Advocate Spring 2017
House Ways & Means Committee makes landmark budget decisions The Arc of Massachusetts celebrates the release of the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Budget announced by Chairman Brian Dempsey. Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director of The Arc, stated “Chairman Dempsey and the House Ways/ Means Committee members not only recognized the rising number of students requiring public support as adults, but ensured that all
young adults who need DDS funding will receive it – it’s a landmark decision.” The Committee increased Turning 22 by nearly $17 Million to $24.2 Million in the Department of Developmental Services budget. Other related accounts also received increases as part of a new formula to reach the nearly 1,000 students who graduate from high school and require adult services.
Turning 22 services and supports typically include day and continued on page 9
Inside this issue... Article
Government Affairs......................9 Operation House Call................15 The Friendship Corner................16 Education and Training..............18 News from the Chapters............20
Extending the Legacy: The Arc of Massachusetts Celebrates the Becker Family By Katrin Aback
Leo Sarkissian, Cindy Haddad, and Alex Moschella
Achieve with us.
On April 6, a standing-room-only crowd gathered at the Sheraton Framingham to celebrate the enduring legacy of Dan and Angela Becker and their son Michael. Hosted by Alex Moschella, the Beckers’ attorney and trustee of their estate, the program featured many wonderful memories about the Becker family, a keynote address by Elin Howe, Commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services, and
two major announcements. A long-time advisor to the Becker family, Alex has specialized in elder and disability law for more than continued on page 6
217 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453 (781) 891-6270 • www.arcmass.org Leo V. Sarkissian Editor Judy Zacek Associate Editor Beth Rutledge Production Coordinator Carol Daly Layout and Design
The Arc of Massachusetts Board of Directors OFFICERS
Tracy Atkinson President
Deborah Norton Vice President
Peter H. Tallas John Mallin Treasurer Secretary/Clerk Daniel Sullivan Immediate Past President
Subhadeep Basu Susan Lodemore Scott Borchardt Geoffrey Misilo Martin Courage Sean Morrissey Katherine Craven John Nadworny Kristin M. Hilf Joe Andrade, Director Emeritus
Janet Sweeney Rico, Chair Justin Bernard Renald Raphael Jim Buss Frank Sally Seth P. Lopes Mary Valachovic Barbara Pilarcik
The Arc of Massachusetts Staff Leo V. Sarkissian Executive Director
Maura Sullivan Director of Government Affairs Kerry Mahoney Director of Education and Outreach Charlie Fiske Director of Public Policy Katrin Aback Director of Development Elizabeth Pell Director of Policy Advancement Jim Ross Director, Widening the Circle Rich Fagan Finance Director Christopher Jenkins Financial Officer Amelia Cordischi Development & Digital Media Associate
Hundreds attend largest-ever Legislative Reception at the State House On March 27th, a crowd of more than 300 people applauded Senator Jason M. Lewis and Representative James J. O’Day as they were recognized as Legislators of the Year by The Arc of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC). The two veteran legislators were honored for advancing the rights of persons with disabilities. The theme of the day was Embracing Our Rights: It Takes All of Us.
(L-R Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg, Senator Jason M. Lewis, Governor Charlie Baker, Representative James J. O’Day, Secretary Marylou Sudders (EOHHS), and House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano
Chris McKinnon of WBZ-TV emceed the event. He was joined early in the program by Governor Charles Baker and EOHHS Secretary Marylou Sudders. The administration’s proposal on assisting special education graduates who need adult services (Turning 22), has been loudly praised by The Arc as it addresses a decades-long problem. The program continued with a welcome by Emily Korkaris, Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council. She as followed by Council member and self-advocate, Kate Bartlett who spoke about how she “embraced her rights”! The awards ceremony began with Senate President Stanly C. Rosenberg leading the presentation to Senator Lewis, accompanied by Leo V. Sarkissian, Executive Director of The Arc of Massachusetts. House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano led the presentation to Representative O’Day, accompanied by Emily Korkaris. Jason Lewis was elected to the State Senate in 2014, following five years as a State Representative. He has been a leader in shaping public policy on a range of important issues, including healthcare, education, and economic opportunity for all. He successfully co-sponsored An Act providing for nondiscrimination in access to organ transplantation, which became law in 2016. He advocated for funding in the FY17 state budget to improve access to healthcare, health and human services, affordable housing, and other continued on page 3
TheArc ArcofofMassachusetts Massachusetts The
The Arc of Massachusetts holds its 64th Annual Meeting On April 6, The Arc held its 64th Annual Meeting at the Sheraton Framingham Hotel. The evening’s keynote speaker was Marylou Sudders, Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). Leo Sarkissian introduced her as a professional with a renaissance background. Not only has Secretary Sudders led state government in various roles, but she has overseen a human service agency, taught
Roz Rubin (GWArc) and Jean Phelps (LifeLinks) share a moment
at the university level and provided clinical services in various roles during her career. Secretary Sudders spoke on the demonstrated commitment of the Baker administration to providing robust services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities including (L-R) Vice President Deborah Norton, Andrade Award honoree the “surprises” in Ken Singer, and President Tracy Atkinson her role, addressing Family Support and program. She was joined at various this year’s Turning 22 investment— times by Vice President Deborah both reflecting significant firsts for Norton and Member, John Mallin. a governor. She also touched on Despite a torrential rain, representathe potential impact from federal tives of all 18 of The Arc’s chapters changes. The Secretary also comfrom across the Commonwealth mented on the respected role of came together and were joined The Arc of Massachusetts and the by several sponsor members who impact it has on policy. attended the meeting. Executive The association’s Board PresiDirector Leo Sarkissian presented dent, Tracy Atkinson, emceed the continued on page 4
Hundreds attend largest-ever Legislative Reception at the State House continued from p. 2
essential services for individuals with disabilities. He has been a leading supporter of the Operation House Call program and championed reforms to the state’s education financing system to ensure that all children have access to a high quality education. Jim O’Day has been a champion for the most vulnerable residents of the
Achieve with us.
Commonwealth. In August 2016, he was successful in passing legislation for companies contracting with state agencies to commit to hiring persons with disabilities, ensuring that they are afforded equal opportunities in the workplace. He is the sponsor of An Act relative to Cueing and Supervision in the PCA Program. Representative O’Day is the House Chair of the Joint Committee on
Municipalities and Regional Government. He previously served as the House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, Interim chairman of the House Committee on Bills in Third Reading, and on the Joint Committees on Mental Health and Substance Abuse as well as Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.
