe subscriber, we would like to ask you a favor. You can help us earn a free ad in the Globe just by showing your support.  Simply go to  and enter your subscriber information and The Arc of Massachusetts before April 30, 2017. It only takes a minute, and it doesn't cost anything.
Your support will be converted into GRANT advertising dollars, which we can redeem for ad space in the Globe. The more dollars raised, the larger the ad - which means more exposure for The Arc of Massachusetts and our work to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Thank you in advance for your support!
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRSgovernmentaffairs
MassHealth Announces Optum as TPA
MassHealth announced the choice of Optum as the third party administrator for their agency's long-term supports and services. Optum is a nationally- recognized organization which already works with 35 state government Medicaid and Health and Human Service agencies.MassHealth has revised implementation dates consistent with the final announcement and agreement with Optum:
  • Program integrity work will go live on April 15
  • Quality benchmarking and analytics live on May 15
  • Prior Approval-PA, Utilization Management (UM), Provider relationships, employment and credentialing live on May 31 (for programs that DO have their own PA process will not be affected by this start date, but a process to review will take place over a period of months)
  • Electronic visits recording  live on 12/2017
If you want to learn more about Optum and its work with government,  click here .
Protecting Disability Benefits:
Advocacy Strategies In These Uncertain Times
Presented by Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director, The Arc of Massachusetts
Hosted By Minute Man Arc for Human Services, Inc.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
6:45 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.

Minute Man Arc for Human Services, Inc.
35 Forest Ridge Road, Concord

Disability services are affected by both federal and state policy deliberations on Capitol Hill and Beacon Hill - services you care about such as Turning 22, Family Support, Autism, Employment/Day Services, Adult Family Care, Housing, PCA, etc.  Issues that will be addressed:
  • Congressional proposals and their direct impact on services 
  • The status of this year's budget deliberations thus far on DDS and MassHealth services  
  • What you can do to impact state and federal actions
  • Questions and answers 
Leo Sarkissian  has worked in the disabilities field for thirty five years and presently heads The Arc of Massachusetts, an advocacy organization which works on behalf of people with disabilities and families.
Register by Friday, March 31 by contacting  
Michele Klein at  or 978-287-7910. 
Please include your phone number when registering.  
If the weather is questionable, call 978-287-7900 to check on event status.
Sponsored By: 

Autonomy, Decision Making Supports, 
and Guardianship 

April 11, 2017 7:00 - 8:00 PM
What options are available to help protect your sons and daughters in adulthood?  Attorney Misilo will walk you through the types of protection; benefits and processes.  You will learn about the court proceedings and requirements for guardianship, as well as, the new benefits of supported decision making.    
Presented by Attorney Frederick Misilo, Group Chairperson, Special Needs Practice, Fletcher Tilton, PC.  
Did you miss a webinar ?

 It is not too late! You can view the recorded webinar using The Arc's on demand feature.  To view click here and select "view session recordings."
WHAT'S TRENDINGwhatstrending
The 3rd Annual 
Central Massachusetts Autism Summit
The theme of this year's summit is "Hire and Higher: Leveraging the 'Autism Advantage' to Meet the Region's Workforce Demands." This event will focus on strategies for helping employers recognize that many individuals with autism possess unique and valuable skills that can allow them to be productive and successful in highly specialized positions. This is increasingly referred to as the "autism advantage" as it offers employers access to an expanded labor pool and a competitive differentiator in the marketplace.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
8:30 am - 3:15 pm

College of the Holy Cross
Hogan Campus Center

To learn more and register, click here
Employment Survey
Nationally the unemployment rate for people with autism is very high. It is estimated to be between 70 and 80% in some sections of the country. HMEA and Clark University have developed a survey to learn more about this issue with the hope of sharing the results of the survey in April at their Autism Summit to be held at the College of the Holy Cross. Their hope is to develop a plan based on your input and to expand employment options for people currently seeking employment.
Individual Survey:
Family survey:  
Current Trends in Autism (CTIA 2017) Conference
 March 10-11

Boston Marriot Burlington, Burlington, MA
Dancing with the Celebrities Presented by Autism Housing Pathways
Saturday, March 18 
7-9 pm
St. Mary's Paris Hall in Winchester
A Conversation About Removing Obstacles To
Healthcare for People With Disabilities
Presented by The Arc of Greater Plymouth

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Plymouth Public Library
Register For Our 39th Annual Legislative Reception!
Presented by The Arc of Massachusetts and MDDC

Monday, March 27, 2017
10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Great Hall, State House

Vinfen's Moving Images Film Festival
Saturday, April 1
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Joseph B. Conference Center at Harvard Medical School

Hope For Tomorrow Gala
Presented by Spectrum For Hope

Sunday, April 9, 2017
6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Westin Waltham Boston

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHTsponsorspotlight

The Arc of Massachusetts | 781-891-6270 |