News You Can Use
October, 2016

In This Issue...

The Arc of Aurora's mission finds us
working to ...
..impact individual lives via both systems and individual advocacy.

Have you checked out our YouTube videos?


Support The Arc of Aurora...

....When You're Surfing Online!

 Colorado Gives  is a program of Community First Foundation. You can donate to The Arc of Aurora through anytime throughout the year, not only on Colorado Gives Day. Thank you for your donations, and helping to support individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.  is a Yahoo-powered search engine that offers funding to nonprofits like us with each and every online search. All you have to do is use the internet like you normally do, except The Arc of Aurora can earn a portion of's advertising profits.


....When You're Shopping Online!
Amazon Smile is a 501(c)(3) foundation that lets customers enjoy the same Amazon selection of products while shopping. The only difference is when customer shop on Amazon Smile, the Amazon Smile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to The Arc of Aurora.

eBay for Charity   is another online-shopping option that allows you to support The Arc of Aurora with each purchase. eBay for Charity
teams up with a nonprofit called PayPal Giving Fund to ensure that 100% of every donation processed is given to the allocated organization.

From the Editor

Fall Greetings!

Cooler and shorter days... A painter's palate of color everywhere we look. Sweaters.  The smell of fireplace smoke in the air. Withered garden plants.  All signs that election day draws near for our country and that the annual meeting (and movie) draws near for Arc of Aurora members.

The Arc of Aurora Director of Systems Advocacy Hanni Raley has this reminder for us about the election:
On November 8th you will be asked to cast your ballot to elect a President, Congressperson, and local Legislators along with voicing your opinion on school district bond issues and ballot Initiatives. There has never been a more important time to be sure your voice is heard! You may register to vote in-person on the day of the election, now by visiting the Secretary of State's website, or  by texting "Colorado" or "CO" to "2Vote" (28683) on your smartphone. The Secretary of State's website is a good place to confirm that you are registered, too. If you plan to vote by mail, be sure to send your ballot early. Lastly, if you encounter ANY issues with coercion or barriers to voting, contact Disability Law Colorado at 303-722-0300. We have a right AND responsibility to be a part of this election; "see" you at the polls!

After voting, plan to attend The Arc of Aurora's annual meeting on November 12.  The short business meeting will be followed by a showing of the 2016 version of The Jungle Book.  As is always the case, movie snacks will be served!  Check out the Hot Topic section below to register now. Space is limited.

Lots of great information included here --- let me know what you find most helpful.

Happy fall!

Jean Solis
Editor and Director of Marketing and Development   ---   720.213.1420
Members' Corner
It's 2016 Annual Meeting and Movie Time! movie-collage.jpg
On Saturday, November 12, The Arc of Aurora will host its annual business meeting followed by a showing of the 2016 film,  The Jungle Book. All are welcome (RSVPs required) -- no charge! Details, including a link to register your family, are in the Hot Topic section below.  

We hope you will think of The Arc of Aurora on Colorado Gives Day. This 24-hour movement, taking place December 6, 2016, is a chance to increase the value of your donation, thanks to the $1 Million Incentive Fund. Created by Community First Foundation and FirstBank, the fund proportionally boosts every dollar donated. For example, if we receive 10 percent of the total donations made on Colorado Gives Day, we will receive 10 percent of the $1 Million Incentive Fund. Colorado Gives Day is powered by, a year-round website that encourages charitable giving by providing comprehensive, objective and up-to-date information about Colorado nonprofits. It is an easy way to support us online! Check us out on their website here !

Do You Love to Bowl and Are You 16+ Years Old?
Then you can join The Arc of Aurora's Sunday Get Together Bowling League! The group meets at the AMF Aurora Lanes, 16700 E. Mississippi Avenue, Aurora 80017, on Sunday afternoons. Practice begins at 12:45PM, games at 1PM. Cost is $9/week for 3 games and shoes. Use a wheelchair? No problem! Supervision is NOT provided. Got questions? Call Dottie at 303.337.5540.

Is Your Arc of Aurora Membership Current?
The Arc of Aurora's membership calendar is July 1 - June 30.  Thus, it's time to confirm that you have renewed your Contributing Membership for 2016-'17. In addition to access to advocacy support, Contributing Members are eligible to apply for annual scholarships offered by The Arc of Aurora (other criteria must also be met) and receive a 15% discount card for arc Thrift Store shopping throughout the year.  Click here to renew your Membership online or check in with your Arc of Aurora advocate for a printed form and payment by check or cash.

