October 12, 2017
"And miles to go before I sleep..."
Attitudes toward those with intellectual or developmental disabilities are changing in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go. One surprising story that shows how far we have to go comes from Australia just this month. 
Sarah Maroun, who expects the birth of her daughter in January, w as attacked on the web when she publicly revealed her decision to go full-term after a prenatal screening revealed her daughter would be born with Down syndrome. Further, one of the doctors involved in her care even used the term "Mongoloid" and encouraged an abortion.  Critical bloggers focused on the drain she would place on the state with the birth of her daughter.
Only through personal and public education can we succeed in fostering a more understanding culture. This past Wednesday was "National Stop Bullying Day." One way to improve acceptance is discouraging negative behavior and language. 
Another is celebrating positive actions, along with the successes of persons with disabilities.  For example, Shelby County High School held its homecoming parade, a longstanding community event in Columbiana, Alabama.  As student groups competed to be named the parade's best float, the parade's banner was held by students with special needs. "Individuals with a developmental disability or delay are part of every part of life," said community member Elizabeth Ward. "Everyone contributes to the community in a special way."
In Madison, Wisconsin, Widen Enterprises prides itself on a diverse workforce in which 5 out of 100 people have Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and/or other developmental disabilities. Hiring people who reflect these demographics has been a deliberate, intentional effort on the company's part.
We may currently have "miles to go" before  we can sleep, but with continued efforts like these, the journey may be shorter than we think.
Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director  
Transition Conference 2017: Register today!
Exhibitor space is now available! Exhibitors should register by October 20 here. 
Here is what past participants have said about the conference:

"I was afraid for my daughter's future. Now I know she can have a good life!"
"I did not know my son could attend college!  It is his dream to do what his brother did!"
"It is all so overwhelming, but I keep coming back and moving forward!"
"The day is full of information, resources, valuable tips, and suggestions.  I do not feel so all alone!"
Thank you to our sponsors!
The Guild for Human Services
Mass Down Syndrome Congress
Skills for Life
Northeast Arc
Chapters of The Arc
The Arc of Greater Plymouth
The Arc of South Norfolk
The Arc of Bristol County
Northeast Arc
The Arc of Greater Haverhill-Newburyport
For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kerry Mahoney by October 20  at mahoney@arcmass.org or  (781) 891-6270 x109. Don't delay: register today!
The Arc of the US Presents: The Center for Future Planning
Wednesday, October 18, 2017 | 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Jenny Sladen from The Arc of the United States will present on future planning: what it is, the barriers to planning, and decision making options. She will also demonstrate the Center for Future Planning's new online tool. This webinar is helpful for parents, siblings, and professionals in the field.  
Thanks to the Becker Center for Advocacy, there is no charge to attend.

Jennifer Sladen is the Program Manager for National Initiatives at The Arc of the United States. Since joining The Arc in 2011, she has contributed to several projects relating to autism, employment, health, and family support. Before this, Jenny was a long-time volunteer and direct service provider at her local Chapter in Indiana. Because of this experience, she is excited and honored to help offer Chapters of The Arc opportunities to improve and strengthen their local services and better serve people with intellectual disabilities and their families.
Jenny has also dedicated her studies to learning more about politics and policies that impact people with intellectual disabilities worldwide. She received bachelor's degrees in international studies and political science from Indiana University and a master's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Much of her academic research focuses on identity politics, national social policies, and the European Union and its efforts/challenges in developing a comprehensive disability policy in its member states.
Training Opportunity Available!
Promoting Self-Determination in the Transition to Adult Life
Featuring Dr. Michael Wehmeyer, University of Kansas
Friday, November 3, 2017
Sturbridge Host Hotel, 366 Main Street, Sturbridge, MA
Who should attend?
  • Educators and transition specialists working with transition-age youth (ages 18-22) with ID/DD
  • State agency staff (DDS, MRC, MCB) who work with transition-age youth with ID/DD
  • Service providers offering employment services to youth with ID/DD
For more information, please   consult this flyer.
Upcoming Interactive Workshop
Getting Involved in Local Government: 
An Interactive Workshop on Title II of the ADA
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 |  2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Boston City Hall, 5th Floor, 1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA

This event is free and open to all, although it will be especially valuable for:
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Elders
  • Family members
  • Immigrants & new residents of Boston
  • Professionals in the disability field
  • Anyone else who is involved with the disability community
Some of the interactive activities will include:
  • Registering to vote
  • Trying out a voting booth
  • Learning ways to testify at a hearing
  • Applying to serve on a City Board or Commission
  • And much more!
The event is Wheelchair Accessible, ASL and CART.  For other accommodation requests, contact disability@boston.gov  or call 617-635-3682 / 617-635-2541 TTY.
Statewide Conference About FASD Youth
W hen the School Bus Stops: Transition Issues for Youth
with a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder
Wednesday, November 8, 2017 | 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
DoubleTree Hotel,  5400 Computer Drive, Westborough, MA

Register now for this statewide conference for families, human service providers, and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) professionals, which will address the challenges and resources for youth with a FASD.  Sponsored by MA Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, and AdCare Educational Institute, Inc.

Parents of children with a FASD may contact Enid Watson for a discount code at enidwatson@healthrecovery.org.
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
Take Part in the Pathlight Challenge!

Pathlight, a leading provider of services for people with intellectual disabilities in western Massachusetts, and Valley Venture Mentors have joined in an exciting partnership to encourage innovation in the field of disability. The goal of the challenge is to offer two spots in VVM's prestigious Startup Accelerator to companies that are creating solutions for people, particularly millennials, with developmental and intellectual disabilities (and those with autism who have no intellectual disability) to lead more independent lives.

To learn more, including important dates, visit www.vvmaccelerator.com. When applying specifically for this Challenge, please check yes on the last question on the application. If you need more information, please email 
Applications are being accepted until October 18! Apply today at 
Important Message to MA Families With Children Under 9 Diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
Open Interest Period will be from 
October 17, 2017 to October 31, 2017
The Autism Division of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) runs an Autism Waiver Program that provides one-to-one interventions to help children with autism who exhibit severe behavior and/or social and communication problems through intensive in-home services and supports. This service occurs in the child's home or other natural settings under the supervision of trained clinical staff and is available for a total of three years. 

The waiver also provides related support services such as community integration activities and respite. At the conclusion of the three years of intensive services, a child may access supplemental services that meet the child's needs and help with the transition out of the intensive Autism Waiver Program until the child's ninth  birthday.
For additional information including eligibility requirements and application forms, please visit the website .
Attention Lexington Residents!
SUPPORTbrokers is currently recruiting adults on the Autism Spectrum over 50 years of age who want to become more involved in the Lexington community!  For more information, please contact Pat at  patpakos@gmail.com.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT sponsorspotlight
The Arc of Massachusetts | 781-891-6270 | thearcofmass.org