The Arc of Massachusetts holds its 64th Annual Meeting continued from p. 3
Honoree Jerry Scott
(L-R) The Arc of Opportunity’s Nancy Murray, Andrea Thibadeau, Jennifer LaBaire, and Executive Director Mary Heafy
his report on the past year’s activities and accomplishments, which included a review of the new
Becker Center grants program. President Atkinson shared the high level goals of The Arc’s new
strategic plan, and announced the adoption of a new mission statement: “The mission of The Arc of Massachusetts is to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, includcontinued on page 5
Ken Singer receives the Joseph Andrade Leadership Award Kenneth W. Singer, President and CEO of Berkshire County Arc, has held this position for 37 years, during which he guided the organization from an $8 million budget to a $33 million budget. Now serving 700 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, and brain injury throughout Berkshire and Hampden Counties, the agency has 35 residential programs, 3 day habilitation programs, two family support centers, and one of the largest Adult Family Care Programs in Berkshire County. It is also a leader in offering BI/ABI services, the Advantage Employee Network which supports over 100 individuals employed throughout Berkshire County, and Zip ‘N Sort Mail Services, one of the largest mail houses in Western Massachusetts. Under Ken’s leadership, the Berkshire County Arc has contributed significantly to the advancement of The Arc of Massachusetts mission and work. Ken served on the Wait List Legal Steering Committee, participated in HealthMeet, and helped address financial goals during difficult years. Annually, Berkshire Arc hosts a legislative breakfast, which is attended by several legislators and hosts a fundraising and awareness walk for its Down Syndrome Family Group. Over the past decade, Ken has taken the lead in hosting the annual affiliate retreat four times, which in addition to being productive and cost-effective, provide much needed renewal and planning time. Most recently, Berkshire Arc gave leadership support to The Arc’s Home for the Future Capital Campaign. Actively involved in leadership roles in the disability community not only in Massachusetts but nationally, Ken was appointed to the Massachusetts Brain Injury Commission, was Past-President of the Massachusetts Association for Developmental Disability Providers, and a member of the National Council of Executives of The Arc, among others. He has been honored by the National Conference of Executives of The Arc, the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, the Berkshire United Way, and the Berkshire Eagle. Ken now joins the short list of six previous Joseph Andrade Award winners. As Joe knows Ken personally, he was very happy to hear that Ken is receiving this award.
The Arc of Massachusetts
The Arc of Massachusetts holds its 64th Annual Meeting continued from p. 4
(L-R) Board members Scott Borchardt and John Mallin with Leo Sarkissian
EOHHS Secretary Marylou Sudders
ing autism, and their families. We fulfill this through advocacy for community supports and services that foster social inclusion, self-determination, and equity across all aspects of society.” Please Note: a powerpoint of new strategic plan is on the website under “About Us.” Elin Howe, DDS Commissioner, attended the meeting as well. The evening included an awards presentation. Recipients were: Daryl Cook-Ivan (The Arc of the South Shore); Paul Cote (The Arc of East Middlesex); Gerald Scott (Urban Youth Collaborative); George Fleischner (Nonotuck Resources Associates); and Ken Singer (Berkshire County Arc), who received the Joseph Daryl Cook-Ivan (The Arc of the South Shore) with Honorary Board Member Dick Frye
Andrade Award for Leadership. (See adjacent article about Ken Singer.) The awardees were recognized for the leadership and commitment they have shown in various ways over the past years. The annual meeting also approved a budget for the coming year, and elected officers and members of the organization’s Board of Directors. The Executive Committee elected for the coming year: Tracy Atkinson (President), Deborah Norton (Vice President), Peter Tallas (Treasurer), Scott Borchardt (Secretary/Clerk), and Dan Sullivan (bystanding as Immediate Past President). (L-R) Mary Lou Maloney, Sean Morrissey, and Henry Milorin
Achieve with us.
Extending the Legacy: The Arc of Massachusetts Celebrates the Becker Family continued from p. 1
up to be the next philanthropists to take The Arc to the next level? We need to make sure that there will be volunteers, advocates, and staff, resources, and funding available to keep up the fight until people with disabilities have the same opportunities and rights as those without.”
DDS Commissioner Elin Howe
35 years and currently is Senior Legal Counsel at Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, where he is head of the firm’s Estate Planning, Elder Law and Special Needs Group. He has spent decades as a volunteer in our field and has represented some of our movement’s founding mothers and fathers. After sharing several warm memories of Dan and Angela, Alex issued a challenge to attendees and supporters of The Arc of Massachusetts. “Who will be the next Dan Becker to carry on the legacy of advocacy?” he asked. “Who will step
Alex then asked Cynthia Haddad to speak about the Beckers. Cindy, who is a Lead Wealth Advisor and Co-Founder of Special Needs Financial Planning, a specialty practice of Shepherd Financial Partners in Winchester, helps families like the Beckers in planning the lifelong care for their family member with special needs. Cindy gave attendees a very personal glimpse into the Becker family. “Behind Dan and all his passion for his son Michael, was his cherished wife, Angela. She was the love of his life. He was always so loving and gentle and kind when they were together. This mighty man at the State House was indeed a true gentleman to his bride.”
Cindy also noted that Angela had a strong desire to carry on the Becker family legacy. “She became a generSpecialized Housing, Inc. ous philanthropist Working with families to create innovative with the guidance independent living opportunities since 1983 – and support of her home ownership and supported apartments. trusted attorney, Alex Moschella,” she said. “Giving these gifts during Specialized Housing, Inc. tel (617) 277-1805 her lifetime gave 45 Bartlett Crescent fax (617) 277-0106 her great joy.” Brookline, MA 02446-2220 www.specializedhousing.org
The program featured a keynote speech by Commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services Elin Howe. In introducing her, Executive Director Leo Sarkissian noted that The Arc of Massachusetts and our constituents are very grateful to Commissioner Howe for her leadership and work on a range of initiatives important to us, including National Background checks, Autism Omnibus, Real Lives, the removal of aversive procedures, and the championing of Positive Behavioral Supports. Commissioner Howe spoke about trends in disability services and supports, praising The Arc of Massachusetts and our 18 chapters for our advocacy and the wide array of services offered to people with I/DD.
Two Major Announcements The afternoon wrapped up with two major grant announcements that will have an impact on advocacy and innovation in the years to come. The Becker Trust Funds Three-Year Advocacy Initiative at The Arc of Massachusetts Dan and Angela Becker were devoted leaders and supporters of The Arc of Massachusetts. They were committed to ensuring that The Arc would be able to carry on for many years to come. In order to help us continue this work, the Becker Family Trust awarded The continued on page 7
The Arc of Massachusetts
Extending the Legacy: The Arc of Massachusetts Celebrates the Becker Family continued from p. 6
Arc of Massachusetts a three-year grant that will fund an intensive advocacy and outreach initiative. Elizabeth Pell and Kerry Mahoney are co-directors of the Becker Center which will oversee this work. Our goals are to: • Advance opportunities for persons with disabilities through budget and systems advocacy • Help families learn about and access needed supports, including elder caregivers • Advance inclusion of persons with disabilities in work and social pursuits • Address discrimination, both explicit and unintended
The Becker Trust Grants for Innovation In addition, Alex announced the Becker Trust Grants for Innovation. Over the next three years, a total of $500,000 will be distributed to human service organizations for projects and programs that demonstrate high impact and innovation. Some areas of interest include: self-determination, employment, supported living, and supporting elder caregivers. Grant guidelines and additional information will be posted on The Arc’s website at www.arcmass.org/ Becker by August 15, 2017.