Make Volunteering a Regular Part of Your Life
Aktion Clubs are service clubs for people with developmental disabilities and are supported by local Kiwanis Clubs.  A metro area club is starting up, and you are invited to join!  The next meeting is Tuesday, November 1 from 1-2:30 PM at Englewood Library, 1000 Englewood Parkway, in the Perrin Room. Questions on Aktion Club may be addressed to Jean at, or 720-213-1420.
Hot Topic:  
2016 Annual Membership Meeting and Movie

Join your Arc of Aurora friends, staff and Board on Saturday, November 12, for the organization's annual members' business meeting followed by a showing of the  2016 version of The Jungle Book  (not a cartoon; rated PG).  Business Meeting details will be e/mailed to all eligible to vote on the business matters of the organization (Contributing Members) under separate cover.  Anyone is welcome to attend both the meeting and movie, however, REGISTRATIONS ARE REQUIRED!    Here are the details, including a link to register.

WHO:   You and your family

WHAT:  Annual Meeting (all welcome to attend; voting open only to Contributing Members) and showing of The Jungle Book.  Popcorn, candy and bottled water served!

WHEN:  Saturday, November 12
10-10:30AM - Check in 
10:30-10:45AM - Annual Meeting
10:45AM - 12:45PM - The Jungle Book
12:45PM - Dismissal

WHERE:  Peace with Christ Lutheran Church, 3290 S. Tower Road, Aurora   80013

WHY:   To conduct the business of The Arc of Aurora AND to have fun together!

Questions on the annual meeting and movie may be directed to Jean at The Arc of Aurora,  Hope to see you there!
Policy Profile: 
Affordability, Availability, Accessibility
Contributed by Hanni Raley, Director of Systems Advocacy

A home of one's own - either rented or owned - is the cornerstone of freedom. Being part of a community and living as independently as possible are among the most important values shared by all Americans, including people with disabilities. However, for people with disabilities and their families, this milestone is often fraught with concerns about affordability, availability, and accessibility.

I n Aurora, a person whose sole source of income is Social Security Insurance (SSI) would need to pay 120% of their income to rent a one bedroom apartment. 
Beyond basic housing expenses, barriers such as security deposits, rental history and moving expenses impact people in securing lasting housing.

For every 100 extremely low income renter households nationwide, there are only 30 affordable and available rental units.
Federal programs such as public housing, transitional housing and Section 8 are often "full" or "waitlisted". In times of economic hardship, these programs are often the first to be cut, which directly impacts the most vulnerable in our communities.

In 2011, nationally, 44% of all housing discrimination complaints were connected to alleged disability inequity.   Individuals with disabilities, when able to find affordable housing or appropriate subsidies, often face discrimination. Though most public and private housing arrangements are directly prohibited against discrimination based on disability (by federal law), it persists unchecked and unenforced.

Consider this:
  • In 2015, the average Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) payment was $733/mo.
  • In 2015, the average Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payment was less than $1145/mo.
  • In the seven metro Denver counties, the average cost for a one bedroom apartment ranges from $889 - $1060/mo.
  • Individuals living in institutional settings, such as nursing homes, can cost the taxpayer $7,000 - $19,500/mo.
  • One in five homeless individuals identify as having a disability (includes mental illness, physical conditions, developmental disability, or other disability).
  • As Baby Boomer parents age and face their own support needs' issues, family members with disabilities may no longer be able to live "at home".
The loss of rental assistance funding has hurt many families and individuals, especially those who were already struggling to afford basic needs, including people with disabilities. 

We can each make a difference. Help us identify the need in Aurora, educate the community and talk to YOUR local representative about supporting and prioritizing programs and developments that offer affordable and accessible housing solutions for those most in need. To get started, contact The Arc of Aurora's Directer of Systems Advocacy, Hanni Raley, at or 720-213-1420.
Trending on Social Media

"Happy to have joined a packed room to talk about what the Every Student Succeeds Act can do for #Colorado kids, including students with #disabilities #SWD! #COESSA Thanks for hosting Colorado
Children's Campaign, National Council of La Raza, NAACP Denver Branch, Climb Higher Colorado. Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy & Research Organization (CLLARO)!

