This week, Leo reflects on The Arc's mission; a celebration of our influential program, Operation House Call; a new older caregiver forum; information on Commissioner Ryder's upcoming Turning 22 town halls; and more!
Leo's Letter
Equity Across All Aspects of Society

There are two significant threads which underlie The Arc of Massachusetts’ mission. One is our mission to achieve “equity across all aspects of society.” This is a pretty tall order. Despite the progress made over the past decades, equity has not been achieved in health care, education, or transportation.

We cannot expect to significantly change this reality unless we continually educate and reject discrimination and bias. Individuals, families, and friends must not accept the denial of civil rights for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). This is why communications in social and traditional media have become a priority for us.

This week, WCVB aired a segment about the “HEADs UP” bill , which would establish that individuals with I/DD are a medically underserved population (MUP). Continue reading.
OHC's Kim Walsh, Leo Sarkissian, Maura Sullivan, and Judith Ursitti
Celebrating Operation House Call

On Wednesday, September 26, The Arc of Massachusetts hosted a reception for Operation House Call (OHC) at the Boston Marriott Newton. The evening was led by The Arc's Leo Sarkissian and Maura Sullivan.

Speakers included Maura, OHC's Program Director; Susanna Peyton, OHC Coordinator Yale School of Nursing & OHC Parent Instructor ; Dr. Kim Dever, a parent co-teacher and a host family; former OHC students Alexandra Solomon and Larissa Wenren; host family member Judith Ursitti; and Dr. Brian Skotko, Director of the Down Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Speakers shared recollections of harrowing medical experiences, how OHC changed their lives and outlooks, and the need for training opportunities for medical professionals about I/DD and autism.

Thank you to all who attended this inspirational evening. Photos are available here , and videos of the program and interviews will be added in the coming days.

Image (L-R): OHC Family Coordinator & Parent Instructor Kim Walsh; Leo Sarkissian; Maura Sullivan; and Judith Ursitti
Join us for a Community Forum: Medical Issues Related to Aging with Disabilities
October 26, 2018 | 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Lexington Community Center
39 Marrett Road, Lexington

Panelists will provide information about the medical conditions and issues that are prevalent in people with autism, Down syndrome, and other disabilities as they age.  Seating is limited. Preference will be given to Lexington residents.

  • Ann Neumeyer, MD, a Neurologist and the Medical Director at the Lurie Center for Autism.
  • Julie Anne Moran, DO, a geriatrician and Consultant Physician for the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services.
  • Stephanie Santoro, MD, the Director of Quality Improvement Research for the Down Syndrome Program and a clinician for pediatric and adult patients with Down syndrome and patients in Medical Genetics at MGHfC and MGH.

Special thanks to the Dana Home Foundation for funding this event.
Training Center
Raising the Bar: Seeing Employment as Part of Our Children’s Future
Presenter: Sean Roy
10/10/18, 12:00pm, Free

This session is designed to help parents see that with high expectations, the right supports, and thoughtful preparation, employment is possible. Success stories will be shared and strategies offered to help youth prepare for employment through chores at home and work experience in the community. Families play a vital role in the transition success of youth with disabilities and this session will help families raise the bar and envision a employment success for their son or daughter.

Partnering with Families: Working Towards Employment Success
Presenter: Sean Roy
10/11/18, 2:30pm, Free

This session will highlight the importance of family involvement in the employment success of youth, while providing strategies for professionals to better engage families in the process. Topics will include understanding the family perspective, addressing apprehension in exploring community-based employment, and strategies for helping families play a key role in career readiness and the job search.

Are you an older caregiver? Join us for a Community Conversation!

As part of the Becker Center, The Arc of Massachusetts is planning community forums across Massachusetts this fall. The purpose is to examine the needs of older caregivers.
Outside The Arc
Commissioner’s Turning 22 Town Hall Meetings

DDS Commissioner Jane Ryder will be holding town meetings in each region to review Turning 22 and provide an opportunity for feedback to improve the transition process for young adults eligible for DDS services. Light refreshments will be served.
DDS Metro Region
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
6:30-8:00 PM
Bentley College - LaCava Center (3rd floor)
175 Forest Street, Waltham
DDS Northeast Region
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
6:00-8:30 PM
Crowne Plaza (Boston-Woburn)
15 Middlesex Canal Road, Woburn
RSVP by October 8: Kathleen.pearson@state.ma.us or 978 774-5000 x 545
DDS Southeast Region
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
6:30-8:00 PM
The Southeast Regional Office
151 Campanelli Drive, Suite B
RSVP by October 19: Lisa Saba 508-866-8918
DDS Central-West Region
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
6:00-8:30 PM
Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Avenue, Holyoke
RSVP: Stay tuned for more information
DDS Central-West Region
Pending. Stay tuned!
National Siblings of Adults with Disabilities Survey

The Sibling Leadership Network and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are conducting a national survey to identify needed supports for individuals with disabilities. The survey includes questions about siblings, their concerns, and their experiences. It will take less than 20-30 minutes to complete, and all responses will be confidential. Participation is entirely voluntary.
MASS Mobility Travel Training

Looking to learn how to teach older adults or people with disabilities how to ride fixed-route public transit independently and safely? There is still some room in a three-day workshop on how to offer travel training October 10-12 in Brockton. Learn more and register . Please note that this workshop is for staff of transit authorities, human service agencies, or schools interested in offering travel training. If you are looking to sign yourself or a family member up for travel training, find a program here .
Agency Spotlight