September 28, 2017
October Reminds Us Our Work is Far from Done! 
In November 2013, the Massachusetts "Blueprint for Success" was released. The plan changed day and employment services for our constituents served by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). The state moved away from sheltered work and segregated settings to more individualized employment and community-based day support for those who weren't going to be able to work full-time independently or with intermittent assistance.
There were a number of success stories, including this one in 2015: I see a big change in my son. When asked a question, his answer is now usually ... "I can do it" instead of a shrug of the shoulders or no reply at all. The plan had three major elements for change to work: planning by agencies and across agencies in reorganizing work and day services, staff training at all levels, and funding for the more individualized services.

The partnership across the field was extraordinary and agencies worked very hard on changes. DDS funded consulting and training, much of it from its existing budget. Part of the outcome is reflected in this website for agencies.
The third leg of change is adequate funding: $26.7 million and little of that has been funded despite initial investments. One staff person to ten or twelve individuals doesn't work in assisting people to obtain part-time jobs or community-based day experiences. During this past year, the DDS budget looked very strong and thankfully the governor and legislature stayed firm on Turning 22 funding for graduating adults.

But for many persons with disabilities, the Blueprint is unfulfilled as they sit in congregate settings with limited community exposure. In the summer, some employment funds were reduced due to a $600 million state revenue shortfall. But now there is an additional 2% cut hanging over our field. We need to help policymakers and officials restore what is needed for adults to be integrated and receive assistance for productive work. The U.S. Department of Labor designated October Disability Employment Month - what better time is there to give adults hope and opportunity? Please join with us as we share ways you can participate this coming month! 
Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director  
Families Teaching Doctors Across the State 
Operation House Call lectures and home visits continue this fall with classes at Boston University School of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine and UMass Medical School. Each class was taught by a parent instructor and a co-teacher who is an individual with autism or other intellectual or developmental disabilities. OHC reaches over 350 students at these three medical schools each year. We reach another 300+ students through our NP, Nursing, and Health professional programs at Yale School of Nursing and Simmons College. For more information or to get involved with OHC, contact  
Supported Decision Making
Last Friday at the Bridgewell conference , Building Bridges: Autism Journey into Adulthood , the Best Practices track exposed people to supported decision making, an alternative to guardianship. Using supported decision making, an individual with I/DD or autism receives customized decision assistance by a trusted volunteer(s) called decision supporters. Decision supporters can be family members, friends, staff or former staff, or general community members whom an individual knows well and who can provide the tailored decision assistance. Supported decision making allows an individual to retain all their legal capacity, i.e., their right to make decisions about their lives. Supported decision making has been shown to increase the quality of life for people with disabilities, widen their life experiences, and connect them more deeply to community life without the stigma inherent in guardianship.
Image, left to right: Maggy Walto, Nonotuck Care Manager; Malia Carlotto,  decision supporter for her son Cory; Cory Carlotto, Supported Decision Making adopter; Elizabeth Pell, Arc Director of Policy Advancement
This Arc-facilitated session highlighted the lived experience of several people engaged in a pilot of supported decision making undertaken by the Center for Public Representation and Nonotuck Resources Associates. Feedback from attendees noted that the blend of a human rights message of equality with the lived experience of SDM users was compelling. A young adult with autism and his mother shared their story of adopting supported decision making and successfully petitioning the probate court to discharge a guardianship - the first time this occurred in Massachusetts! Supported decision making changed their lives, and opened the minds of those who heard their compelling story.  
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
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, decision making options- and will  demonstrate the Center for Future Planning's new online tool. This webinar is helpful to 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 disability and their families.
Jenny has also dedicated her studies to learning more about politics and policies that impact people with intellectual disability 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.
WHAT'S TRENDING Whatstrending
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
Exhibitor registration is also now open! 

Save the Date! Mass Advocates Standing Strong Conference
United... Self-Advocates Reach for the Stars Annual Conference 
Saturday, October 14, 2017 | 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM 
Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough
Introducing Siblings Forward
Dr. Gael Orsmond and Dr. Kristin Long from Boston University are developing a new program to increase siblings' involvement in future planning for their brother/sister with autism spectrum disorder. Siblings Forward is currently seeking adults with autism and siblings to participate in a focus group or 1:1 interview. For more information, visit
Boston Ability Center Sibshops
The Boston Ability Center is sponsoring Sibshops for brothers and sisters age 6 and over. For more information, visit 
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT sponsorspotlight
The Arc of Massachusetts | 781-891-6270 |