September 14, 2017
Fall - When traffic comes to a standstill and there are new beginnings
As I look out my window, I notice signs of fall. Traffic is slower and the days are getting shorter. But fall is also when much of our work begins anew despite very busy summers.
As a new cycle of advocacy begins, I see three major policy areas that will especially challenge us as we look to the coming year: the federal debate over tax reform and Medicaid caps, the crafting of the FY2019 state budget (July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019), and potential changes to our state's MassHealth program which provides community services to individuals and families in addition to health care.
Our work has everyday impact. I know that from your stories. Max (not his real name), looked like he was out of luck in getting employment assistance last winter. By April his situation was resolved. Yes, it took advocacy from his family. But the decision to fund Turning 22 at a level which met the need made it possible. Max is doing well at his two jobs.
As we work on these significant policy issues for you or for your family member or friend, we need you to stay connected with The Arc of Massachusetts. We will keep you in the loop. Without your outreach to legislators and others we cannot maintain the pace of achievements we have had over the years. 
Your participation will help you in your personal advocacy too, with both information and advocacy skills. We look to you to help us expand this lifetime of education and assistance to all who need it.
By the way, I love the fall. The crisp, cool air keeps my mind fresh.The colors of the leaves reminds me of our uniqueness as individuals... we all have something to offer and we all need opportunity.
You can read the long version of this article here on our website.
Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director  
The Arc of Massachusetts is Hiring!
We are seeking to fill an opening for a Development and Digital Media Associate, which is a key position on The Arc of Massachusetts staff. Reporting to the Director of Development, this is a full-time, entry-level position responsible for managing social media and electronic media and assisting with development and program activities and acknowledgements and donor database management. We are seeking someone with a high level of computer competency, excellent written and verbal communications skills, and strong organizational skills.
The job description and information on how to apply can be found at
Hurricanes Harvey & Irma Relief
You can support people with disabilities and disability support programs affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. There are two disaster relief pages: one at The Arc of the US and one at The Arc of Texas. The Arc of the US also has connected with all of the chapters in Louisiana and Florida. Click here to access their websites: The Arc of Texas and The Arc of US .  
We join you in sending our thoughts and prayers to our Texas, Louisiana, and Florida colleagues and the people they support.
WEBINARS webinar
DDS, in  partnership with the Institute for Community Inclusion/UMass Boston, presents the following training opportunity.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 9:30 to 11:00 am
The Truth Comes From Us: What Employment Supports Do Self-Advocates Want and Need?
How well do we empower and listen to those to whom we provide services?
Employment professionals play a powerful role in supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) as they obtain and maintain successful jobs and careers. For this to happen, employment supports must be centered on each person's strengths, dreams, interests, and preferences.
This webinar will feature Max Barrows and Stirling Peebles, self-advocates and staff from Green Mountain Self-Advocates in Vermont. Max and Stirling will talk about a paper by the national organization Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE). The SABE publication is based on interviews with self-advocates from across the U.S. People with IDD shared their personal experiences receiving support to work and several themes were identified.
Join this webinar to hear what matters most to our employment service recipients. And invite job seekers and supported employees to join you! Don't miss the chance to participate in this candid and enlightening discussion.
These webinars are offered at no cost to you but pre-registration is required. Register now at:
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM
FREE, thanks to a grant from the Becker Center for Advocacy 
For parents of children with special needs: Come draft your Memorandum of Intent with us, in this interactive webinar. How will your trustee or relative know how to best care for your loved one when you are gone or incapacitated? Create a document can be used to describe your child's health care and therapeutic needs, identify lifestyle preferences and provide contact information for doctors, therapists and teachers. It also can be used to convey insights into your child's personality, likes and dislikes, and history that future caregivers might not easily gain on their own. At the end of this webinar, you will have a document that answers some of these questions, and that you can continue working on it in your own time.
At Margolis & Bloom, Karen B. Mariscal practices in the areas of special needs estate planning, guardianship, and disability law. Karen has been a highly-regarded lawyer in private practice for more than 30 years, half of that time in New York City and half in Boston at Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge, LLP, Peabody & Arnold, LLP, and White & Williams, LLP.
Karen is a passionate advocate for her clients, including people who have family members with special needs. She and her husband have a severely autistic adult son (now living in a group setting in Framingham), so she understands how to navigate the system and what parents go through. Karen has been very active in Special Olympics, founding Wellesley's Special Olympics track team (part of Wellesley S.T.A.R.S.).  She is the chair of the Housing Taskforce of AFAM (Advocacy for Autism Massachusetts), and is a member of the Housing Subcommittee of Massachusetts's state-wide Autism Commission. In addition, Karen is a director of Camp Starfish, a camp for children with emotional and behavioral issues. She is an active member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.
In addition to estate planning and guardianship (including supported decision-making), Karen provides families with information, resources, and practical assistance regarding their children's adult day programming and housing and residential options and supports. Karen is a graduate of Indiana University, cum laude, and Northwestern University School of Law, cum laude.  Karen is a 2016 recipient of the The Five Star Wealth Manager award for her work as an estate planner.
Contact Kerry Mahoney at m with questions.
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 TRENDING Whatstrending
Vital Children's Program has Open Referral Period in October
The Autism Division of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) runs a program that provides one-to-one interventions to help children with autism who exhibit severe behavior 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 9 th  birthday.
The open request period to be placed on a list expressing interest in this program runs from October 17 th  - October 31 st .  Note that this doesn't guarantee acceptance into the program but without placing your child's name on the list, there is no possibility of benefiting from the program.
More information is available here:  
Announcing "Connecting Real Lives," a Facebook community about self-directing services in Massachusetts
We learn from each other by sharing news, personal stories, and training information.

We share success stories to encourage others to try self-direction.  We also share problems to help one another and to improve self-direction in Massachusetts.

You can connect by going here .
Transition Conference Registration is Now Open!
Registration for the all-day Transition Conference on Saturday, November 4, is now open! Find out more about the day and our incredible line up of workshops at
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT sponsorspotlight

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