A note from Joanna, State Director of The Arc Rhode Island
What does Memorial Day mean to you? Did you know that Memorial Day started as Decoration Day to honor those fallen after the Civil War and communities started decorating graves in remembrance of their sacrifices? The Holiday then evolved to become an American tradition and in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day to celebrate the lives of Americans of all those that served in all wars. Please take a moment to remember all who have served our country.
For many, it also means the unofficial start to Summer. As we ease back into full lives, meeting with friends, taking trips, and enjoying Rhode Island beaches and restaurants, it is important to recognize that we are in the midst of changes. Right now, the budget is being negotiated in our Statehouse with several pieces of legislation that impact the community, the Consent Decree with the Department of Justice is in overdrive to meet the Judge’s orders and The Department of Disabilities (BHDDH) is reimagining the way services are delivered to Rhode Islanders with Disabilities. Education Legislators have recognized that college students with disabilities under The RI Promise scholarship may need extended time to finish their studies and that ensuring children with disabilities received the services they need in school to be successful and be able to access their education. As we start to enjoy the change in season, The Arc Rhode Island continues to work on local & federal issues that will make a difference to individuals with disabilities and families, and will always ensure that your voices are heard!
The American Rescue Act that President Biden recently signed will bring millions of dollars to Rhode Island and it is important that individuals and their families who have struggled with care, staff, education, or social services, give input on how that money is spent. Share your story and, what issues are important, with The Arc Rhode Island by emailing: scocchi@thearc.org so we can continue to advocate and inform legislators, policy-makers, and changemakers about what you need to live a full and inclusive life within the community. We hope that you will take advantage of all the many Rhode Island summer events, beaches, restaurants, and activities and enjoy our beautiful weather. Don’t forget to join Circles of Connections which is starting to expand with get-togethers offline while continuing the online weekly group meetings! 
If you would like to share your opinion about your child's special education services please click the link below.

Survey closes on 5/31 at midnight.
Spotlight On:
Rainbow Group

Meet Circles of Connections member
Dontai Carmon

Dontai is an amazing young man coming into his own and navigating the world as a contributing member of many communities. He is a member of the Circles of Connections Rainbow Group and a published writer.
He is a notable leader of the circles and reminds other members to

“Be you Boo, just be you!”
Click on his video to learn more about Dontai!

Read Dontai's story published in Options Magazine at:

The Advocate magazine at:

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month and it couldn’t come at a more important time. 

The number of foster individuals and families in the state of Rhode Island has been steadily declining while the amount of children in need of a foster household continues to grow. Once children are back in school and resume a more “typical” post-Covid life, we expect an influx of individuals in need of foster placement.

Consider Fostering:
If you are interested in learning more about the opportunity, please reach out to Brendan Carty at Groden Center Treatment Foster Care at  bcarty@grodencenter.org or 401.274.6310 X1229.

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.
Rhode Island Department of Health COVID-19 Resources
Hotline (401) 222-8022 or 211 after hours;
Email RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov
Please join us for an Informational Seminar on
“Coordinating Your Special Needs Financial & Estate Plan”

June 17, 2021
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Topics include maximizing government benefits, preserving government benefits via estate planning techniques, financial planning (creating a long-term budget for child, how to efficiently fund special needs trust), ABLE Act, and more. Presented by: Caleb Harty, CFP® Financial Advisor* Founder and Principal, Harty Financial
Looking for something fun to do with the family?
April 15 - July 4

Journey through a wonderland of illuminated larger-than-life lanterns inspired by our wild world. From dazzling and interactive displays to delicious Asian-inspired cuisine, this enchanting multicultural experience is sure to delight all ages!
Tickets are sold ONLINE ONLY. This zoo-wide walk-through event is held Wednesday – Sunday evenings from 5:30 until 10:00 pm. The last admission is at 9:00 pm.
The show which is produced by Hanart Culture will feature over 50 spectacular glowing lantern displays, kids' interactive lantern area, savory Asian-inspired cuisine and drinks, hand-crafted keepsakes, and more!
Don’t miss out! Buy tickets online today!
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
Free RI Beach Pass Information
Individuals with Disabilities & Family Members...
About Looking Upwards?
Downtown Designs is a gallery and studio space located at the corner of Broadway and Marlborough St. in Newport, RI.

