A note from Joanna, State Director of The Arc Rhode Island
The strength of our community never ceases to amaze me as we have faced unprecedented challenges. Yet, as we fiercely reclaim our social lives, we must not forget that the pandemic highlighted just how much more is needed to be done for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families. Fighting bias, inequitable systems in education, training and work opportunities limit full inclusion in life's possibilities. The current budget proposal includes a slight improvement in the workforce crisis of Direct Support Personnel (DSP); however, it is not enough to compete with CT and MA DSP wages. Read the below articles about the state budget from Disability News and stay informed on issues that will directly affect you and your family.
RI House Approves DD Budget Shaped By Consent Decree 
An article from RI DD News
By Gina Macris

The Rhode Island House passed and sent to the Senate an overall $13.1 billion budget for the next fiscal year that includes substantial pay raises for caregivers of adults with developmental disabilities and other systemic reforms shaped by pressure from the federal court enforcing a 2014 civil rights consent decree.

The developmental disabilities budget, a total of $336.7 million, was adopted Thursday, June 24 as recommended by the House Finance Committee. If you missed the details, read them here.
Celebrating Pride
Honoring LGBTQ People with Disabilities
Who Are Making a Difference in the World.
Circles of Connections Rainbow Group members celebrate PRIDE! 
It’s been a busy month for the Circles of Connections Rainbow Group members. 
The Rainbow Circles kicked off Gay Pride Month with a dinner at Bertucci's Restaurant in Warwick. This was the first time members actually got to meet each other in person outside of weekly Zoom meetings. Friendships and new relationships are forming, and everyone is enjoying being out in the community spending time having fun together.  Members also enjoyed Newport Pride and a virtual Pride Brunch hosted by the MA Rainbow Support Group
Stay tuned for new social activities the group will be planning during the summer! 
Spotlight On:
Latina Strong
Group for Latina Women
This online (for now) Circle is an opportunity for Latina women to share life experiences and celebrate their culture.
Disability Groups Call Supreme Court Ruling On Affordable Care Act A Victory
by Michelle Diament
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act is a big win for people with disabilities, advocates say.
The nation’s high court ruled 7-2 that several states and two individuals who challenged the constitutionality of the health care law lacked standing. The decision keeps the
law known as Obamacare intact.

“(This) decision is an enormous victory for people with disabilities and for all Americans,” said Jennifer Mathis, director of policy and legal advocacy at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. “The Affordable Care Act has saved lives and enabled millions of people with disabilities to live full lives in their own homes and communities.”
Take action now to support Special Education Reform
in Rhode Island!
om·buds·man - noun

An "entrusted person"
"grievance representative"
Proposed legislation S 0454 and H 5833  introduced by Senator Melissa Murray and Representative Lauren Carson, would create an Ombudsman for Special Education Office, independent of the RI Department of Education, to assist families to resolve disagreements or file grievances and encourage full participation in their child's education.
  • Contact your elected Senator (1 per district)
  • And House Representatives (2 per district) 

 To support a better education system for all Rhode Island children.

It is all here for you in an easy-to-use online format that you can use to CALL OR EMAIL those you have elected into our RI Statehouse!
Have you considered becoming a Foster Parent?
Rhode Island’s children need you, you can make a difference that will last a lifetime!
Access to COVID-19 Vaccines for People with Disabilities
Vaccines are now widely available, increasing the need to ensure access for people with disabilities, and those that support them. Additional efforts are needed to provide information and address hesitancy.
To get vaccinated contact:
Rhode Island Department of Health COVID-19 Resources
Hotline (401) 222-8022 or 211 after hours;
Email RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov
Looking for something fun to do with the family?
Bike Newport Full Moon Ride
7/23/2021, 8/22/2021, 9/20/2021, 10/20/202

A 15-mile moonlit adventure along the coastline under the stars.
Registration is required & the event is FREE!

