Follow the 2012 National Convention and International Forum

National Convention and International Forum, The Arc, Inclusion International: Achieving Inclusion

Just like in years past, we’ll keep you up to date on the 2012 National Convention and International Forum in Washington, D.C. with social media and other online channels. If you can’t join us in person, don’t worry – there are many ways you can be a part of the Convention online:

  1. Follow this blog. We’ll post all the news and information coming out of convention each day, and try to post as many photos as we can. You can find the latest headlines from the blog right on our home page, in the bottom left-hand corner.
  2. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Each day, we’ll be posting real-time updates on our social media profiles as well, in addition to meatier updates here. On Twitter, you can use the hash tag, #AchieveInclusion, to follow the conversation centered around the event. If you’re at Convention, and tweeting, please join the discussion. Don’t forget to share your photos there too!
  3. Follow our new blog focused on chapter called We Are The Arc. We’ll post photos as we get them there.
  4. Use the Convention website. Our event website is still the best place to go for all the particulars, like the schedule, list of sponsors and exhibitors and more.

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone this year!

Blue Beanie Day 2011: Celebrating Web Standards

Blue Beanie Day 2011 with Logo

Blue Beanie Day 2011, celebrated by The Arc's web crew: Kevin Wenzel and David Kennedy.

Today, The Arc’s web team donned blue beanies. Kevin Wenzel (The Arc’s web producer) and I got a few strange looks, even after he sent out a staff-wide email explaining why web designers and developers everywhere put on blue beanies today.

Colleagues keep asking us and we’ll keep telling them why. We support web standards and the hats signify that we’ll follow that set of best practices for standardized, accessible, universal web design and development.

In the past 18 months, The Arc has made a lot of progress toward doing a better job embracing web standards. We redesigned our main website, rolled out three new blogs and launched two additional sites – keeping web standards in mind from the very beginning. Right now, we’re working hard toward making small tweaks on the back-end of our sites that will make a big difference when it comes to web standards and web accessibility. We’ll share more on that as we move forward.

In the meantime, at least you know why web staffers everywhere are wearing blue beanies, and why Kevin and I look a bit like lumberjacks today.

We’ve Moved! Please Make Note of the New Address

Late last week, we began the process of moving our office. We only moved a few blocks over (from our old office in downtown Washington, D.C.), but it was still a monstrous task. Thank you for being patient as we went through the process, and experienced a bit of downtime for our website and email.

Everything is business as usual now. However, please make note of our new address. It is:

1825 K Street NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20006

All of our phone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses remain the same.

The architects and construction crew have worked the past few days on putting the final touches on our new space. We’ll post some photos as soon as we can.

Thanks again for your patience!

Office Move: Website, Email and Phone Downtime

The Arc is moving to new offices – beginning in the new location on Monday September 26. Our new address is: The Arc, 1825 K Street, NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20006.

During the moving process, portions of The Arc’s website, email system and phone lines will be down for a period of time, starting Friday, September 23.

What Will be Effected?

  • The Arc’s main website: www.thearc.org
  • The Arc’s email system: you will not be able to contact staff via email.
  • The Arc’s phone lines: you will not be able to call The Arc’s main office in Washington, D.C.

What Will Not be Effected?

How Will I Know When the Site is Live Again?

Follow The Arc’s 2011 National Convention

Dr. Temple Grandin

Dr. Temple Grandin

The Arc has achieved so many great things this year with your help and support. We’ve rolled out a new brand, unveiled new public service announcements, created a fantastic resource for people with autism and other developmental disabilities, released an authoritative study of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and so much more.

We’re excited about what’s next, and you’re an important part of it! We’ll be marching on this weekend at The Arc’s National Convention in Denver, Colorado. If you can’t achieve new heights with us in person, don’t worry – there are many ways you can be a part of the Convention online:

  1. Follow this blog. We’ll post all the news and information coming out of convention each day, and try to post as many photos as we can. You can find the latest headlines from the blog right on our home page, in the bottom left-hand corner.
  2. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Each day, we’ll be posting real-time updates on our social media profiles as well, in addition to meatier updates here. On Twitter, you can use the hash tag, #thearc11, to follow the conversation centered around the Convention. If you’re at Convention, and tweeting, please join the discussion.
  3. Visit our Flickr page. Flickr, a place to share photos, we’ll be the first place we post photos each day from Convention events. Also, if you’re taking and posting photos there, we invite you to post them to our group page.
  4. Use the Convention website. Our Convention website is still the best place to go for all the Convention particulars, like the schedule, list of sponsors and exhibitors and more.

April = Autism Awareness

Autism Awareness Month is a time for learning about autism and introducing others to new ideas as well as a celebration of individuals on the autism spectrum. It’s also the perfect time to discover Autism NOW’s new website.