Creating and showcasing their artwork for sale are artisans as well as local community artists.

 At our studio various mediums are used, we started years ago primarily designing and making jewelry. We have opened up to new mediums and grown. Some of Our new passions are using paper and cardboard for sculpture, pottery, embroidery, weaving, using table looms and lap looms.

 Downtown Designs collaborates with other local organizations for gallery exhibits, community art projects, fairs, and workshops.
Parents and Guardians of Children in School...
Understanding ESY
(Extended School Year Services)
When your child has an IEP, they might be eligible for ESY. It can be a great way for kids to build on skills and learn new ones! Schools will usually start in the spring offering children ESY and it will usually be written or noted in their IEP.
  • If your school offers your child ESY, be sure to get all the details about the class the school is recommending and what it entails. Make a family decision to decide if it will be helpful for your child to learn or build on what they really need. ESY is optional.
  • Some families prefer to have a private tutor during the summer working with their child, or maybe the time doesn’t work for the family. Some families may have enrolled their child in a summer camp program or through their local recreational department.

  • Not all learning needs to be about academics. A summer program can be learning and enrichment programs. Camps at the zoo, the YMCA, or a local art museum are great ways for children to continue learning during the summer.

  • Even though summer learning can be important, so is allowing your child to enjoy their summer vacation and start the next school year, relaxed and rested.

If your child has not been offered ESY
If your child has not been offered ESY and has an IEP you can still help them during the summer in meeting some of the goals on their IEP.
  • Re-reading your child’s IEP is the best place to start with figuring out what goals you want to accomplish over summer vacation. Maybe working on fractions or decoding are some of the things you and your child can work on.

  • If there are social skills that need to be worked on, their teacher may have some ideas that they are using in class that you can reinforce during the summer. Reaching out to your child’s teacher for suggestions is always a great way to get some ideas.
  • One thing to remember is to be realistic with the goals and to have fun!
Transitioning to Middle School
If your child is transitioning to Middle School or moving on to a new school, helping them to adjust to this change can be challenging.
After summer vacation kids start to become excited, nervous, and at times overwhelmed with the prospect of returning to school, and sometimes they don’t always tell us how they are feeling, they may act out. Keep this in mind, it can help with how you react when they are acting out. There is so much change going into Middle school! New teachers, new friends,
a new building, and newfound freedom.
If you think your child might need ESY, you should discuss eligibility criteria with your child's IEP team immediately.
If you need assistance with understanding the special education process, referrals to experts, or need ideas for summer camps, call our Educational Advocacy Program at 401-363-9899 or shoot us an email at scocchi@thearc.org
Educational Advocacy Briefs:
"Having Amber there was fantastic-she was great about making sure our concerns were heard and communicating what Tyler needs. I wish I hired her a long time ago!" - Cathy a parent from RI
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.
Be More Mindful: 7 Tips to Improve Your Awareness
  •  Meditate. Taking even just 5 minutes to sit quietly and follow your breath can help you feel more conscious and connected for the rest of your day.

  • Focus On One Thing At A Time. Studies have found that tasks take 50% longer with 50% more errors when multi-tasking, so consider “uni-tasking”, with breaks in between, whenever possible.

  •  Slow Down. Savor the process, whether it’s writing a report, drinking a cup of tea, or cleaning out closets. Deliberate and thoughtful attention to daily actions promotes healthy focus and can keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

  • Eat Mindfully. Eating your meal without the TV, computer, or paper in front of you, where you can truly taste and enjoy what you’re eating, is good, not only for your body but for your soul as well.

  • Keep Phone and Computer Time In Check. With all of the media at our fingertips, we can easily be on information overload. Set boundaries for screen time – with designated times for social networking (even set an alarm) – and do your best to keep mobile devices out of reach at bedtime.

  •  Move. Whether it’s walking, practicing yoga, or just stretching at your desk, become aware of your body’s sensations by moving.

  • Spend Time In Nature. Take walks through a park, the woods, mountain trails, or by the beach – wherever you can be outside. Getting outdoors is good for body, mind, and spirit, and keeps you in the present.