News to Use features important information and resources for self-advocates, parents, and professionals to use now!
Celebrating 32 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act!
We are proud to celebrate the 32nd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) today, July 26th! The ADA is a critical civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and public and private places open to the general public. The ADA ensures that people with disabilities have equal rights and opportunities!

Around The Arc Maryland
Say Cheese! Submit Your Photos To The Arc's Direct Support Professional Photo Contest for a Chance at Prizes
Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) employed by chapters of The Arc in Maryland and the individuals with IDD that they support are invited to join in on a photo contest!

The Arc Maryland is looking for images that represent “belonging”- images that show people engaged in their communities, participating in classes or clubs, working, or enjoying other pursuits of life with people they enjoy.

Take part in this opportunity to win cash prizes of up to $500 for yourself and your chapter of The Arc in Maryland! Submit your photos for the theme It's Where You Belong in one of four categories: Live, Learn, Work, and Play. Visit our website for more information!
Empowering Partners Self-Advocacy Meetings This Month
Reach new heights with Empowering Partners Self-Advocacy Groups! People with IDD are invited to join local groups across the state to improve their advocacy skills and connect with other self-advocates. Find the next meeting in your area by visiting our website through the link below, or contacting Natalie Dohner at

Empowering Partners is made possible through a partnership with People On the Go of Maryland and generous funding support from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council.
The Arc Maryland Presents at National Conference in Chicago
From July 18th to the 20th, team members descended on Chicago, Illinois for The Arc's National Conference of Executives' Summer Leadership Institute. We were there to learn from other state and national leaders and to present on Maryland's unique Together We're Better Inclusive Education program. We were honored to be featured in the event and to provide a blueprint and tools for other organizations of The Arc to use as they work to create their own inclusive schools initiatives!
Pictured are Ande Kolp, Dominique Palmer, Sharon Dols, and Pamela Palmer... four members of our Together We're Better Maryland Team
Taking Action
DDA Announces Updates to Maryland's Self-Directed Services
Last week, the Developmental Disabilities Administration shared changes to Maryland's Self-Directed Services during a webinar.

Highlighted changes included the open enrollment timeline for Financial Management and Counseling Services (FMCS), budget sheet revisions and processes to make budget changes, electronic visit verification (EVV) for personal supports and respite, and updates to Person-Centered Planning. If you or a loved one self-directs, we encourage you to watch the webinar recording here. You can also review handouts from the webinar here and access the presentation slides.
Tell Your Senators: Stop the Shock
For decades, people with disabilities have been subject to shock devices at the Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC), an institution in Massachusetts for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. JRC requires residents to wear a device that can deliver an electric shock to a person, and staff members use remote controls to administer the shock for "behavior modification." JRC is the only place in the country that still uses this barbaric and inhumane practice, despite substantial evidence that the shocks are painful and traumatizing to residents. The Arc has been fighting for years to stop this practice. We believe that people with disabilities deserve to live free from torture and fear. Please help us stop this practice by contacting your Senators and making your views known to them.
Submit a Nomination for the Governors' Awards for Disability Culture and Disability Achievement
July marks Maryland's second year celebrating Disability Culture and Achievement Month. To celebrate, the Maryland Department of Disabilities announced two new awards honoring outstanding individuals with disabilities in the state. The first award, The Governor’s Award for Disability Culture, focuses on accomplishments in the arts, while the second, The Governor’s Award for Disability Achievements, focuses on the promotion of equal opportunity, access, and choice in their lives or the lives of others. Submit your nominations by July 31st for consideration!
Infrastructure Updates For Home and Community Based Services Needed Now!
There is a care crisis facing people with disabilities and their families - staffing for services has never been harder to find. It is time to modernize and strengthen the outdated care infrastructure behind Medicaid, our nation’s disability services system. Please make your voices heard: tell Congress to fund home and community-based services!
In the News
New 988 Hotline May Help Those With IDD In Crisis
This month, a national hotline was launched to assist people experiencing mental health crises or emotional distress: 9-8-8. This new number replaces the former National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and is designed to create a simple alternative to 911. Over 200 call centers around the nation are available 24-7 to connect people with crisis counselor support and resources through calls and text. Additionally, The Arc is pushing for national training for call center staff to appropriately respond to the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Department of Education Releases Discipline Guidance
On July 19th, the U.S. Department of Education released its much-anticipated updated discipline guidance package, including a fact sheet, a Q&A, and a guide for stakeholders. The guidance stated that schools cannot use exclusionary discipline on students for behaviors that are due to their disabilities. Additionally, it reinforced that restraint and seclusion are not evidence-based strategies for behavior modification. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated, “The guidance we’re releasing today will help ensure that students with disabilities are treated fairly and have access to supports and services to meet their needs—including their disability-based behavior.”