July 2021
Happy Summer!

We hope you are enjoying the summer days and spending time with loved ones and attending some of the fun activities that are resuming here in RI.
Our newsletters are usually packed with information you can use about community organizations, events, or legislative actions that are important to everyone in our community. We have something for everyone, individuals themselves, their family members: parents, siblings, foster families, and also host training, workshops or support groups for disability support staff, disability professionals, educators, employers, and schools.
Let us know what you think by emailing us at scocchi@thearc.org to describe what, how or when you want to be informed and stay up-to-date with the fast-moving parts of individual and family advocacy! Be certain to check out our many support groups: Special Education, Families with Adult Children, LBTQ+, social groups for children 12-16, and Latina Strong as part of The Arc Rhode Island Circles of Connections Program.
Happy National Ice Cream Month!

Ice Cream became an official food holiday
in 1984 when President Ronald Reagan
declared July as National Ice Cream Month.
31 Years of Americans with Disabilities Act!

On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure the civil rights of people with disabilities. This legislation established a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

(Their website describes itself as a day and residential school serving ages five through adult. Since 1971, JRC has provided very effective education and treatment to both emotionally disturbed students with conduct, behavior, emotional, and/or psychiatric problems, as well as those with
intellectual disabilities or on the autism spectrum)

This is what was Proposed:

This is
Happening Now:
Funding for Home and Community-Based Services Is on the Line: A new bill that is essential for people with disabilities, their families, and the direct support professional workforce, called the Better Care Better Jobs Act, is moving through Congress. This critical bill includes a long overdue $400 billion for Medicaid, which supports people with disabilities to do things like get dressed, take care of their families, work, and participate in their communities.
However, we are now hearing that this $400 billion investment may be cut in HALF! We must stop this from happening! Contact your Members of Congress now and tell them #CareCantWait.
We need a big investment to make this system work for everyone who needs it. Too many people are stuck on waiting lists, relying on unpaid caregivers, or forced to live in institutions. The $400 billion investment in Medicaid proposed in the Better Care Better Jobs Act is already long overdue!
What YOU Can Do Right NOW:
The stakes are high – take 2 minutes to contact your Members of Congress!
The Arc's National Convention 2021
September 27th - 29th New Orleans, LA
The Arc’s National Convention is an unmatched opportunity to connect and learn with advocates, professionals, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families. If you are interested in employment, education, advocacy, housing, criminal justice, and more – our sessions are sure to challenge, inspire, and motivate!
Click on the video below to watch highlights from The Arc's 2019 National Convention!
Rhode Island Development Disabilities Council starts ENTREPRENEURIAL CLASSES 8/3/21
Rhode Island Facilitators Forum
Bringing Back the Positive & Possible
The Rhode Island
Facilitator's Forum meets each month!

Thanks to The Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council a Person-Centered Planning Community - Facilitators Forum meeting is hosted monthly by Ken Renaud, Associate Director of The Arc of Rhode Island. Over 50 professionals, individuals with disabilities, and community partners attend conversations to learn best practices, professional development, and engagement that builds inclusive futures for individuals and their families.

If you are interested in accelerating your learning potential contact Ken Renaud: Renaud@thearc.org

We are planning an in-person Learning Opportunity this Fall but will pivot to an online event. if necessary.
The Guru's of Inclusion: Lynda Kahn and Jack Pierpont will talk to us about building Rhode Island's capacity to engage in creating powerful communities with purpose.
Spotlight On: 

Our Special Education Advocacy Circle
Family Connections

Our Circle of Connections meets online (for now) on a weekly basis. It has proven to be a great support for families raising children with special needs to learn new resources, plan inclusive futures for their children, and help parents understand the special education process K-12, Transition Services, and what to expect when moving to the adult system (BHDDH) in Rhode Island. Topics discussed are:

Summer activities
After school meltdowns
Regulation strategies for kids
The importance of routines
Wellness strategies for parents and families
IEP development – how to create S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Collaboration vs Confrontation

EMAIL: champlin@thearc.org

or follow the sign-up link below:

RIFORCE, The Arc Rhode Island &
Kevin Nerney, Executive Director of The Rhode Island Disability Council are interviewed by Newport Chamber of Commerce on Radio on Hiring People with Disabilities
Chris Semonelli, Chairperson of the Disability Advocates Group: RI FORCE & Vice-Chair of RI Developmental Disabilities Council, Joanna Scocchi and Ken Renaud from The Arc Rhode Island, and Kevin Nerney, Executive Director of RI DD Council were interviewed on Bruce Newbury’s Newport Chamber of Commerce radio show
on July 15th.

