November 9, 2017
Facing a Season of Change

It's that time of year when our clocks turn back and winter arrives, but also during this season of change, we at The Arc of Massachusetts begin to work even harder.
The Arc voices the concerns of people with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Williams syndrome, and the wide range of intellectual or developmental disabilities. The issues are many:
  • Fighting to keep Medicaid a substantial resource for individuals with disabilities on the national level by supporting The Arc US;
  • Addressing shortfalls in employment/day and residential services through a supplemental budget and working with the Administration on the 2019 budget request;
  • Ensuring that the MassHealth (Medicaid) Reform doesn't hurt our constituents as a final package of changes is hammered out by the Senate, House, and Administration;
  • Working to educate our constituents on the new managed care initiative by MassHealth Accountable care organizations (ACO), which affects our constituents funded by Medicaid, but not Medicare (learn more on our Facebook Live later this month and via Webinar in December);
  • Working with the Administration to make MassHealth and DDS supports more responsive to the needs of our constituents;
  • Helping individuals on their transition to adulthood.
We'll keep you "in the know" through our website, Facebook, Advocate newsletter, and Notes from The Arc. We can't do this without your support.  Maya Angelou once remarked, "I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me." 
In the past few years, our Board of Directors, now under the leadership of Tracy Atkinson, has worked to make sure resources grow to enable our advocacy. But they cannot do it alone To paraphrase Maya Angelou, please be on your own side by personally and financially supporting our work. 

A stronger voice during a season of change is essential!
Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director  
The Becker Trust Grants for Innovation
The Trustees and Advisors of the Becker Family Trust, in conjunction with the Becker Center for Advocacy, invite you to submit a grant proposal. $1,000,000 in grants will be distributed to agencies serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, with four grants of $200,000 and ten grants of $20,000. T rust grant geographical criteria is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts only or a region therein.
Projects and programs should demonstrate high impact with innovative features. The focus areas to be considered may include social inclusion; self determination; employment; assistive technology; and supported/shared living.
Grant proposals are due Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - no exceptions.
Grant Awards will be announced in March at a public event.
Transition Conference 2017 Wrap Up!

Over 330 parents, presenters, professionals, educators, exhibitors, and self-advocates from across the state attended the Transition  from School to Adulthood: Creating a Meaningful Life Conference at the College of the Holy Cross on November 4.


Conference participants were able to choose from 26 workshops and panel discussions covering such issues as transition for students with Autism; Massachusetts Special Education laws that govern transition; making friends at school; living on your own; and understanding federal and state benefits and the new ABLE accounts in Massachusetts. Thanks to the assistance of Autism Support Center of The Northeast Arc and Centro, two sessions were also offered in Spanish. We are grateful to the professionals, educators, parents, and self-advocates who shared their expertise and resources with us in these informative workshops.

The Brookline Buds of the MUSE Foundation.

At lunch the Brookline Buds from the MUSE Foundation performed and had the crowd singing to Sweet Caroline!

The keynote, "Self Determination: A Family Affair," was presented by Michael L. Wehmeyer, Ph.D, the Ross and Marianna Beach Distinguished Professor in Special Education and Director of the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas. The keynote session emphasized the family's role in ensuring positive transition outcomes by supporting a young person's self-determination.

We are grateful to have had the support of so many to help make this day possible!  Special thanks to our supporters: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission; Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts; Department of Developmental Services; Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change; Autism Support Center of the Northeast Arc; EMARC; Federation for Children with Special Needs; Massachusetts Advocates for Children; Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council; HMEA; The Arc of Greater Haverhill-Newburyport; The Arc of Greater Brockton; Christine Shaw, PhD; Merrimack College; and Kathy Kelly!


