August 3, 2017

Acceptance Raises Expectations, 
Advances Innovation
What we think is possible for ourselves is based partly on how we are perceived and accepted in the world around us. For too long, the potential of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) including autism was discounted. In Knowing Jesse, a book about a young man with cerebral palsy, the nanny reports tells Jesse's mother that she heard his teacher and aide complaining about her expectations for her son... within earshot of Jesse himself. Jesse was hurt by what the teacher thought of him and showed it in his behavior. Jesse eventually moved to a new class and better situation.
This is not a new scenario but when we think about the cumulative effect we realize that with acceptance comes expectation for someone who may have autism, cerebral palsy, or another condition. Public education and specific examples of success spur future improvements. 
A few months ago, Sesame Street added Julie to its cast, the first puppet with autism on the show. In May, we learned about Jonah, a new comic superhero who happens to have Down syndrome; he will appear in the Superb series. Perhaps it's a coincidence, but the recent success of Life Animated, A&E's Born This Way, and BBC's The A Word may be having more of an impact than we realize.
As we see more acceptance, we should also see changes in how supports and services are provided to those with I/DD. No longer are we thinking separate or specialized but how supports can help people in being part of the communities in which they live.
On November 15, The Arc Tank will be held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The Northeast Arc and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation are looking for innovative ideas to positively "disrupt the system" and improve the lives of persons with intellectual disabilities and/or autism. A total of $200,000 will be awarded through the "Changing Lives Fund" established by Boston Businessman Stephen P. Rosenthal. Learn more about the fund and program here . The Arc of Massachusetts is happy to be a community partner.
Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director    
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRSgovernmentaffairs
Nicky's Law Hearing: Community Advocacy At Its Best!
On Monday, dozens of families showed up at the Massachusetts State House to support Nicky's Law (S 64 and H 80) at a hearing in front of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.
Nicky's Law will create a registry of caretakers who have been substantiated of abuse against a person with autism or intellectual and developmental disability. Senator Michael Moore and Representative Linda Dean Campbell sponsored the bill and provided compelling testimony along with Cheryl Chan, Nicky's mother, and The Arc's Director of Government Affairs Maura Sullivan.
Though testimony was painful for many, the message was clear: we need this registry now! The Arc thanks our strong, unified community for all their advocacy. You can view Maura Sullivan's testimony here. Or to learn more email .
Priority Bill Heard by Joint Committee
At yesterday's hearing of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Person's with Disabilities, The Arc's Director of Government Affairs Maura Sullivan provided testimony for an education loan repayment bill for human services workers (H 116 and S 42). 
This bill will help encourage direct care workers to enter and continue working in community-based human services programs and help these organizations recruit and retain a stronger, more qualified workforce.  Here is an excerpt from her testimony:
"Direct care workers are the glue that holds this community together and we are in crisis due to a shortage. This shortage is getting worse and it will continue to get more difficult to find staff and keep staff as more individuals with autism are entering the adult population. We also have so many people living with chronic disability longer and of course we have an aging population in general. We need this bill as an incentive for students to enter the field, stay in the field and become educated in the field. In terms of individuals with autism or intellectual and developmental disabilities, like my own two sons, we need committed and trainable individuals because turnover and transition of staff is so hard for them! These workers not only support our children and adults but they give our families strength and hope. They recharge us with their compassion and patience under sometimes challenging situations."
For more information on this legislation contact
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 | 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Financial Literacy for Students with Special Needs
Representatives from PwC will discuss financial literacy education for individuals with disabilities. The discussion will focus on how these skills contribute to long term independence and dignity, and available resources for teaching. We will explain the role that saving, budgeting, purchase decisions and financial safety play in the lives of individuals with disabilities.
Financial assistance is available. Contact Kerry
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."
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