Chris described RI FORCE, the history and accomplishments, and the announcement that RI FORCE is now a Family Advisory Council to The Arc Rhode Island.
Chris explained the workforce crisis within the Disability Community and how the state and organizations can work together to solve the crisis. Chris has been a fierce advocate to work to bring a Program for Professional Development including certification levels I and II for those who support our loved ones. We highlight advocacy issues of individuals, support staff, and family concerns to the attention of policymakers on quality of life for
EEH: Education, Employment and Housing

Contact The Arc of Rhode Island: scocchi@thearc.org
if you are a business interested in learning more about filling your workforce with the vast variety of talent of people with disabilities
Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day

July 20th was the annual celebration of the life of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and a global call for people to commit actions of inclusion, acceptance, and unity for and with people with intellectual disabilities. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a founder of the Special Olympics and a pioneer in the worldwide struggle for rights and acceptance for people with intellectual disabilities. She believed that if people with intellectual disabilities were given the same opportunities and experiences as everyone else, they could accomplish far more than anyone ever thought possible.

For more about her life and the Special Olympics, see https://www.specialolympics.org/eunice-kennedy-shriver 
Parents and Guardians of
Children in School...
10 Things To Do
School Starts

A successful school year begins in July. Set up your child for success by reviewing his IEP or 504 Plan before school starts or ask for a meeting BEFORE school starts, organizing your child records, creating a "What I wish my teachers knew about me" (ask us for our template! Learn how to communicate when you have multiple classes/teachers, what transition services should be offered, plus more need to know tips and strategies!
Anxiety in people who learn and think differently

Many people have anxiety at some point in their lives — including kids. But people who learn and think differently are more likely tohave anxiety than other people. 
Learn about Groden's Foster Care Program
Have you considered becoming a Foster Parent?
As part of the American Rescue Plan, Congress authorized billions of dollars in federal rental assistance for renters behind on housing costs, as well as landlords who have struggled during the pandemic. This new tool will streamline a renter's and/or landlord’s ability to determine if they are eligible for the assistance now available with rental payments, utilities, and other housing expenses.  
Access to COVID-19 Vaccines for People with Disabilities
Vaccines are now widely available, increasing the need to ensure access for people with disabilities, and those that support them. Additional efforts are needed to provide information and address hesitancy.
To get vaccinated contact:
Rhode Island Department of Health COVID-19 Resources
Hotline (401) 222-8022 or 211 after hours;
Email RIDOH.COVID19Questions@health.ri.gov * website https://health.ri.gov/covid/
Looking for something fun to do with the family?
Bike Newport Full Moon Ride: 8/22/2021, 9/20/2021, 10/20/202

A 15-mile moonlit adventure along the coastline under the stars.
Registration is required & the event is FREE!
Yes, You Can …
 Have Fun Creating Art!

Muse Paintbar, with many locations, including a cozy storefront on the very hip North Main Street in Providence, rocks the slogan “Making Masterpieces and Memories.” Bring a friend or a group to enjoy some wine or tasty snacks while you follow close directions by an artist-leader in creating a painting. Bring your inner Van Gogh if you wish, but, really, no artistic talent is required. You are here for fun and to splash some color on a palette. Go into Muse’s website to see exactly what paintings will be the specific subject for each day’s class. Go alone or invite a friend....just do it!
Coming this Fall!

If you have never attended this unbelievably talented group of small business owners selling AMAZING gift items -- this is the year to attend!