For more info and to register:
Free RI Beach Pass Information
Call The Arc Rhode Island to learn about providers
who offer services and supports in:
  • Childhood and Adolescent Issues
  • Behavior and Anger Management
  • Relationship Issues
  • Stress Reduction
  • Self-Harming Behaviors
  • Group, Family, and Couples Therapy​
  • Grief & Trauma
  • Substance Abuse
  • Mood Disorders
Phone: (401) 363-9899
Parents and Guardians of Children in School...
When Your IEP Team Says, “We Don’t Do That Here.”
Next Steps For Parents

You ask for something on your child's IEP and are told "We don't do that here." It happens often, and no, that is not a valid excuse.
IEPs are based upon a child's need, so here's how to proceed.
If you need assistance with understanding the Special Education process, Requesting Evaluations, or need a
Referral to an Expert:
Call our Educational Advocacy Program at
401-363-9899 or shoot us an email at scocchi@thearc.org
The Arc Rhode Island At School
A recent family came to us to advocate for their 4th-grade student, who is an English language learner, with Pre-K skills in all academic areas. With the assistance of a translator, our advocates were able to inform the parents of their right to request evaluations and encourage their input in deciding which evaluations were needed. After hearing the parent's concerns, the school district agreed to provide comprehensive evaluations in this student's native language during the summer, ensuring that he will begin his fifth-grade year with the proper supports in place to achieve academic success.
Individuals with Disabilities & Family Members...
#CareCantWait: COVID-19 Recovery Must Include
People with Disabilities, Families, and the Care Workforce
#CareCantWait any longer.

Every day that passes without investing in the care infrastructure, is another day a person with a disability does not get the services that they need, another day of family members scrambling and juggling to fill in the gaps, and another day our country fails to seize the chance to build back better.
The pandemic has highlighted the gaping holes in the systems that support people with disabilities—a direct care workforce stretched to the breaking point by low wages, family caregivers choosing between their jobs and their loved ones, and people with disabilities trapped in poverty and limiting their potential.
As conversations continue about where we can and cannot afford to make investments as a country, we cannot let the needs of people with disabilities, their family caregivers, and the direct care workers who support them get left behind. As the saying goes, if you make something work for people with disabilities, it works better for everyone. This is infinitely true when it comes to economic recovery. Congress must pass the Better Care Better Jobs Act that includes a desperately needed $400 billion investment in-home and community-based services (HCBS), a national paid family and medical leave program, and update decades-old rules that trap Supplement Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries in poverty. These are The Arc’s priorities as Congress turns to recovery.

RI FORCE is now a collaborative family project of The Arc Rhode Island and The Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council.
The Arc Rhode Island and the RI DD Council are pleased to announce a collaboration that will forge a new path for family advocacy in the state of RI.

Chris Semonelli current Chairperson of the Family Advocacy Group states:
”Moving forward we will create a large emphasis on much more family involvement.” He goes on to say, "This new collaboration with The Arc Rhode Island will solidify a strong independent voice that all of our existing and future families so rightfully deserve.”

RI FORCE was established 4 years ago, through seed money from the RI DD Council. The goal was to create an organization that would provide information and creates a platform for families advocacy. RI FORCE would like to thank Past-President,
Will Beaudoin, for his tireless advocacy and commitment to our community.

Providing a platform for family voices to be heard and mobilizing for advocacy initiatives
Now more than ever, it is very important to find & protect your peace of mind. We will be sharing monthly tips & strategies to help you improve
 mindfulness & wellbeing.
Being Mindful

Becoming more mindful requires practice. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Take some deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose to a count of 4, hold for 1 second, and then exhale through the mouth to a count of 5. Repeat often.

  • Enjoy a stroll. As you walk, pay attention to your breath and the sights and sounds around you. If thoughts and worries enter your mind, note them but then return to the present.

  • Practice mindful eating. Be aware of the taste, textures, and flavors in each bite. Listen to when your body is hungry and full.

  • Do a body scan. Bring your attention to how each part of your body is feeling. This can help you connect with your body.

  • Find mindfulness resources including online programs and teacher-guided practices.