Dan and Angela worked hard to make sure that Mike would have a good life long after they had passed away. When he predeceased them, their legacy became a gift for our entire community. In this spirit, the Becker Trust will advance family advocacy for innovative programs that promote lifelong community supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through both the grant to The Arc of Massachusetts and the innovation grant program, the legacy of the Becker family is being extended well into the future.
About the Becker Family Dan and Angela Becker became involved with The Arc after their son Michael, who had Down syndrome, was born in 1965. As parents, Angela and Dan served as role models and were ahead of the times. They made sure their son Mike was involved in the community: volunteering at a food pantry, participating in the Walk for Hunger, and attending mainstream social events. They believed that no one should be left behind. They also were exceptional volunteers and served on the board of Greater Boston Arc and Family to Family. Dan also served as GBArc President. At The Arc of Massachusetts, Dan was an active leader of the government affairs committee, recruiting a telephone tree of advocates in the Greater Boston region, developing materials and encouraging families to participate. As committed advocates, they worked to ensure that parents’ voices are heard. In 2014 The Arc of Massachusetts dedicated the Center for Advocacy in honor of the Becker family’s decades of advocacy on Daniel, Michael, and Angela Becker behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Strong proponents for both systemic and personal advocacy, Dan often pointed out that the skills learned in legislative advocacy would advance parents’ personal skills as they advocate for their child.
Achieve with us.
Welcome Elizabeth Pell, MSW, LICSW ! Elizabeth Pell, MSW, LICSW has joined The Arc of Massachusetts team as our Director of Policy Implementation and the Co-Director of the Becker Center for Advocacy. Elizabeth has been an advocate for people with disabilities and older adults for over 35 years. She is a social worker with policy and hands-on practice experience that crosses service systems — intellectual and developmental disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, older adults, and end of life. Her passion is advocating for the voice and preferences of individuals and families to be heard and respected. Prior to joining The Arc of Massachusetts, Elizabeth was a Policy Associate with the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI), where she consulted with states on improving home and community-based services. She assisted states to improve person-centered services, strengthen incident management, use quality councils to drive change, and advance compliance with revised Federal
This is why you plan. We share a common bond — we are parents and siblings of people with special needs. For over 20 years we have been helping families like our own to plan for their future and provide for the lifelong needs of their family member with a disability. We talk about the money but we know that money is not everything. It’s about planning for a full life. Cynthia Haddad, CFP® John Nadworny, CFP® Alexandria Nadworny, CFP®
A specialty practice to Shepherd Financial Partners
1004 Main Street | Winchester, MA | 781-756-1804 Financial planning and investment advice offered through Shepherd Financial Partners, LLC, a registered investment advisor. Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Special Needs Financial Planning, Shepherd Financial Partners, and LPL Financial are separate entities
Elizabeth Pell and Kerry Mahoney
requirements for person-centered service planning and fully integrated service settings. At HSRI, Elizabeth conducted program evaluations, and recently evaluated a supported decision-making pilot (an alternative to guardianship) in Massachusetts. Elizabeth feels fortunate to have had such a varied career, from direct care to legal advocate to state policy and best practice consultant. She began her career as a direct care worker in nursing homes, helped a rural community establish a health care facility, provided social services to adults living in state institutions, and legal advocacy with the federal Protection and Advocacy system in Alabama. Elizabeth was on the Alabama Federal Court Monitor staff where she assessed compliance with court orders in Wyatt v Stickney. While with the Center for Public Representation in Massachusetts, Elizabeth represented people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to move from an institution to community homes and lives. She gained knowledge of the elder long-term and home care systems as Director of an Elder Abuse and Protection department in a Massachusetts Area Agency on Aging, and as Director of Social Services with a hospice agency in Oregon. Elizabeth holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work, a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Care Management, and is a Licensed Independent Social Worker.
The Arc of Massachusetts
Government Affairs House Ways & Means Committee makes landmark budget decisions continued from p. 1
employment supports, residential, transportation, and other individualized services. Supporting young adults as they turn 22 also assists their families. 70% of these graduating students live at home. The last time this formula was adjusted was in the 1990s. The chart below shows the rise in need which includes a high number of students with autism adding to the numbers with developmental disabilities. FY98 FY99 FY03 FY05 FY07 FY09 FY11 FY13 FY15 FY16 FY17 FY18 450
Representative Brian Dempsey
The House also placed language to prevent a cut to AFC (adult family/foster care), which is a MassHealth program that is very cost effective and was the subject of a 9C cut. We hope to work on a long-term strategy with MassHealth for that program because it’s a vital piece of the safety net.
This budget acknowledges the rise the adult I/DD population, including those with autism who do not have an intellectual disability. The House budget’s line item appropriations will help serve those individuals who are newly eligible through DDS and many who have been waiting for supports.
The House Ways and Means Committee In addition to Chairman Brian Dempsey and Representatives Stephen Kulik, Elizabeth Malia, and Todd Smola, The Arc of Massachusetts is grateful to the others members of the House Ways and Means Committee James Arciero Brian Ashe Donald Berthiaume, Jr. Nicholas Boldyga Kate Campanale Evandro Carvalho Gerard Cassidy Daniel Cullinane Josh Cutler Angelo D’Emilia Shawn Dooley Tricia Farley-Bouvier Carole Fiola Sean Garballey Carmine Gentila
Achieve with us.
Carlos Gonzalez Russell Holmes Daniel Hunt Mary Keefe Robert Koczera Adrian Madaro Joseph McGonagle, Jr. James Miceli Rady Mom David Rogers Alan Silvia Thomas Stanley Paul Tucker RoseLee Vincent
FOR HUMAN SERVICES
A Day & Residential Special Needs School
Children, like flower gardens, reflect the kind of care they receive.
