April 5, 2018
Supplement Your Disability Benefits with an ABLE Account
Supplement your SSI and Medicaid benefits with an ABLE account, a new tax-advantaged savings account for people with disabilities. ABLE plans - like the Attainable Savings PlanSM, offered by MEFA, and managed by Fidelity - let you save for short- and long- term expenses, like healthcare and transportation, without affecting your government benefits. Money in the account does not impact Medicaid benefits, and balances below $100,000 do not impact Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Learn more about the Attainable Savings Plan at

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC
900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917

The Attainable Savings Plan is offered by the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority and managed by Fidelity Investments. Qualified ABLE Programs offered by other states may provide state tax benefits to their residents or taxpayers that are not available through the Attainable Savings Plan. If you are not a resident of Massachusetts, you should consider whether your home state offers its residents or taxpayers state tax advantages or benefits for investing in your home state's qualified ABLE program before making an investment in the Attainable Savings Plan.
Units of the portfolios are municipal fund securities and are subject to market fluctuation and volatility. You may have a gain or loss when you sell your units.
Please carefully consider the Attainable Savings Plan's investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses before investing. For this and other information, contact Fidelity for a free Disclosure Document or view one online. Read it carefully before you invest or send money.
Achievers Helen Coppenrath, Riley Easley, Bruce Butler, and Isaiah Lombardo discuss their experiences of friendship.
Julie Heffernan Joins SUPPORT brokers!
Julie entered the disability world when her son Brian was born twenty-seven years ago. She entered the larger world of advocacy three years later when she got What to Expect When You're Expecting to update its section on Down syndrome. Julie served on the MDSC board of directors for a number of years and chaired its annual conference planning committee in 1998 and 1999. She has also served on the board of and as a resource specialist for Understanding Our Differences.

Julie, a graduate of Lehigh University and Boston College (BA, MAT, MA), taught English in a variety of settings for thirty years, all the while supporting Brian and her daughters, Maggie and Evie, in their many endeavors.  Brian was fully included in public school, ultimately earning his high school diploma. He attended MassBay Community College for five years through the ICE and Transitional Scholars programs, while working part-time at various jobs. Brian landed a job at the State House, where he continues to work and independently commutes via public transportation. On the side, Brian does a lot of speaking as a self-advocate, and Julie is occasionally his co-presenter. With the help of his parents, Brian has built a full social life through their town's wonderful recreation programs, their church, and Community Rowing, Inc.'s para-athlete program.

Julie is excited to use the skills and connections she developed while advocating for Brian to help others also achieve their goals and dreams.
Budget Amendment Preparation in Process
The Arc's Government Affairs team has been working at the State House and with the Association of Developmental Disability Providers (ADDP) to partner with legislators who will take the lead on our DDS budget amendments. These amendments are important requests for increases in the DDS budget as it relates to areas of family and adult supports.

On April 11, the House Ways and Means Committee's budget is slated to be released. There is a short, two day period where amendments can be filed. The Arc is grateful to our legislator champions who step up on these issues, which include increases in Family Support, DESE/DDS, Autism Children's Waiver, Residential, Day and Employment, Transportation and Autism Omnibus.

Stay tuned to Notes and our Facebook to learn about next week's budget release, or contact Maura Sullivan at with any questions.
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. 
Special Recognition for Joe Cabral
Joe Cabral was honored at the State House during the MA Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Statewide Advisory Council Celebration. This special recognition is for achieving a successful transition when he turned 22.

Joe and his parents have been diligent in creating a life full of wonderful opportunities to grow, learn, and create the life that he wants. On hand for the presentation were Joe's parents Herb and Sandra, as well as his MA State Representative Kate Hogan. In addition, he received a Special Citation of Recognition from his MA State Senator, Dean Tran. Herb Cabral is an Advocacy Alliance Coordination for The Arc.
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
Of Equal Worth and Personhood: A Theology of Disability
Thursday, April 12, 2018 | 4:00 - 6:30 PM
Theology and Ministry Library, Boston College
117 Lake Street, Brighton, MA 02135

In this inaugural event of the new biannual speaker series TML Speaks, the Theology and Ministry Library (TML) addresses the experience of disability through story, study, and conversation. Featured presenters include  Christopher de Vinck, celebrated author and speaker;  Brian Heffernan, award-winning speaker; and  Mary Jo Iozzio, STM Professor of Moral Theology.  Learn more about this limited seating event and register today!
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 |