April 12, 2018
Apps and Autism
It's Autism Awareness Month, and today, Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts (AFAM) is hosting its annual Awareness and Acceptance Day at the State House. Progress has been made, but we can't stop working toward achieving equal civil rights and opportunities for individuals with autism and other disabilities.

For more than a decade, I've been impressed with the website of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, which includes all types of assistive technology resources. This site connects you beyond their own resources to other sites which include tools for daily living, smart home technology, IEP tools, and more. Users are first given a short explanation on the Temple website and then are given links to external websites for the particular resource. It's a great website for people with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other disabilities.

Autism Apps allows you to view a list of all the apps for autism available in the App Store in a cursory way. There are many other similar resources available on the web.

This week, we posted a short video about a sister whose connection to her brother with autism led her to develop tools for daily living. This innovative app, MagnusCards, has now been sponsored by Colgate in order to promote improvements in dental health for individuals with autism. Enjoy meeting Nadia and her brother, Troy.


Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director
Only Two Weeks Away! Bought Your Gala Tickets Yet?
We are now just two weeks out from our Expect Success: Celebrating Achievers gala, being held on Wednesday, April 25 at the Boston Marriott Newton. Ticket sales are still open for this exciting evening. Join us as we recognize and celebrate our six outstanding Achievers, and be sure to partake in our lively auctions as well. 
Achievers Isaiah Lombardo, Bruce Butler, Riley Easley, and Helen Coppenrath discuss their favorite hobbies.
The Arc of Massachusetts is deeply grateful to our sponsors,  whose generosity has made this event possible, especially:  

State Street Corporation
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
House Ways & Means Committee Budget Announced
On April 11, Chair Jeffrey Sánchez released the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Budget. Chair Sánchez confirmed the new formula for the 1000 plus students in need of adult services that was established for the first time last year. The Arc hopes that the formula will become a permanent fixture in the legislature's budget, which has Gov. Baker's support.

House Ways and Means added funds above the Governor's request for three other key programs:
  • Family support and respite care received $1 Million, which should assist 100-200 additional families
  • Employment/day supports received another $1 Million to address unmet needs and transition to more social inclusive services
  • Autism Children's Waiver received almost $500,000 to reach more children in need
For our full analysis, a line item by line item breakdown, and our updated FY 19 budget ask sheet, please visit our State Budget webpage.
Advocate Today: Operation House Call Needs Your Support!
Operation House Call (OHC) has been training over 500 medical students and health professionals per year through 4 powerful teaching components of the course. OHC provides foundational knowledge (through lecture) and experiential learning (through home visits). 

200 families across Massachusetts have rallied for this program's expansion because of personal experiences and the strong desire to affect change for the ones we love.  The program uses real life to help grow understanding and shift bias that can affect treatment and assessment.

Operation House Call ensures quality of care for patients with I/DD.  The prevalence of autism and I/DD continues to rise with increased numbers of children developing autism and more babies surviving with developmental disabilities. 

Please join with us today and advocate to ensure quality of care for all. We have provided a pre-written letter for you that you may customize and personalize as you like. Take part in this quick advocacy letter campaign and tell your legislators why a program like OHC is so important to you. 
The Providers Council reported that 500 participants attended the Caring Force rally to advocate for the loan repayment and fair pay for comparable work bills on April 10. Caring Bear awards were given to Sen. Sal DiDomenico of Everett and Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier of Pittsfield.  The loan repayment bill (H116/S42) is on The Arc's bill platform and we expect that the Fair Pay bill will be on our list for next session.
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
UMass Medical School's Shriver Center is looking for people to be in a research study. The Shriver Center wishes to learn how they can help people with intellectual disabilities understand what they read on Websites. People will receive a $50 gift card at the end of a full study visit. If you are interested, please see their Easy To Read info.
HMEA's Autism Advantage @ Work
Experience the culture of a cutting edge, global company! Dell EMC and HMEA are partnering to create Autism Advantage @ Work, a new program to help students and recent graduates with autism overcome common barriers to employment.

Participants will attend a summer internship designed to build social communication skills; learn focus and concentration techniques; and improve their resumes and tech-focused skills sets.

Requirements: Participants must be enrolled students or recent graduates of a 4-year or graduate college degree program; must display strong academic performance; and must have experience in the tech sector.
News from the Statehouse - Budget Updates and Next Steps
Monday, April 23, 2018 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM
Presented by Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director, The Arc of Massachusetts
Thanks to the Becker Center for Advocacy, this webinar is free! |  Register today!
Aging with Autism Community Forum
April 27, 2018 | 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Lexington Community Center, 39 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA

Many adults with autism over the age of 50 have never been diagnosed and still reside with their family members. There is a scarcity of research on these individuals.  Panelists Lea Hill, Dept of Developmental Services, and Beth Zwick, Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation, will provide information on the trends that are being discovered and what supports are available.  Register by April 25.

For more information, please contact patpakos@gmail.comSpecial thanks to the Dana Home Foundation for funding this forum!
Growing Up with Down Syndrome:
Living a Longer, Healthier and More Meaningful Life
Presented by the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC)
and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)
Saturday, April 28, 2018 | 9:00 AM - 4:15 PM
The Conference Center at Bentley University, 175 Forest Street, Waltham MA

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT sponsorspotlight
The Arc of Massachusetts  | (781) 891-6270 |