Year-round services that transform lives and realize the potential of students, ages 6-22, with intellectual disabilities, autism and other special needs. Contact us for more information and a tour. 521 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742 781.893.6000 www.GuildHumanServices.org admissions@GuildHumanServices.org
Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, DC
A hallway is just as good as an office for a meeting between members of the Massachusetts delegation and Representative Seth Moulton
Approximately 900 advocates from across the United States traveled to Washington, DC to join with public policy experts at the annual Disability Policy Seminar, held from March 20-22. The event provides an opportunity to learn first-hand about the latest in federal public policy relating to people with I/DD, and then to fan out across Capitol Hill to meet with their congressional representatives. The first two days were jam-packed with informative briefings from leaders in the disability field, including staff members for key members of Congress, and advocates engaged in various issues. It’s a great opportunity to learn, discuss, network, and advocate for change.
of Massachusetts AND Rhode Island Preserve assets, protect benefits, live well.
For over twenty years, providing peace of mind to the elderly and to individuals with disabilities, and their families, through special needs trust management and social services. PLAN, a nonprofit organization, operates two kinds of Special Needs Pooled Trusts that help individuals preserve their financial assets, protect their ability to obtain public benefits, and access personalized guidance and assistance with the use of their funds. 1340 Centre St., Suite 102 Newton Centre, MA 02459 617-244-5552 28 Spring St. Pawtucket, RI 02860 401-330-7456 www.planofma-ri.org
Representative William Keating meets with members of the Massachusetts delegation
Sessions dealt with a range of topics, including ”Protecting Civil Rights,” “State Level Coalition Building,” ”The Road Ahead for Medicaid and SSI,” and “Recent Changes in Employment and Community Living.” Massachusetts was among the states with the largest group of participants, most of whom traveled to Capitol Hill on March 22 to meet with the Commonwealth’s two senators and nine representative and/or senior legislative aides. Join us next year (April 23-25, 2018) in Washington, DC for this important annual event hosted by The Arc of the United States, United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), and Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE).
The Arc of Massachusetts
You can keep advocacy strong and effective Advocacy – both personal and systemic – leads to positive results for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The Arc of Massachusetts does both and so can you.
The Arc of Massachusetts also advocates relentlessly, seeking to enhance the lives of the 200,000 people in the state who have autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or other I/DD.
A mother of an 11-year old son with multiple diagnoses told us recently that even though her son is young, they are focused on what happens when he turns 22. “We relentlessly advocate for him and take care of his medical needs,” she said. “At times it feels like a full time job. The Arc and other supporting organizations give me hope, confidence, and a feeling of belonging. We are not the only ones taking this challenging journey; there is help along the way.”
Since our founding more than 62 years ago, we have taken this battle to the State House, to Capitol Hill, and beyond; this past year has been no different. The Arc continued to strengthen our relationship with administration officials and legislators and built relationships with 20 new State Representatives and Senators. We kept issues important to the disability community at the forefront and hosted meetings with administration leaders to meet families with disabilities and human service agencies.
Economised Time Services, Inc. Supporting the Human Service industry for over 30 years with specialized software solutions: · Custom Payroll, HR and Billing solutions · Billing for MassHealth, CCA, Tufts, Fallon, Network Health & UHC · Dayhab, AFC, ADH and GAFC Billing · Web-based Consumer Payroll and Attendance Tracking · Service Bureau for billing & payroll needs · Consumer Payroll: features web-based entry, advanced activity tracking & contract utilization reports • Updated Human Resources Software integrates seamlessly with Staff Payroll Software and tracks license expirations, finger printing, training history, incident tracking, and benefits election www.etime.net Follow us on Twitter: @ets201
Achieve with us.
This approach pays off. For example, in January, Governor Charlie Baker released his proposed budget for 2018. It reflects a landmark policy change: Turning 22 finally would be fully funded with the $24 million it needs. Since 2010, the number of students turning 22 has
increased by 53% to nearly 1,000 per year; the funding formula, however, has not been updated since the early 2000s! We are advocating strongly for this budget and encouraging legislators to embrace it. This would not have happened without The Arc’s continued pressure and the support of thousands of concerned Massachusetts residents like you. During Fiscal Year 2016, we played a key role in stopping harmful funding reductions in MassHealth and in the Personal Care Assistant and Adult Family Care programs. Through advocacy, the Department of Developmental Services’ budget gained $38 million in community Purchase of Service funding and nearly $46 million overall. We also secured the single largest increase in Family Support from a sitting governor in two decades through our leadership in the Supporting Families Campaign. In addition, we partnered with The Arc of the United States – and will continue to do so – to prevent draconian changes to Medicaid and Social Security. Systemic advocacy. It is making a difference, but it does not happen without people like you making it possible. You can keep this advocacy strong by giving to The Arc of Massachusetts today. Empowering people with I/DD and their families to be personal advocates is equally important, and The Arc of Massachusetts offers several continued on page 12
You can keep advocacy strong and effective continued from p. 11
programs to help families and self-advocates be more effective in their own advocacy. The Arc hosts more than 20 lowcost webinars each year. They feature expert presenters, who address urgent, real-life topics with which families with disabilities struggle. Participants can develop the tools they need to find the best services for their loved one. Our SUPPORTbrokers program helps people with disabilities achieve their vision by assisting them with planning for the future, education, and advocacy. Families often find that they need a bit
more support in obtaining government services or developing a plan; SUPPORTbrokers can bridge the gap. Plus, the biennial Transition Conference – which will be held on November 4, 2017 – makes sure that self-advocates, families, and educators are prepared for Turning 22 and the move to adult services. These services and programs help thousands of families across Massachusetts not just manage or get by, but to thrive. Hopefully, your own family or loved one is among them. You can take two steps right now
ing our upcom inars t i s Vi e for Sem sit eds e w b ial Ne c Spe
to make a lasting difference. First, give a gift to The Arc of Massachusetts to make our work possible. Then, join our email list to keep informed about ways that you can advocate, both personally and systemically. Visit www.arcmass.org to give and to sign up to receive our emails. Only with your commitment and generosity will people with intellectual and developmental disabilities get the services and supports that they need and deserve. Your dedication makes all the difference. Please consider making a gift today.
We’re Here to Help Our commitment lasts a lifetime. Whether your loved one with special needs is an adult or a child, we can help with: • Special Needs Planning • Transition Planning & Adult Services • Guardianship & Alternatives • Advocacy
Frederick M. Misilo, Jr. 508.459.8059 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Attorneys at law WORCESTER | FRAMINGHAM | CAPE COD Art by Dominic Killiany, an artist living with autism
508.459.8000 | www.fletchertilton.com
The Arc of Massachusetts
The Arc of Massachusetts: Home for the Future By Katrin Aback
On March 23, after years of planning and fundraising, The Arc of Massachusetts moved into our new headquarters! Everyone at The Arc of Massachusetts would like to extend a huge Thank You to all who have made this possible by donating to the Home for the Future Capital Campaign! There is still a little bit of work to be done as staff and volunteers unpack and settle in: the final pieces of furniture will be delivered, the landscapers will beautify the outside as soon as weather allows, and the parking lot will be paved and striped.