Hats off to our incredible sponsors who helped to make this conference a success!
Workshop presentations will be posted on our website on November 15 .
Hope to see you in 2019!
Webinar On Sharing Personal Stories
Telling Your Story
Presented by Herb Cabral and Julie Heffernan, 
Advocacy Alliance Coordinators, The Becker Center for Advocacy
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 | 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
FREE thanks to the Becker Family Foundation
The most powerful thing our legislators can hear 
are the life experiences of families like yours.
This training will teach self-advocates, family members, and service providers how to effectively tell their personal stories.  It is based on the belief that a well-told story is the best way to communicate our ideas, connect with others, and advocate for our needs.  Participants will learn how to talk about who they are, what they need, and what they want - all by telling their story. Register today!
Sharing Your Story: Legislative Advocacy
Sharing Your Story: Legislative Advocacy
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 | 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Family Support Center, 30-40 Audubon Road, Wakefield, MA 01880

Julie Heffernan, an Advocacy Alliance Coordinator from The Arc of Massachusetts, will be presenting at EMARC's Family Support Center about the priorities for the upcoming state budget. Julie will also be talking about the legislative process and how the story of your family can help with advocacy efforts. Please join us as we plan for the legislative year ahead.

RSVP: Paula Thompson at 781-587-2316 or
Autism Insurance Resource Center
Autism Insurance Update
Thursday, December 7, 2017 | 8:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Faculty Conference Room, S1-342
University of Massachusetts Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 

Please register by sending an email to If you need accommodations, please let us know when you register.
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
November is Caregiver Awareness Month!

November is National Family Caregivers Month - a time to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country. Celebrating Family Caregivers during NFC month enables all of us to:
  • Raise awareness of family caregiver issues
  • Celebrate the efforts of family caregivers
  • Educate family caregivers about self-identification
  • Increase support for family caregivers
For more information about this annual observance, visit

Tell us what being a caregiver means to you! Do you know someone who is a caregiver that you would like to recognize? Email your story and photo to Kerry at All entries will be entered into a raffle to win a gift card!
United Arc and Stone Soup's Pay-What-You-Can Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Dinner at Stone Soup's
"Family Friendly" Pay-What-You-Can Café
Thursday, November 23, 2017 
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM drop in |  Stone Soup Cafe
399 Hope Street, Greenfield, MA

The United Arc  is delighted to announce that once again The United Arc and Stone Soup Cafe are partnering to host an inclusive community Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, November 23 at the Stone Soup Cafe, 399 Hope Street, Greenfield, MA from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Suggested amount for patrons that can pay is $10.00 per person

For more information on this wonderful event, please consult this flyer.
Addressing the 2018 Budget
The Arc's Government Affairs team is working closely with our legislature and leadership to advocate for restoration in the 2018 budget. Our supplemental request includes funding to increase the shortfall in Day and Employment as well as Residential services. You can find more details on our request here. We are also highlighting the need for increases in transportation, Family Support, and Adult Autism, as well as Mass Health's Adult Foster/Family Care restoration.
Increasing Legislative Advocacy
Bob Harris, CLASS President and CEO.
The effort to develop a positive and effective legislative strategy is an ongoing task for the leadership of CLASS (The Arc of Greater Lawrence). Bob Harris, the CLASS President and CEO, has been working with his management team and board to develop more effective ways of communicating and influencing their legislative delegation. 

The first strategy meeting took place at CLASS this past week. The Arc's Charlie Fiske outlined possible steps that might benefit the CLASS leadership group. The first step includes strengthening the existing relationship by identifying the local office hours of legislators. Legislators typically hold local office hours on a monthly basis. It's much easier for individuals and families to coordinate visits to a local office. 

The group felt that by taking proactive steps their concerns will be more easily addressed when it comes to future budget concerns and actions supporting various bills.  The CLASS group was in agreement that they can increase their effectiveness, even with their limited resources, and maintain all of their other activity projects.
Facebook Live!
Don't miss Leo Sarkissian on Facebook,  Wednesday,  November 29 at 12:00 PM ! Leo will outline 5 points on what is happening with Mass Health Reform.
Save The Date: 2018 State House Events
February 13, 2018:  Supporting Families Day
March 7, 2018:  The Arc of Massachusetts and Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) Legislative Event
March 28, 2018:  Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and State Citizen Advisory Boards (CAB) Day
April 12, 2018:  Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT sponsorspotlight
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