35.4 million #PWD are expected to be eligible to vote in the presidential #election this November. That's an increase of 7% over 2012 and represents nearly one-sixth of the total U.S. electorate. #CripTheVote Check out the article here

Why are #Colorado students with disabilities #SWD learning at a slower rate than two years ago? Thanks for your coverage, Chalkbeat Colorado! #AcademicEquity #ItsTimeToTalkAboutIt Read the article here.

We were excited to join John W. Hickenlooper, Arc Thrift Stores, Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, and many others to celebrate #Disability #Employment #Awareness Month today! We'll be posting employment facts all month long to highlight the growing need for meaningful employment policies for #PWD #ItsTimeToTalkAboutIt

HUGE "Thank you!" to Rocky Mountain Civitan Club
members and EKS&H employees who #volunteered last weekend to help us keep our property looking beautiful and readying it for colder days. Volunteers like YOU help us maximize our support for people with I/DD and their families!

Don't miss anything by following The Arc of Aurora on

Like us on Facebook  and Follow us on Twitter
The Arc of Aurora is Getting Social* 
Introducing The Arc of Aurora's Social Enterprise: THINK+change
Submitted by Darla Stuart, Executive Director
Having a child with a developmental disability is not the problem. Having a disability yourself is not the problem.  Disability is a natural part of the human experience. The problem is, those expected to do the most for people with di sabilities often have the least foundation of knowledge. Intentional or not -- through insufficient training, many people who are paid to be involved with those with disabilities often dehumanize the person, bit by bit, slowly over time.  All people with developmental disabilities deserve respect and deserve better.  They deserve THINK+change.

THINK+change offers solutions-focused training and tools that change knowledge, attitude, and behavior to ultimately improve the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities.

THINK+ change brands and builds on The Arc of Aurora's successful training track record and product line.  Today, we are poised to take advantage of existing and newly mandated trainings for traditional and non-traditional professions such as law enforcement, financial professionals, disability care providers, and educators.  However, the sky's the limit on training issues and tools to support positive change for people with developmental disabilities!

THINK+change offers three primary products:
-- THINK+change Talks:  engaging current and future THINK+change audiences through conversations on emerging and provocative issues, such as:  Is special education a pipeline to prison?  Or, Can medical marijuana treat the symptoms of autism?
-- THINK+change Trainings:  such as presentations on Mandatory Reporting and People with Developmental Disabilities
-- THINK+change Tools:  tangible products that assist in behavior change and system-wide compliance, such as Communication Quick Tips

THINK+change is the evolution of The Arc of Aurora's advocacy and training efforts.  The Arc of Aurora's community of eager learners are ready for more, and THINK+change allows The Arc of Aurora to offer more!

THINK+change is unique, just like the individuals we propose improving the lives of, and, as a branding of The Arc of Aurora's successful efforts, it is ready to be more effective, train more people, and continue making a difference in the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

We all know people with disabilities.  Be intentional and plan to support THINK+change as we improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through THINK+change Talks, Trainings and Tools.

You're on our list, so watch for more information about THINK+change offerings!

*The Arc of Aurora was selected as one of four non-profits to attend a two year program starting in January 2016 on how to start a Social Enterprise. The Social Enterprise Alliance says, "Social enterprises are businesses whose primary purpose is the common good.  They use the methods and disciplines of business and the power of the marketplace to advance their social, environmental and human justice agendas."

Spotlight On... Jeff Fernengel
The Arc of Aurora's newest advocate!
Greetings! My name is Jeff Fernengel (pronounced fern-EN-gel), and I joined The Arc of Aurora team on September 16. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and
 moved to Columbus, Ohio, to attend The Ohio State  University. After a few years of soul searching, I enrolled at Ashland University for post-graduate work in special education. My main interests growing up were skateboarding, music, and art. I was  the lead singer of a punk rock band during my college years and still continue to produce artwork. I try to have at  least one art exhibition a year, and I recently held my first solo exhibition in Denver! I completed my student teaching for intervention specialist mild/moderate in Ohio and have tacked on an additional five years of experience specializing in employment for individuals in services within the nonprofit sector.  Some other things I have done in my life include starting a small t-shirt company, bartending, illustrating a couple children's books, and being a driving instructor while completing my education.   I will use all of the experiences I have acquired up to this point in my life to become an awesome advocate! I am grateful for this opportunity and I hope to use my creativity to spawn new and exciting opportunities for The Arc of Aurora and all our fantastic members!
The Rest of the Story
Everything Else You Need To Know

Watch this YouTube video of a previous webinar by NOFAS to learn about the relationship between FASD and ADHD by recognizing the association of the two and understanding the complicated factors in the diagnosis and treatment. The video will also discuss skills to ensure appropriate treatment and outcomes for children with ADHD and FASD. 