Small Business Saturday will be hosted by RI Developmental Disabilities Council will be at the Crown Plaza this year!
Call The Arc Rhode Island to learn about providers
who offer services and supports in:
  • Childhood and Adolescent Issues
  • Behavior and Anger Management
  • Relationship Issues
  • Stress Reduction
  • Self-Harming Behaviors
  • Group, Family, and Couples Therapy​
  • Grief & Trauma
  • Substance Abuse
  • Mood Disorders
Email us at scocchi@thearc.org or
Call us: (401) 363-9899
If you need assistance with understanding the Special Education process, Requesting Evaluations, need a
Referral to an Expert or,
concerned about your child struggling in school:
Call our Educational Advocacy Program at
401-363-9899 or email us: scocchi@thearc.org
The Arc Rhode Island At School
The Educational Advocacy Team recently worked with a mother to obtain a 504 plan for her junior high schooler right before the end of school. The mother was extremely concerned with his reading and executive functioning skills. The mom was concerned because of her past efforts in obtaining assistance and she only encountered resistance to her request to keep and sign a daily agenda asserting that "it is too time-consuming for each teacher for them to be doing in High School" in September. Our Advocate was able to obtain a 504 plan as this child entered 9th grade. It included co-taught classrooms and executive functioning and time management instruction to address his weaknesses. This includes an: IT technical meeting with the child during the first week of school, to develop an electronic alert system for each class to remind him of homework and upcoming test dates. It includes a detailed weekly home-to-school communication plan for all teachers, social workers. Despite severe reading struggles from K - 8 and Tier 3 instruction for many years, our Educational Advocate ensured that in high school he would receive for the 1st time: direct instruction & services from the district's Reading Specialist utilizing an evidence-based reading program. We set up a future team meeting to thoroughly review the progress and analyze the data taken from each session, reconvening at the end of October 2021 to determine if an IEP Plan is necessary for him to access his education.
Individuals with Disabilities &
Family Members...

Robert J. Allen Medical Equipment Distribution Center
Medical Equipment Needed and available

The Rhode Island Masons offer a free medical equipment distribution center. If you are in need of medical equipment or have any equipment you would like to donate contact:
The Medical Equipment Center cell phone at
401.451.0184 or 401.246.0865.  

You can also email them at 
 for more information

The Arc Rhode Island and the RI DD Council are pleased to announce a collaboration that will forge a new path for family advocacy in the state of RI.

Chris Semonelli current Chairperson of the Family Advocacy Group states:
”Moving forward we will create a large emphasis on much more family involvement.” He goes on to say, "This new collaboration with The Arc Rhode Island will solidify a strong independent voice that all of our existing and future families so rightfully deserve.”

RI FORCE was established 4 years ago, with support from The RI DD Council. The goal was to create an organization that would provide information and creates a platform for families advocacy. RI FORCE would like to thank Past-President,
Will Beaudoin, for his tireless advocacy and commitment to our community.

Providing a platform for family voices to be heard and mobilizing for advocacy initiatives
Now more than ever, it is very important to find & protect your peace of mind. We will be sharing monthly tips & strategies to help you improve
 mindfulness & wellbeing.
Being Mindful

1. Eat mindfully
When you scoff down your meal on autopilot while distracted by the television, computer, or constant conversation, you miss out on the delicious taste and smell of your food. You’re also less likely to feel satisfied and nourished because you ‘missed out" on the fact that you ate. It can be helpful to remember this phrase: When you eat, eat. When you drink, drink.
In other words, don’t attempt to do fifty other things when you sit down to a meal, coffee, or green juice. Simply focus all of your attention on what is in front of you.

2. Observe your breathing
As Eckhart Tolle once said, a single breath in and out is a meditation. Your breathing occurs naturally and rhythmically. When you pay attention to it, it takes you out of your mind and into your body. You momentarily free yourself from your churning thoughts, worries, and fears, and you remind yourself of who you really are — your inner spirit, not your thoughts.

3. Connect with your senses
Your senses — touch, smell, taste, sound, and sight — are your gateway into the present moment. But when you are lost in thought, you don’t experience what your senses are picking up.
Pause to soak up the beautiful aroma of your coffee. The salty ocean air. The beauty and diversity of flowers in your neighborhood. The mouth-watering waft of wood-fire pizza coming from your local Italian restaurant as you pass it. Notice how your clothing feels against your body. The soft clean bed sheets on your skin in the morning. The comforting warmth of your lover’s kiss. The grass under your feet. The sensation of water and suds on your hands as you do the washing up. Put love and attention into the simple tasks of your day, and you will be amazed at how much joy and peace they can bring you.

4. Listen wholeheartedly
Most of us never truly listen to people when they are speaking to us, because we’re too busy planning what to say next, judging what they are saying, or getting lost in daydreams altogether.
Next time you’re in a conversation, make it your goal to fully listen to what the other person is saying to you, without getting lost in your thoughts.
Trust that you will intuitively know the right thing to say next when it’s your turn to speak.