April 9, 2018
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is finalizing their Olmstead Plan.  Unfortunately not many seem to know about the Plan or how to comment.  Therefore, we have provided some links (see below.)

If you ever have been interested in working for the DPC, this may be your opportunity.  We are hiring 18 new people.  Follow the link in the story below, see if your talents and experience meet our needs.

Again, we are running our survey on ACO's.  If you have not responded yet, please do so.  
Until next week,  as always happy reading.

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
Community News:  Comment Period Closing 
Soon on Massachusetts Omstead Plan

Did you know that the Commonwealth developed its first 
Olmstead Plan in 2008?  It has recently been in the 
process of tracking its progress  and developing 
an updated plan, the Draft Massachusetts Olmstead 
Plan 2018.

It is very important that the Commonwealth receive 
comments on the 2018 Draft Olmstead Plan. This 
week's public hearings on the draft Plan were very 
lightly attended (two in Boston & one in Springfield).  
It appears that not many comments have been 

It is very vital that people respond no later than  this Friday, April 13th.

Do you have concerns about:
Affordable housing?
Reliable transportation?
Accessible education?
Empowering long term support services?
Avoiding invasive electronic monitoring?
Or any other issue that impacts your ability to live in 
the community as a person with a disability?
Here is a link to the 2018 Draft Olmstead Plan

Here is a link to a form for providing comment and 
instructions on where to send it.

We encourage you to make your voice heard.
Employment Opportunity:  Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, We've Got Them!

Some weeks ago, I mentioned that the DPC would have positions available.  Today, I can officially announce that we have 18, yes 18, positions available.

All positions will be open until they are filled.

Candidates should send their cover letter and resume to  akalogeropoulos@dpcma.org.  Please put the  positions you are applying for in the subject line.

You can also mail your cover letter and resume to:

Amy Kalogeropoulos
Director of Operations
11 Dartmouth Street, Suite #301
Malden, MA  02148.

Again, please indicate the position for which you are applying.

People with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
The DPC is a AA/EEO employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual preference or disability.
Add Your Voice: Important Survey

Is MassHealth your primary insurer? Do you have a disability? Are you the guardian or surrogate for a person with disability? If so...

We ask you to complete this YesHealth Survey. The survey contains questions about the new ACO plans that began on March 1. These new ACO plans now affect people who have MassHealth as their primary insurer.

We are asking people with disabilities (or their guardians/surrogates) who have MassHealth as their primary payer to complete this survey. The survey was created in the spirit of "Nothing About Us Without Us," and "About Us, By Us." So, it reflects feedback from consumers who participated in outreach done by DAAHR, including at a forum held in Boston.

Why the YesHealth survey?

The purpose of the survey is to help DPC and our allies in DAAHR better understand just how much consumers know about the new ACO plans. We also want to know about your experiences getting information about the new ACO plans from MassHealth and your plans.

Your feedback on this survey will help DAAHR in our work to protect the rights of people with disabilities.

Please click on this link to complete the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FNTJG7B
Net News:  Ohio Requires Accessible Ballots for People who Have Vision Disabilities

Blind voters in Ohio must be able to cast absentee ballots privately and independently, according to a recent directive from Secretary of State John Husted.

The directive comes after the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that a lawsuit brought by the National Federation of the Blind and three blind voters could go forward. Plaintiffs were represented by Disability Rights Ohio and Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP. The suit sought a court order to require Husted's office to provide accessible ballot-marking solutions. The state had tried to have the lawsuit thrown out, arguing that accessible absentee ballots were not required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Under the directive, the state's local boards of elections must make remote ballot-marking systems available to voters who are blind or who have other disabilities in time for the November 2018 election. These systems can be used alongside Braille or screen reader technology, which reads the text on a computer's screen as spoken words, to allow blind voters to mark their absentee ballots without assistance. The ballot can then be printed and mailed to the local board of elections, just like any other absentee ballot. The system will also benefit voters who are deaf-blind or who have other disabilities that prevent them from visiting a polling place or marking a traditional ballot.

"With these changes, I hope to finally be able to cast an absentee ballot by myself, without any help from a sighted friend or family member, thus maintaining confidentiality, and not have the worry of getting to a polling location, just like any other Ohio voter," said Shelbi Hindel, one of the three named plaintiffs on the lawsuit. "I hope that other people with disabilities across Ohio will take advantage of this important new option."

"Secretary Husted's decision to respect the rights of blind absentee voters instead of continuing to litigate the issue is a victory for the blind of Ohio and the nation," said Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. "The kind of ballot-marking solution that the blind of Ohio requested has been successfully implemented in other states and will allow blind Ohioans to make their voting selections privately and independently. The National Federation of the Blind urges voting jurisdictions throughout the United States to adopt similar systems."

"Disability Rights Ohio is pleased that Secretary of State Husted is moving forward with creating a system that will give people with disabilities equal access to the polls," said Michael Kirkman, Executive Director of Disability Rights Ohio. "As the new system is rolled out across the state, we encourage anyone who has questions or problems to call us."

Webinar: ICI Autism Series  

The third installment in our autism speaker series is coming up on Tuesday April 10 at 2PM ET. The topic is "Expanding the Dialogue on Autism: Reflections on Research & Real Life: Community Life Engagement."

