May 24, 2018
Three Ways to Sustain Your Own Personal Advocacy

Since 1978, Pat Pakos has been a devoted volunteer, advocate, and professional for people with disabilities and their families. In  2008, she joined The Arc of Massachusetts, and in her many roles and responsibilities, Pat assisted families in navigating services for their sons and daughters, especially during the transition years. We wish Pat well and thank her for her work and devotion as she enters retirement. For more information, contact Kerry at

Thank you to the Dana Home Foundation for granting SUPPORTbrokers funding to continue our Aging with Autism pilot. With this year's funds, we are able to provide person centered life plans for five individuals over the age of 45 who live in Lexington. Individuals may be diagnosed with Autism or an Intellectual Disability. For more information, contact Kerry at
Senate Budget Debate
The State Senate this week began reviewing the 1196 amendments filed by Senators following the release of the Ways and Means Committee FY 19 budget. The Arc has worked closely with Senators to file and support nine amendments. Those amendments include increased funding in the following areas: transportation, residential services, adult foster care, day/employment services, autism waiver, adult autism services, Operation House Call, family support/respite care, and DESE/DDS. Twenty three senators have either filed these amendments or joined as co-sponsors.
The results are as follows:
  • transportation - reduced amount requested
  • Operation House Call - withdrawn
  • residential services, adult foster care,  family support/respite, funding allowing children to remain at home a longer time  - all rejected
The following amendments, filed by Senator Barbara L'Italien are still in process:
  • day/employment services, autism waiver, adult autism services
We offer special thanks not only to these Senators, but to The Arc's many advocates who have called and encouraged their Senators to support these nine amendments.
Concerned about the training of Police Officers in regards to Autism?  Write to your legislator to help The Arc pass S1313!
(L to R) Chief Bongiorno of Bedford PD, The Arc's Maura Sullivan, and William Cannata
S1313 ( An Act relative to criminal justice training regarding persons with autism) has passed swiftly through the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security and is currently in Senate Ways and Means. The bill filed by Senator Anne Gobi (Spencer) will mandate training for all police academies in MA as well as correctional officers training. The training will include parent professionals and self-advocates and follows the ALEC model (Autism Law Enforcement Coalition) which is already in place through a collaborative effort of the The Arc of South Norfolk Family Autism Center and the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office.

Maura Sullivan testified, "We see police trying to help in crisis or emergency situations all over the country where their training has reinforced the worst ways to approach/interact and help people with autism." Chief Bongiorno offered a unique insight: "On a personal note, I am the father of an autistic teenage daughter and I've experienced the challenges associated with this disorder. I believe a foundational knowledge on how to identify individuals across the spectrum, and how to respond to their varying needs, would be beneficial to all members in the law enforcement field."

WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
The Health Care Transition Quiz was created with the help of Got Transition's National Young Adult Transition Advisory Group and asks about important transition topics. The quiz provides tips and resources that address health care transition questions, such as how to add their medical information to a smartphone, what legal changes happen at age 18, and how to sign up for health insurance.
Bicycle camp for individuals with disabilities
iCan Shine is a non-profit organization that teaches individuals with disabilities to ride a conventional two-wheel bicycle through its iCan Bike program. This five-day camp, requiring riders to attend only one 75-minute session per day, is taking place August 12 - 17 at the Cambridge War Memorial.

iCan Shine uses adapted equipment, trained professionals and volunteers. With 75 minutes of instruction over five days, over 80% of riders learn to ride a conventional bicycle independently by the end of camp.

To be eligible to enroll, riders must be at least eight years old, have a disability, and be able to walk without an assistive device such as a walker or cane. Riders must be able to side-step quickly to both sides. Riders must have a minimum inseam measurement of 20 inches and weigh no more than 220 pounds.

Contact with any questions.
Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Eligibility - Which Door to Enter?
Thursday, June 7, 2018 | 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Presented by Kristen O'Melia, Director of Family Support,
Intake and Eligibility and FIRST Team, Metro Boston region
Register today! | FREE thanks to the DDS and MPTE

Considering applying for services from DDS? This workshop will help you understand the eligibility guidelines, application process and know the types of services and supports you could receive.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT sponsorspotlight
The Arc of Massachusetts  | (781) 891-6270 |