Meeting the Challenge We also need to raise a few more dollars to reach our fundraising goal of $1.6 million in order to close out the campaign. As was previously reported, three longtime supporters of The Arc of Massachusetts issued a fundraising challenge: if we can raise at least $200,000 in new gifts and commitments for the Home for the
Future Capital Campaign between, January 1 and June 30, 2017, we will receive an additional gift of $100,000! The deadline is quickly approaching and we need you to help us meet the challenge! Please give to the Home for the Future Campaign today! In making a gift, you can boost your gift by 50%! Please visit www.arcmass.org/campaign to learn more and to donate. While this is a new chapter in our history, it will not change our core mission. The new building will allow The Arc to remain at the forefront of the struggle to build better lives for those with disabilities. It will allow us to better serve our mission by increasing our capacity.
“All of the staff – myself included – are very excited to be back at 217 South Street,” said Executive Director Leo Sarkissian. “The best part will be having the ability to host meetings and trainings once again, welcoming friends, supporters, and volunteers, and living our mission of accessibility, inclusion, and collaboration.” We look forward to sharing the building with you. This would not have been possible without many committed donors and volunteers!
Yes! I want to help The Arc of Massachusetts meet the Challenge! Please print Name _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Address _________________________________________City, State, Zip ________________________________________ Email ___________________________________________Phone ________________________________________________ Amount of gift__________________________________________________________________________________________ Please mail your check to: The Arc of Massachusetts, 217 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453. You may also pay online (www.thearc.org; click on Donate) ______ I would like someone from The Arc to contact me about making a gift.
Achieve with us.
The Arc joins with the Massachusetts Partnership for Transition to Employment in a new 5-year project The Arc of Massachusetts has joined the efforts of the Massachusetts Partnership for Transition to Employment (MPTE) in a five-year project to improve labor market participation for youth and young adults served by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS). The project is funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. The Department of Developmental Services and its MPTE partners will implement evidence-based predictors of post-school success for youth and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). The project’s steering
Riverbrook, family trusted for over 50 years, providing high quality residential and innovative day services to exceptional women aged
committee will be comprised of DDS, the MA Rehabilitation Commission, the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the MA Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, the Institute for Community Inclusion, Mass Advocates Standing Strong, The Arc of MA, and the MA Developmental Disabilities Council. The MPTE also will engage a stakeholder consortium including self advocates and family members. The MPTE will address four key predictors of post-school employment: • Collaborative policies and practices • Accessing work experiences that reflect those typical of youth and young adults without disabilities • Supporting parental involvement and expectations for competitive integrated employment • Building selfdetermination and independent living skills
22 and up.
The project will develop guidance, policy recommendations, tools for collaboration, quality indicators and guidelines for practice, and tools and resources to address the predictors. Anticipated outcomes include increases in the following: • The number of individuals with ID/DD who leave school and enter competitive integrated employment. • The number of youth and young adults with ID/DD using the public vocational rehabilitation and workforce development systems. • The ability of youth and young adults with ID/DD and their families to easily access quality employment services and supports. • Advocacy and support for competitive integrated employment by youth and young adults with I/DD We look forward to an exciting five years!
Space for Sale!
not just a home… a life. community opportunity respect / safety
To ensure a sustainable impact, the MTPE will focus on existing service systems.
It makes sense to concentrate your advertising where it does the most good – where your potential clients are!
where exceptional women thrive Stockbridge, MA / 413 298 4926 / riverbrook.org
Your ad in Advocate reaches more than 8,000 people who have a strong interest in your services. For ad rates and deadlines, call us at 781-891-6270.
The Arc of Massachusetts
Operation House Call
Operation House Call: Wrapping up a busy year! Operation House Call’s 2016-2017 academic year came to a close in late April and we are busy prepping for a new and expanded year ahead. This year OHC accomplished our training program in five higher learning institutions. Boston University School of Medicine has been steadily increasing its census – including students doing their pediatrics rotation in Berkshire County and Santa Clara, CA. Also in Berkshire County, OHC began a pilot program with Berkshire Health Center and New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. This new growth allowed OHC to bring on a range of families from Western Massachusetts as “host families.” At Tufts we accomplished growth through increasing our time frame with students in the lecture component of the class. More time for didactic learning better prepares our students for the connections they will make with our co-teachers who have intellectual or developmental disabilities or autism. Through the six learning objectives taught during class, students begin to understand the importance of person-first language, assessment and modeling. They learn about best practices in delivery of difficult news, setting a trajectory of respect, responsiveness and support. Students spend time uncovering bias and considering the effects bias has on assessment and treatment of a patient with disabilities. Through personal stories they discover how to avoid diagnostic overshadowing and look
Achieve with us.
beyond behaviors and stereotypes to deliver the best care possible. OHC also provides students with an overview of community supports, including the state and educational system supports. Each OHC instructor designs part of the class by teaching through personal stories to bring students closer to the issues. Lastly, students learn about the problems of access and disparity in healthcare for people with I/ DD and autism. A BUSM third- year medical student had this comment at the end of our last class, “I know patients with autism or other disabilities take more time – but isn’t this the reason we went into medical school to begin with – to help those people who really need us?” He went on to say, “For all the patients that just want their script refilled and to go…I can invest in my patients with autism or I/DD because I know I can make a difference in their health and wellbeing by thinking outside the box, partnering with parents and thinking beyond an individual’s behaviors.” OHC at Simmons College of Health Science exploded in growth, quadrupling our past years’ numbers and recruiting over 40 new families to supplement our network. The 120 Simmons students, included Nursing, Physical Therapy, and Nutrition programs; all came together for a lecture with a panel of co-teachers including a physician, a nurse, a father, and a self-advocate. All students are finishing up home
visits, which were done interprofessionally and each is writing a selfreflection essay on their learning experience through OHC. Other growth includes increased student census at Yale School of Nursing and University of Massachusetts Medical School. At UMMS, OHC is involved in a grant program to immerse graduate-level nursing students in the needs of transitionage youth with autism. There is more to come on the outcomes of this innovative program. On the legislative front, OHC had a rollercoaster ride with the state budget but we are poised to continue with our connection with the Department of Public Health through a budget line item specifically for OHC as well as two powerful pieces of legislation that support OHC programs across the state. A successful year behind us and another busy year ahead! For more information on Operation House Call, contact Maura Sullivan, Program Director, at Sullivan@arcmaass.org. If you are a family near Boston or residing in the Metro West area and you are interested in participating in OHC as a volunteer host family, please contact Kim Walsh, Program Coordinator at email@example.com
The Friendship Corner
Pathways to Friendship: A 2-Year Leaders Initiative Elin Howe, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services, reinforced her commitment to connecting the people served by DDS to their communities in deep and meaningful ways by extending The Arc of Massachusett’s Widening the Circle project for 2 years, through June 30, 2019. One of the terms agreed to in this extension is an initiative to closely support a number of residential service providers to increase their attention to community connections, valued roles, relationships and friendships between people with and without disabilities. This initiative—titled Pathways to Friendship--will track the progress of a select group of people served by each organization over the 2-year period. Staff at Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research (CDDER, housed at UMass Medical School (http:// shriver.umassmed.edu/programs/ cdder) will design the evaluation tools to be used throughout this initiative and will conduct an analysis of the data. Thirteen organizations from around the state agreed to participate and have signed a Memorandum of Agreement . We congratulate these 13 participating organizations: The Arc of Bristol County; Justice Resource Institute; The Arc of Greater Plymouth; Community Systems, Inc.; Bay Cove Human Services; Brockton Area Multi-Services, Inc.;