Miss Amazing is a nationwide program that provides opportunities for girls and women with disabilities to build self-confidence. The Colorado program happens in January, 2017. For more information about the program, click here.

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is hosting its fall Parents Encouraging Parents (PEP) conference in Vail from October 27 - 29 at no cost to attendees. The conference is designed to promote family and school partnerships for Coloradans who have children with disabilities. Click here to see the flyer in English, or click here for Spanish.

The University of Denver is conducting a paid research study which will involve 3 visits to the DU campus for 4 hours of testing, caregiver interviews, and survey completion. Participants must be ages 6-25 and have a diagnosis of intellectual disability. Participants will receive compensation for their participation, as well as a feedback session on cognitive test results from a licensed school psychologist. For more information, contact Jeanine Coleman at 303-871-2496.

This 14-week research study is recruiting children ages 3-8 who have been diagnosed with autism, and who weigh more than 28 pounds. Qualified participants will receive compensation for time and/or travel. Click here to see the flyer.


The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) and the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC) are gathering information about medical providers with barriers to people with disabilities through this survey here.

CCDC's Legal Program is investigating Medicaid bills being sent to collections. If you have had a medical bill sent to collections, and you were covered under Medicaid at the time of service, click here to fill out this survey.

Extended School Year (ESY) Disability Law Colorado is collecting data regarding the failure of schools to individualize Extended School Year (ESY) services. If your child has received ESY services in the past, fill out this survey here in English or here in Spanish.

Published Research (NEW!)

Limited research has focused on parenting practices used by caregivers raising children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The current study hypothesized that parental attributions of children's misbehavior would relate to the parenting strategies caregivers utilize with children with FASD.

This article outlines clinical implications and guidelines for pediatric medical home clinicians to identify, diagnose and refer children regarding neurobehavioral disorder associated with prenatal exposure.

Sleep complaints are clinically expected in children exposed to alcohol during pregnancy. This article aims to reveal patterns of association among sleep-wake behaviors that are challenging in the life of children with FASD.

Other Information

The legislature this year passed a law that allows people with intellectual disabilities, including Down Syndrome, to enroll in college even if they don't have the SAT or ACT scores or high school courses to gain admittance.

In the time since Colorado made it mandatory to report abuse, neglect and exploitation of the elderly, the number of cases has jumped 50 percent across the state to a total of 17,743 cases reported. In July, it became mandatory to report the abuse of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Colorado was among the last three states in the country to enact a mandatory reporting law.

A $17 million housing project in the Baker neighborhood of Denver is specially designed for people with disabilities. There will be 60 accessible, integrated housing units for about 100 residents both with and without special needs, and the four-year plan is about halfway complete at this time.

Both the Cherry Creek School District and Aurora Public Schools plan to test water in schools for lead contamination this school year, according to district officials. As first reported by education news website Chalkbeat Colorado, Aurora's two public school districts are in the process of buttoning up plans to test old pipes in schools for dangerous levels of lead, following similar moves made by a wave of other Front Range districts.

The accountability clock was designed to provide additional oversight for chronically struggling schools. About a dozen schools in the Aurora Public School district are expected to move on or off the state's "accountability clock" next summer.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a groundbreaking case brought by a Douglas County couple who claims, since 2010, that their autistic son was not provided with an adequate education in the public school system as required by law. The high court's ruling on the case could have substantial implications for students with disabilities across the country in terms of the standard school districts will be required to meet when providing instruction and services.

On August 1, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued guidance regarding the requirements in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that apply to public virtual schools. Over the last decade, there has been a proliferation of educational models involving varying degrees of in-person and online instruction and practice. This letter addresses the state's general supervision responsibilities and the applicability of IDEA's child find provisions to children attending public virtual schools, and the states' responsibility to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to children with disabilities.

