News to Use features important information and resources for self-advocates, parents, and professionals. During Maryland's Legislative Session, News to Use will be released once monthly!
Around The Arc Maryland
Save the Date: The Arc Maryland Annual Convention
Monday, May 17th
We are incredibly excited to announce that The Arc Maryland Annual State Convention will be held this year on May 17th! For over a year, we have lived through the pandemic and are now at a point where it feels the clouds are parting. Resilient is what we are and in line with that, as our 2021 convention theme, we are beyond thrilled to announce that Judy Heumann, a nationally recognized Civil Rights Advocate for people with disabilities, has agreed to headline the convention as our Plenary presenter!

Ms. Heumann's lifelong work was highlighted in the Netflix documentary Crip Camp, recently nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary feature. Check out the CBS coverage here and Save the Date to join us online in two months for our online convention!
Stay up to date with our announcements for more information on how to join us for the 2021 Convention. For Speaker and Sponsorship opportunities, contact Luc Chausse at
Join Us for World Down Syndrome Day: Maryland's Online Celebration and Dance Party
3/19 from 3:30 to 4:30 pm
World Down Syndrome Day is recognized every year on March 21st to celebrate the lives of people with Down syndrome and their families. We will be celebrating WDSD virtually on Friday, March 19th, from 3:30 to 4:30 PM! Hear remarks from advocates with Down syndrome and state leaders in Annapolis before a dance party led by a DJ! Register for free below.
You can also celebrate from home on the 19th and 21st by wearing colorful and/or mismatched socks: a WDSD tradition! Show us your socks on social media using #RockYourSocksCDSPG.
Check out this catchy tune that promotes hiring people with Down syndrome for WDSD, The Hiring Chain, performed by Sting. Start the Hiring Chain today! What you say and do makes a difference.

Also, plan to drive by the Maryland Sports Teams' Stadiums on Sunday, March 21st, to see them light up blue (and possibly yellow!) in awareness of WDSD!
Small Grant Opportunity: Engagement and Connection During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Final Round Prop0sals Due March 19th at 5 pm
DDA licensed, registered, or certified community-based organizations are invited to apply for a Small Grant Opportunity, Engagement and Connection during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Funding of $500 to $5,000 may be available to meet the needs of people with IDD and their families, promote engagement with peers, increase and maintain connections with family, peers, employers, and others, and/or increase positive shared experiences.
This project is supported, in part by grant number CFDA 93.630, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.
Taking Action
Contact Members of the House Education Subcommittee to Advocate for Brynleigh's Act (Seizure Action Plans in School)
Support the safety of students with seizure conditions in Maryland schools!

Brynleigh's Act, HB0370 / SB0225, will help ensure that students with seizure disorders have the resources they need to go to school without fear for their safety. This bill seeks to ensure that school personnel will be trained to recognize and respond appropriately to students experiencing seizures. Select school personnel would be trained to provide emergency first aid to students experiencing seizures. 

With approximately 7,900 children with epilepsy in Maryland, there are 913 students to every 1 school nurse. It is clear that more training is needed to ensure the safety of students (and staff for that matter) with seizure conditions in our schools.

"As a parent of a child with epilepsy, I can attest to the critical importance and urgent need for this bill,” said Lauren Shillinger, Brynleigh’s mother. "This legislation will make a huge difference in the life of not just my child, who will have many years in public school, but all other Maryland students who are affected by seizures. We were anxious when our daughter started preschool since there is no required seizure training currently in school, and not all school personnel know how to recognize a seizure and administer seizure first aid. This bill’s trainings, tools, and knowledge can help save a child’s life."

This bill is being deliberated by the House Education Subcommittee (part of Ways and Means Committee). We ask that you reach out to members of the Subcommittee through the links below to let them know the impact this legislation would have on the well-being of Maryland students.

Please contact members of the committee today and tomorrow!

Sample talking points to use in your phone calls and emails (intended as a guide, but please personalize your message):

  • Describe why you think this would be a good law for Maryland (students with epilepsy and seizure disorders will experience improved care, and parents will be given peace of mind as their children attend school)
  • Provide statistics: This isn't a bill for one or just a few children; it is for close to 8,000 students statewide who have epilepsy and seizure disorders. Research supports that 1 in 10 people will have a seizure in their lifetime.
  • Note precedence: 6 states have already passed this legislation and 17 others are currently considering legislation. We do not want Maryland to fall behind in providing lifesaving training to keep our students safe at school. 
  • Thank the delegate for their support of students with epilepsy and seizure disorders and ask they move the bill favorably out of committee!
District 22
Prince George's County

District 12
Baltimore and Howard Counties

District 42B
Baltimore County
District 38C
Wicomico and Worcester Counties

District 35A
Cecil County

District 30A
Anne Arundel County
District 17
Montgomery County

District 5
Carroll County

District 45
Baltimore City
Map of states with Legislation for Seizure Safe Schools, including Brynleigh's Act in Maryland, originally introduced in 2020. Please note that this does not include the recent passage (last month) of this important legislation in Virginia!
Seeking Proposals: Rebuilding DDA Providers throughout Maryland through Technical Assistance
The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council is searching for up to five diverse providers to receive technical assistance from a subject matter expert! Providers will work with experts to transform service delivery models and business practices, recover and rebuild as needed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and identify effective strategies that can be replicated. Read more about the opportunity through the button here!
In the News
President Biden Signs Executive Order on Voting Rights
On March 7th, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting. Included in the order is a directive to evaluate and publish recommendations on the steps needed to ensure that the online Federal Voter Registration Form is accessible to people with disabilities within 270 days. For more details, check out this related factsheet.