Nonotuck Resource Associates; The United Arc; Alternatives, Inc.; Riverside Community Care; Minute Man Arc; Seven Hills Foundation; Vinfen. (Many of these organizations also participate in a closely aligned project called Creating Our Common Wealth. To find out more about CCW go to http://creatingourcommonwealth.org/.) A kick-off event was held on March 31,2016, facilitated by Angela Novak Amado. Angela works to support communities to be fully inclusive of all people. She has conducted training about friendships between people with developmental disabilities and ordinary community members in more than 30 states, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia,and Israel. She also conducts training in person-centered planning and person-centered agency and system design. For this event Angela delivered a 2-part presentation titled “A Broader View of Efforts to Connect People in Deep & Meaningful Ways.” The first part set the stage for the importance of this work. The second part engaged the participants in a practical discussion of how each organization could implement the kinds of changes necessary to make these connections. For more information
about Angela and to access some of her work, go to https://ici.umn. edu/index.php?staff/ view/y48gpq52b. One of the anticipated products to be developed in the first year of this initiative is a “Making Friends Wherever You Live Toolkit.” Based in part on the experiences of our participating organizations, this toolkit will provide practical strategies for supporting friendships between people with and without disabilities. In addition to strategies that can be applied in any living situation, the toolkit will also provide strategies that may be specific to 24-hour group homes, less-than-24-hour individual supports, shared living, and for individuals still living in their family’s home. This toolkit will add to our series related to our belief that friendships between people with and without disabilities can be found wherever people live, learn, work and play. Current Toolkits can be found at http://thearcofmass. org/toolkit/. We plan on regularly providing updates on this initiative on the Widening the Circle website at http://thearcofmass.org/programs/ widening-the-circle/.
The Arc of Massachusetts
The Friendship Corner
Transition tips for middle school students Is your new teen old enough to begin the transition process? YES! What can parents do to help?
potential jobs, volunteer opportunities, and a range of community activities. Relationships also help us grow and learn about ourselves and the world around us.
• Encourage independence! - Assign responsibility for certain chores to help instill a positive work ethic. - Have your child set their alarm and wake up on their own.
- Promote appropriate behavior at home and in social situations. • Develop their self-advocacy and self-determination skills! - Provide opportunities to make choices and decisions, to explore and take risks, and to learn from experiences of success and failure.
- Teach money management skills, along with shopping experiences and banking skills. - Assist in good grooming skills and emphasize the importance of physical fitness.
- Together with your child, create a vision of their life after leaving school or at age 22 (personcentered planning).
• Begin talking about the world of work! - Provide opportunities to see people at work in different settings.
- Help your child to understand his/her disability; when to ask and who to ask for assistance.
- Talk about the value of work and teach behaviors that develop employment potential. - Think about volunteer job opportunities in the community, paper routes, or other ways to develop job skills. • Give relationships and friendships priority! - Include friendships with peers without disabilities. The relationships can help build bridges to
• Develop a partnership with the school system and become
Stay Informed. Stay In Touch. Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thearcofmass/ Follow us on Twitter at @TheArcofMass
Achieve with us.
an active participant in the development of your child’s IEP! - Attend parent workshops on Transition to become informed about the process of Transition Planning and Massachusetts Laws. - Participate in the development of the Transition Planning Form and make sure the VISION/postsecondary goals are reflected in the IEP. - Encourage your school system to conduct appropriate informal and formal transition assessments.
Have You Considered the Benefits of Berkshire County Arc's Pooled Trusts?
• Master Special Needs Pooled Trust • Family Special Needs Third Party Pooled Trust
It may be a future
planning solution for the
individuals we serve. Protect your family member's assets, while preserving public benefits.
We offer the best fees in Massachusetts. For more information on the BCArc Pooled Trusts, call 413-499-4241, ext. 227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
AsSET MANAGEME T/TRUST GROUr" America's Most Exciting Bank
Education and Training
Upcoming Webinars Thursday, June 8, 2017 • 7:00-8:00 PM
Presented by: Pat Pakos, MS and Kerry Mahoney, The Arc of Massachusetts
There is no fee to attend this webinar, thanks to a grant from The Department of Developmental Services; Massachusetts Pat Pakos is in a unique position to assist families with Transition Partnership for Employment transition services in that she is a parent of an adult daughter with disabilities and is a professional in the Do you want your student to work but are concerned about field of developmental disabilities. She is well-known as a losing benefits? Be sure to attend…… presenter of workshops which help individuals and families plan significant transitions from school to adult services Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Benefits for Students in Transition from and from home to community living. Pat has worked as a consultant to school systems and has been employed by School to Adult Life the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as This presentation will provide you with information about: an Inclusion Facilitator. She was a facilitator on a supported • Basic Information about Supplemental Security Income work pilot project on the North Shore sponsored by the (SSI) Department of Developmental Disabilities and Massachusetts • The impact work may have on benefits Rehabilitation Commission. She recently completed a • Social Security Administration (SSA) Work Incentives three-year transition grant working with three school • Student Benefits Counseling systems and ten families. Presently, Pat works for The Arc of Massachusetts as a Support Broker focusing on Transition, Presented by: Person-Centered Planning and the needs of the disability Kathleen Kelly MPA,CWIC community. Pat earned her M.S. degree in Severe Special Student Benefits Counselor/ North Region Needs from Simmons College with a focus on Inclusion Kathy has significant experience developing programs that and her B.A. in English Literature from the University of become models for success. Kathy currently works for the Maryland. Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission as a Student Working with local chapters of The Arc for over 30 years, Benefits Counselor and is available as an Independent Kerry Mahoney has developed and managed a variety of Transition Consultant providing consultation for families, supports, services and resources for people with intellectual schools and agencies. She previously served as Director and developmental disabilities and their families. She is of Transition Services for the Northeast Arc. Her passion is helping individuals to reach their full potential. Education: BS currently the Director of SUPPORTbrokers/PALS and Director Salem State College; Certificate in Non-profit Human Service of Outreach/Education. A graduate of Emmanuel College, she received her degree in Psychology/Rehabilitation Management with Advanced Studies in Administration and Counseling. Since college Kerry has directed residential Finance from Suffolk University Moakley Center for Public Management; Master’s in Public Administration from Suffolk programs for adults with intellectual disabilities, worked in a special needs classroom, has overseen family support University School of Business resource centers and expanded Personal Care Assistance, Adult Family Care programs and developed individualized transition plans for students leaving public schools and Tuesday, August 29 • 10:00-11:30 AM entering adult services. From these experiences, Kerry has Person Centered Transition Planning Webinar developed a broad knowledge base of the state, federal and private resources that support people with intellectual and for Educators and School Administrators developmental disabilities, including autism. Kerry became a This webinar will focus on the use of Person Centered support broker in December 2008 and has received training Planning in creating seamless transitions to adult services in person-centered planning and approaches from The for students ages 14-22. Participants will look back at the Institute for Community Inclusion, Michael Smull, University historical perspectives of student planning, learn why a of Maryland and University of New Hampshire Institute on person centered approach makes sense and view methods Disability. of person centered planning. This workshop will provide examples of student outcomes and highlight best practices. Cost: $60. Financial assistance is available. Contact Kerry at Mahoney@arcmass.org
The Arc of Massachusetts
Education and Training
Transition Conference 2017 Plans are underway for the Statewide Transition Conference for Families, to be held on Saturday, November 4, 2017 at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester. This all-day conference for families will introduce state-of-the-art best practices around Transition, covering topics focused upon creating seamless, successful transitions into the adult world. Workshops will cover education in the school system, employment, post-secondary education, community involvement, self-determination, independent living skills, financial and legal considerations, eligibility for services, and many others.
