August 24, 2017

Decision Making
In my 45 years of working with the disability community, the decision-making capacity of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities has been hotly debated. How you feel about this topic spills into voting, managing financial affairs, and sexual expression.
Depending on where people stand on this issue, I've witnessed guardians, state officials, and program staff:
  • Encourage or restrict visitation
  • Obtain various resources so adult children could develop more self-advocacy skills or alternatively been controlled in their daily routine
  • Encourage dating or restrict dating
  • Encourage community travel or restrict any steps to develop safety skills in the neighborhood
Decision making is central to so many aspects of life, and yet it can be a lesser priority given our busy lives. How much do we teach "typical" kids about making decisions? Do schools have this as a course? As a rule, it's something we pick up through our daily lives. But if our child or young adult has a more limited daily routine what he or she learns will likewise be limited.
Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director    
Introducing A Tax-Smart Way to Save for Disability Expenses
With the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, Americans with disabilities now have the opportunity to save and invest in a tax-advantaged account for short and long-term disability related expenses, without risking their disability benefits. An ABLE account is a smart way to save that supplements, rather than replaces, your Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. With the Attainable Savings Plan, the ABLE plan offered by MEFA and managed by Fidelity Investments, individuals can choose from various professionally managed investment portfolios, giving contributions a chance to grow tax-deferred and when used for qualified disability expenses are federal income tax-free. Learn more about Fidelity's ABLE 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.
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRSgovernmentaffairs
Medicaid Made the American Dream Possible for Me
Thanks to T.J. Sutcliffe at our national office, we had the opportunity to read a very moving opinion piece regarding the value of Medicaid by Hemal N. Sampat.
" Because of a congenital defect, my brother's kidneys failed in infancy... Complications from this illness caused a stroke on Christmas Eve before Anmol's second birthday that left him blind, epileptic, and intellectually disabled... My story shows that providing for the good health of a family achieves positive outcomes for the long-term future. Because of the help my family had during my childhood, I was able to work my way up to the best job in the world, where I now help other families like mine."
Dr. Sampat, a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School instructor, shares his personal story and that of a patient to demonstrate the impact of Medicaid and Social Security. You can read the full piece here .
Dental Access Legislation Heading to Committee
On September 12, the Joint Committee on Public Health will hear testimony in support of S 1169/H 2474 (An Act authorizing dental therapists to expand access to oral health). This bill would allow for training of Dental Therapists in best practices for people with autism and with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Dental Therapists will be able to perform tooth extractions and fillings in places for clients with disabilities outside of a traditional dentist's office. This bill will expand access to dental services and increase the knowledge of the dental therapists in providing care to our community.The Arc appreciates your support through calls to your legislators and your written testimony. For any questions or to help with The Arc's advocacy efforts, please contact Maura at or at 781-891-6270 ext. 113
Our Person Centered Transition Planning Webinar for 
Educators and School Administrators on Tuesday August 29th and our Financial Literacy for Students with Special Needs Webinar on August 30th have been rescheduled. Details on the new dates coming soon. 
Did you miss a webinar ?

 It is not too late! You can view the recorded webinar using The Arc's on demand feature.  To view click here and select "view session recordings."
WHAT'S TRENDINGWhatstrending
Call for Ideas to Positively Disrupt the System!
Northeast Arc  and the  John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum  Foundation want your ideas to identify innovative concepts to help positively disrupt the system to improve the lives of persons with intellectual disabilities and/or autism and their families. They are looking for out-of-the-box ideas for The Arc Tank and people who can imagine possibilities, be creative and want to change the status quo.
Learn more at:
The 24th Annual Shared Living &
AFC Conference brochure is here!
The Conference will be held on September 26, 2017 at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel and Trade Center in Marlboro Massachusetts.
This year's theme "People, Real Lives, Real Homes" will be highlighted by some of the most influential and knowledgeable people who provide and support these services. A featured keynote will be given by Emily Perl Kingsley, novelist and recipient of 12 Emmys. This year they have added an additional set of afternoon workshops for a total of 26 wonderful learning opportunities.
Please share this brochure widely to those whom you feel may benefit from the conference. Click here to view the brochure. 
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHTsponsorspotlight

The Arc of Massachusetts | 781-891-6270 |