The President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) 2016 report is now available online. The report, Strengthening an Inclusive Pathway for People with Intellectual Disabilities and their Families, recognizes the "great strides" made since President John F. Kennedy established a blue-ribbon panel to address the needs of people with intellectual disabilities and their families, and PCPID chairman Jack Brandt notes that, "despite these advances, the trajectory for a person with an intellectual disability remains limited." Click here to read the report.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) gives state student-walking-hallway.jpg policymakers new responsibility and increased flexibility to improve and align policies that accommodate specific student populations, including migrant youth and English language learners. ESSA provides opportunities to act on behalf of five at-risk student populations: students with disabilities, migrant youth, students in the foster care system, English language learners, and homeless youth. A new series of National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) policy updates suggests strategies that state boards of education can use to address the challenges and inequities facing some of the most disenfranchised, at-risk student populations in the country. Click here for the policy update regarding disabilities.

Studies have shown that people with disabilities benefit even more than the general public from having a college degree, in terms of employment and getting out of poverty - people with disabilities with a bachelor's degree are almost 50% more likely to have a job than those with just a high school diploma. Yet, while 76% of people with disabilities have high school diplomas, only 12% have college degrees.

Portland Public Schools is discriminating against school_bus.jpg students in special education by loading them onto school buses 5 to 15 minutes before school ends, costing them hours of classroom time over the course of an academic year.

The state of Colorado can provide a FREE advocate for your clients and patients who have both Medicare AND Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid program), and are members of Health First Colorado Accountable Care Collaborative for Medicare and Medicaid Enrollees. The advocate can help resolve problems with health care services, explain information to you, assist with filing a complaint or grievance, or help with an appeal if services are denied, reduced or stopped. Call Health First Colorado Enrollment at 1-888-367-6557 (toll free) for help. 
Please note: the Colorado Medicare-Medicaid Advocate cannot help with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) questions and concerns.

Arapahoe County officials have denied a request from parents of adult children with developmental disabilities for an audit of the community agency that manages their benefit money. The group of parents wants the county to hire an auditor to review $98 million in mill levy funds from Arapahoe County taxpayers to Developmental Pathways since 2002. DP determines who is eligible for state and federal Medicaid dollars, as well as the county mill levy funds.

A federal judge in Florida has tossed out of court a lawsuit filed three years ago by the US Department of Justice which claimed that Florida health administrators had acted with "deliberate indifference to the suffering" of children with disabilities who were staying in nursing homes for lack of more appropriate accommodations with family members or in the community.

Legislation advanced in both houses of Congress that would make small, but meaningful changes to how people with disabilities can save money.

More than 80 disability advocacy groups say they will oppose legislation that would enhance options for individuals with disabilities who are currently eligible for ABLE accounts. That is, unless lawmakers also act to increase the eligibility age for the new savings vehicle.

Watch the NOFAS-produced collaborative video, "PASS IT ON!" with more than 100 Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) advocates from around the world. Individuals living with FASD, family members, advocates, researchers, public officials and others from all over the world took part, including Colorado's own Governor Hickenlooper. Click here to see the 20 minute video.

Children with disabilities are more likely than other kids to respond aggressively to bullying, researchers say.

Federal officials are funneling millions of dollars towards efforts to better prepare students with disabilities for post-secondary education and competitive employment.

The best Medicare service systems for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are found in Arizona, Vermont, New Hampshire, Michigan, and Hawaii, according to an annual report by United Cerebral Palsy.

New research suggests that a common diabetes drug, Metformin, may counteract the unwanted side effect of weight gain from many medications taken to address autism symptoms. 

Roughly 11% of families affected by autism have more than one child on the spectrum. While it seems logical that shared genetic variations would be responsible, researchers found otherwise. Their study involved an analysis of genetic data collected from 1,532 families of those with autism. In 80% of families in the study, multiple members had the developmental disorder.

Raising a child with autism may take a deeper toll than previously thought with new research suggesting that such moms face a heightened risk of heart disease. Mothers of kids on the spectrum who have chronic stress were more likely than less-stressed moms of neurotypical children to experience cardiovascular risk factors.

In a statement of interest filed in August, the Justice Department said that if individuals with developmental disabilities are not receiving services in the community, they may assert a claim that their rights have been violated.
The Arc of Aurora

The Arc of Aurora helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families get what they need from the systems that are designed and funded to support them.
We receive NO government monies for our advocacy work but rely on private donations, including yours, to be able to offer our advocacy support. We appreciate your financial donation at the level that works for you. -
EVERY donation helps!
Thank you!