Experts from the fields of health care, autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and mental health will provide you with tools to determine successful pathways to adulthood. Learn from parents and students how to achieve a good life after leaving school. The Keynote Speaker, Michael L. Wehmeyer, Ph.D., will focus on SelfDetermination and the Transition to Adulthood in the 21st Century Check The Arc’s website (http:// thearcofmass.org/events/) for more information. Registration will open in August!
Michael L. Wehmeyer, Ph.D. is the Ross and Marianna Beach Distinguished Professor in Special Education and Director of the Beach Center on Disability at the University of Kansas. Dr. Wehmeyer has written and presented extensively about issues pertaining to self-determination and the application of positive psychology to the disability context.
Enriching the mind and body through education, fitness and the arts.
Your Health is our Mission Staffed by specialists expertly trained to support the I/DD community, the Sollar Wellness Center (SWC) is the perfect place to explore a new interest, meet new friends or just have some fun! With a swimming pool and Jacuzzi for therapy-based or aqua fitness classes, an exercise equipment room, walking track, fitness studio, art room with a pottery kiln, and a massage therapy room, the SWC is the ideal destination for individuals with a variety of interests and abilities. Follow us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on all our current offerings. Contact Ginger Comeau at email@example.com with any questions.
The Sollar Wellness Center at New England Village, 664 School Street, Pembroke, MA 02359
(781)293-5461 • www.newenglandvillage.org
Achieve with us.
News from the chapters of The Arc
A weekly gig to sing about By Robin Ellington, CLASS / The Arc of Greater Lawrence
their musical chops at Amplifi, Real School of Music. Starting out with vocal warmups, they move on to some musical memory Rui, second from right, is an all-out performer in front of his audience at games and Real School of Music’s Amplifi program, an adventure he shares with new then run friends in his CLASS Day Hab program. through the Six individuals from CLASS in lineup for their pageant planned Lawrence and six from Wilminglater in the year. ton board their vans for the quick Everyone has a part to play. No one trip to Andover, where they’ll test is left out. Everyone is engaged.
Providing services since 1954…
Adult Day Habilitation Services Family Support Program Family Autism Center ALEC First Responder Training Adult Social/Recreational Programs Harbor Counseling Center Adult Family Care Residential Programs Employment and Training Programs www.arcsouthnorfolk.org www.lifeworksma.org
Amplifi delivers adaptive music and musical theater designed specifically for those with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Individuals from CLASS collaborate on their songs, then stage and deliver live performances for their friends, family, and special guests. “Partners like Amplifi create one-of-a-kind experiences for CLASS individuals,” says Barbara Halliday, director of the Day Hab program. “We’re proud of the community part-
nerships we’ve developed to work with our individuals; they deepen life experiences and make available to them activities of true inclusion.” “It’s great to see everyone working together with dynamic teachers who craft musical experiences to bring out individual expression and energy,” she adds. Everybody at CLASS – from the direct care staff to case coordination to program leaders – works together to create a support plan unique to each individual, built on their choices. With an eye on safety, relationship building and independence, the staff takes them on the trips individuals have chosen. New community experiences include music and art, continuing education, and fitness and movement – trips that build awareness, reinforce social skills and lead to pure fun and enjoyment. “I have lots of friends now and we have a lot of fun learning new things,” says Rui, who’s been coming to CLASS for more than a year. “I don’t miss a day because I want to go to CLASS every day.” “I’m so happy for my son and what CLASS programs make possible for him,” says Cidalia Medeiros, his mom. “Seeing him smile when he comes home from his program makes me confident CLASS is doing all the right things.” “CLASS, for us, has been life changing,” she says.
The Arc of Massachusetts
News from the chapters of The Arc
The Arc of the South Shore’s Autism Resource Center The past 6 months have been busy and exciting for The Autism Resource Center of The Arc of the South Shore! We have collaborated with community partners to reach as many families as possible, including The Emilson and Quincy YMCA’s, Laura’s Center for the Arts, Sing Explore Create!, Little Bee Yoga, Scituate CORSE Foundation, Sidekicks Inc., South Shore Autism Center, Quincy College, Pratt Memorial Library, Tinker’s Son and more. We successfully launched our school vacation week therapy program in December and received rave reviews from our families. This February our program proudly provided services to over 60 individuals. We are thrilled to expand this popular program in April, offering half-day therapy sessions supervised by a BCBA and staffed with a behaviorist, special education professionals, and skilled therapists. Our April Vacation week programming as well as our summer camps will be held at Sing, Explore, Create in Rockland. We also began a three-part series called Autism: The Journey. The first presentation dealt with Autism the Diagnosis: Now what? Our second part will be on May 23rd and will focus on Education and the IEP process. The final piece will be on June 20th and will focus on Social/Leisure Opportunities for Parents. Each workshop is held at the Thayer Public Library,
Achieve with us.