Our panelists will be:

Stacey Ramirez, Executive Director, The Arc Georgia
Lauren Weaver, Educational Consultant, Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Vanderbilt University Kennedy Center
Finn Gardiner, Master of Public Policy student at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
Jennifer Sulewski, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Institute for Community Inclusion, UMass Boston
Russell Lehmann, Motivational Speaker, Poet, Author, Advocate

This speaker series engages experts in the field of autism, some of whom are on the spectrum themselves. The goal is to look at ways that people on the spectrum are shattering outdated expectations about their potential, their success, and their engagement in education, employment, healthcare, and community life.

Register for the community life engagement discussion here!

Here's the recording of the first webinar in the series, about education.

Here's the recording of our second webinar in the series, about employment.

Participants who complete the evaluation can receive Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) credits for participation in this webinar. Please note that it can take several weeks to receive CRC credit.
Webinar:   How Prospective Parents with Disabilities Can Prepare for Parenthood

Wednesday, April 11th
1:00pm - 2:00pm EST

This webinar will focus on strategies for prospective parents with disabilities to prepare themselves and their families for parenthood. Presenters will discuss the initial considerations of conception and adoption, and explore preliminary consultation in order to identify disability affirmative service providers. Participants will learn how to identify peer support among disability parenting communities to utilize for advice and support. The early identification of adaptive parenting tools and resources will be emphasized.

This webinar is for people with disabilities who want to become parents. We will talk about ways to prepare for parenthood, including:
  • Pregnancy and adoption
  • Scheduling a family planning appointment
  • Finding disability-friendly service providers
  • Creating a support network with disability parenting communities
CART services will be available.

For more information, contact the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities, The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at parentscenter@brandeis.edu

Calendar:  Big Apple Circus of the Senses

When:  Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Where:  Assembly Row, Somerville

The Big Apple Circus is back in town! We are excited to inform you that on Wednesday, April 11 the Big Apple Circus will be offering its special Circus of the Senses, a unique performance that enables children and adults with vision or hearing impairments and other disabilities to experience the magic and joy of the circus.

Wireless audio headsets, which utilize a state-of-the-art infrared transmission system, feature a play-by-play description of the action in the ring. Additionally, American Sign Language interpreters are strategically positioned in spotlights to sign throughout the performances. Audience members also have their choice of a large-print or Braille descriptive program, each of which describes the various acts in detail. Both a pre-show interactive touch experience for everyone and post show touch session for blind and low vision individuals brings the magic of circus to life!

Contact LLewis@BigAppleCircus.com for tickets and more information.
Calendar: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Constituents' Day at the State House

When:  Thursday, May 17, 2018, 10:00 A.M. - Noon

Where:   State House, Boston

Hosted by the Statewide Advisory Council

A gathering of Statewide Advisory Council members, community members, legislators, and state agency directors.

Special Award Presentation:

The Diane L. Nettles Outstanding Advocate: 
Dennis Heaphy
Outstanding Service Provider: 
Road to Deaf Interpreting
Outstanding Organization: 
Watertown Public Library
Outstanding Young Advocate:
Austin Henry

For more information and/or to request close vision/tactile interpreters: Ami.Hanigan@MassMail.State.MA.US
Deadline for communication access requests is: 3/19/18

Afternoon Legislative Visits:

Meet with your legislators to discuss community concerns and bills of interest. Schedule your visits in advance: find your legislators' names and contact information on the web at malegislature.gov

To request communication access: contact the ADA Coordinator at the State House by email at carl.richardson@state.ma.us or via phone at 857-400-5502. Requests are due by May 3rd.
Calendar: Architectural Access Board Public Hearing Dates 521 CMR

Below you will find the dates and locations for the public hearings on the proposed changes to 521 CMR. They are also on the AAB website.

The proposed updates are online at

We have been advocating for these changes for a long time. Compliance with these regulations should make more housing accessible and remove barriers for employment for people with disabilities. Please attend a hearing, and let the AAB know that we support these changes.

April 12, 2018 8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
Worcester State University
May Street Auditorium
May Street Building
280 May StreetWorcester, MA
Parking: There is on-street parking located around the May St. Building

April 26, 2018 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Salem State University
Petrowski Room
Marsh Hall #210
71B Loring Ave, Salem
Parking: Follow signs for Enterprise Center parking
Salem State University Campus Map

May 24, 2018 8:30 - 12:30
Cape Cod Community College
Science Lecture Hall C
2240 Iyannough RoadWest Barnstable, MA
Parking: Lots 8 and 9
Cape Cod Community College Campus Map

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request (note that CART and ASL services have been requested from MCDHH). Include a description of the accommodation you will need,
including as much detail as you can. Also include a way we can contact you if we need more information. 

Please allow at least two weeks (14 days) advance notice. Last minute requests will be accepted, but may be impossible to fill. Send an e-mail to Thomas Hopkins at Thomas.hopkins@state.ma.us or contact him by telephone at 617-727-0660.

Our thanks to MetroWest Center for Independent Living for sharing this with us.
In This Issue
DPC Needs your Help!!! 
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Disability Policy Consortium
11 Dartmouth Street
Suite 301
Malden, MA 02148
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