798 Washington Street, Braintree. We are also planning several new therapeutic programs, including Adaptive Dance and Social Skills development through Music therapy. Once the regular school year has ended, we will begin offering Summer Camps Our younger students enjoying music therapy! during the weeks when Summer School is not in website at www.arcsouthshore.org session. We are still in the or call us at 781-335-3023. process of carefully building and planning the launch of our Saturday Skill Builders weekend respite program. All of our programs are held on the South Shore at partnerThe mission of the SUPPORTbrokers ing agencies program is to assist individuals with and cater to disabilities and the elderly to different age achieve community groups. The membership based upon staff to partheir personal vision ticipant ratio is currently offered at a 1:2 level. If you are interested in 217 South Street learning more Waltham, MA 02453 about the CenPhone: 781.891.6270 EXT109 ter please visit E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org The Arc of the www.supportbrokers.org South Shore’s
MAKE YOUR PLAN BECOME A REALITY
News from the chapters of The Arc
Best Day Ever By Sarah Paton, Assistant Program Director, Charles River Center
friends, and over time became family. Because we had developed this close connection, it was an easy decision to invite them to my wedding the following year.
Sarah (left) with her North Main family.
Like any bride, on the happiest day of my life I wanted to be surrounded by my family and closest friends. As I walked down the aisle on August 23rd, 2015, I saw Stephen, Zack, Tyler, Rachael, and Shoshana beaming at me among the myriad of smiling faces. At the reception, they joined me on the dance floor, and Shoshana and Rachael even tried to catch the bouquet! Their diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorders did not set them apart from my other guests. These five wonderful people who receive services from Charles River Center are some of the most important people in my life, so of course I wanted them there to celebrate with me. Ten years ago, I decided to follow in my mother’s footsteps and make disability services my lifelong
career. I always firmly stood by my choice, but I felt like I was searching for something elusive while working for other agencies. When I moved to Massachusetts in early 2012, I discovered the Charles River Center and knew I had finally found what I was looking for. I assisted in the development of the Adult Community Experiences and Services (ACES) Program, which teaches life skills to people with Autism Spectrum Disorders through daily volunteering and community involvement. This was a life-changing experience that introduced me to some wonderful people, including the five young adults who live at the North Main Street home in Sharon. In the summer of 2014, I transferred my full-time employment to this residential program, where these delightful people became my
For many of them, it was the first wedding they had ever attended, and I imagined that it would remain a fond memory for them. What I did not expect, however, was the impact that this experience would have on their lives. My first day back after my honeymoon, I was greeted with a big hug from Rachael and a high-pitched “Sarah got married!” To this day, every time Shoshana sees a bride in a movie or hears me say my husband’s name, she shouts “Just like Sarah’s wedding!” It is a great feeling to know that this event, while to some guests may have been “just another wedding,” was an important occasion for these friends of mine – one that would permanently enrich their lives. For myself and many other employees at the Charles River Center, this is more than just a job – it is a calling. We are inspired to open our hearts and create homes filled with friendship, laughter, and love. We commit years, or even our entire careers, to fostering relationships that are built on respect, support, and reciprocity. And when we celebrate monumental occasions in our lives, having our friends present can truly make it the best day ever.
The Arc of Massachusetts
News from the chapters of The Arc
New Autism Center at The Arc of Greater Plymouth On April 3rd a proud and excited group of young people cut the ribbon at the entrance of The Arc of Greater Plymouth’s Autism Services beautiful new space at Archways Enterprises at 10 Cordage Park Circle in Plymouth. Program Director Sue O’Shea, Program Coordinator Katie Riordan and six eager young people on the autism spectrum were finally moved into their bright, multi-purposed and carefully designed space. Computer work stations and desks with privacy carrels, floors with texture options, classrooms, a space supplied with floor pillows and exercise bikes as well as quiet meeting rooms all in soothing color schemes provide the “home base” for the program. Director Sue O’Shea, a Licensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst, BCBA, describes the space as a nontraditional approach to providing in-house and community-based activities that focus on developing executive functioning skills. “This is not an extension of school,” she says, “but rather a focused effort to increase functional life skills, develop relationships, and become active members of the community.” It is the goal of The Arc of Greater Plymouth’s Autism Services to promote independence and quality of life, using a careful blend of Applied Behavior Analysis and Positive Behavior Support Strategies. A variety of
Achieve with us.
Katie Riordan, Program Coordinator, cuts the ribbon
approaches that include small group, peer or 1:1 instruction, assistive technology, and behavioral strategies including previewing, story boarding, behavioral momentum, reinforcement and more based on the specific needs of each young adult are all geared toward strengthening executive functioning skills. Program Coordinator Katie Riordan is highly qualified to carry out these ambitious goals, having joined the autism community right out of college at the Northeast Arc. She spent six years as an Intensive Early Intervention Specialist in Boston, working with young children in homes, daycare centers and schools. For the past five years
at the League School in Boston, Katie worked with the transition program services for 17-22 year olds, focusing on transitioning to adulthood. The six young adults, along with their coordinator Katie and direct care staff Mike Morris , will be choosing a name for their new program soon. The Arc of Greater Plymouth celebrates this new and challenging adventure and has high hopes for the enhanced quality of life and independence of all involved. Referrals are being accepted and can be made by contacting Director Sue O’Shea at sueo@ thearcofgp.com or by calling 508-732-9292, ext. 148.
Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Permit #121 Pittsfield, MA
217 South Street Waltham, MA 02453 (781) 891-6270 www.arcmass.org
Achieve with us. The Arc of South Norfolk Family Autism Center recognized at the State House Coordinator of The Arc of South Norfolk Family Autism Center, at a State House celebration. The Newton/South Norfolk Area DDS Office nominated Brian and Thomas. In their nomination, DDS stated, â€œBrian and Tom have built a social network Brian Clark and Thomas Lavin accepting their recognition award for adults on the from DDS Commissioner Elin Howe. spectrum, making On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, participation in the community a The Massachusetts Department more comfortable and successful of Developmental Services (DDS) experience.â€œ Currently, The Arc of Statewide Advisory Council South Norfolk Family Autism Center recognized Brian Clark, Director, (FAC) serves over 800 people and Thomas Lavin, Adult Support diagnosed with Autism. FAC offers
List of Advertisers The Arc of South Norfolk Berkshire County Arc Economised Time Services, Inc. FletcherTilton PC The Guild for Human Services New England Village PLAN of Massachusetts and Rhode Island Riverbrook Special Needs Financial Planning Specialized Housing SUPPORTbrokers
Our advertisers help support the mission of The Arc of Massachusetts. a variety of social and recreational programs for both children and adults on the spectrum. For more information, please visit www. arcsouthnorfolk.org to learn more about the programs FAC and The Arc of South Norfolk have to offer.
The Arc of Massachusetts