Autism NOW is a national initiative of The Arc funded by a grant from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities charged with becoming the nation’s source for resources and information on community-based solutions for individuals with autism, other developmental disabilities and their families. One of those topline resources is a series of webinars about autism spectrum disorders (ASD), early detection and intervention, and organizations and activities supporting acceptance and celebration.

Sign up for a free session held every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST) throughout Autism Awareness Month. Designed for self-advocates, families, professionals, and the general public, these webinars encompass a wide variety of topics and practices in the area of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and developmental disabilities. Space is limited and we’re sure you won’t want to miss these opportunities.

Upcoming topics will focus on:

  • An overview from National Disability Rights Network – what you need to know
  • Health Insurance Options for Children with IDD or on the Spectrum
  • An overview of legal advocacy at federal level based on state wide development disability Council expertise (NACDD)
  • Learn about Rest Assured, a new assistive technology that can change the face of care and promote independent living

Check out the full list of available Webinars and sign up now at www.autismnow.org. While you’re there, take some time to explore the new website then spread some awareness to the rest of the world. You can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our latest news and share our URL with everyone you know. Together we can raise awareness for autism for April and beyond!

The Arc of Indiana and Peter Berns Talk About The Arc’s New Brand

The Arc of Indiana Logo imageJust 14 days ago, The Arc launched a new brand. Many of our chapters have embraced the new look and feel, and generated lots of excitement around its official unveiling Match 1st.

Just one of those chapters is The Arc of Indiana. Be sure to check out the new look on its website, and listen to the interview Michelle Fischer did with The Arc’s CEO Peter Berns.

Berns talks about The Arc, its brand and the story behind our new look.

HollyRod Foundation Giving Away Free iPads to Children with Autism

Many people with iPads love all the fantastic things you can do with them. The folks at the HollyRod Foundation think children with autism should be no different.

The foundation, started by Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete thirteen years ago to give a voice and a hand to those striving for quality of life when theirs has been diminished due to disease or disorders, is giving away free iPads to children with autism.

This giveaway isn’t just about handing out the latest and greatest gadget, but helping children with autism communicate with the world around them in a richer, more fulfilling way.

To find out more about the giveaway, and to download an application, visit the foundation’s site. Don’t forget to spread the word about this to parents, self-advocates and anyone else who might be interested.

Here are the eligibility requirements:

  • The individual you are applying for must have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum (as identified in diagnosis report).
  • Reside in the United States of America .
  • Be non-verbal or minimally verbal (as identified in speech pathology report).
  • Be in financial need: Gross income not to exceed $35,000 single income family or $50,000 two-income family (as identified by documentation).
  • Have access to a computer and an iTunes account (some programs must be downloaded on a computer and transferred to the iPad due to size).
  • A professional on your team (i.e., speech pathologist, doctor, teacher) must be willing to take responsibility of the gift card that downloads the applications.

‘I am Not a Disability.’ Eliza’s Story

Eliza Schaaf Artwork image

Eliza Schaaf works on one of her projects.

Every student wants to learn. Every artist wants to create. Every person wants an opportunity to be the best they can be. The administration at Southern Oregon University have denied Eliza Schaaf all three.

Eliza graduated high school this year, loves expressing her creativity and decided to take that to the next level in college by enrolling in an art course called Introduction to Ceramics.

“I have always loved learning and I like working with clay,” Eliza says. “I just wanted to take a course and learn the basics of pottery with other college students my age.”

However, university officials have shut her down. Just seven classes short of completing the requirements for the entire course, Eliza was removed from class. University administrators told Eliza:

“At this time, Southern Oregon University does not offer a program specifically designed to provide specialized learning opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities. We have determined that even with the support of the accommodation(s) available at the post-secondary level, you are currently not otherwise qualified to meet the academic standards necessary to participate in this course.”

Read the rest of the letter.

Eliza has Down syndrome, and had attended previous classes with the help of a personal assistant. Eliza’s art projects were progressing nicely (see the photos for proof!), and now all she wants to do is finish them.

In her words: “I have never thought of myself as being disabled. I am not a disability. I am a person who loves to learn.”

You’re totally missing the point. That’s what The Arc would like to say to the administration at Southern Oregon University.

It’s not just about what she might reasonably be expected to learn. It’s not just about how much she “gets” out of what’s going on. It’s not just about academic progress. It’s about allowing her to participate in the college experience to the best of her ability, alongside classmates who support her.

What Can You Do?

Plenty.

  • Visit Eliza’s blog, and read her story.
  • Sign the petition in support of her continuing class.
  • Spread the word via social media. Share this post with your Facebook friends.
  • Tweet about it using the hash tag: #4eliza
  • Make a donation to The Arc, so we can help Eliza, and cases like hers, directly.

Miss Convention? Here’s a Wrap-up

Gift imageThere’s plenty of recent posts about Convention 2010 in Orlando on the blog, but just in case you missed any of the action, check out our Convention 2010 Wrap-up page. It has recaps of all of the major happenings at convention, plus a link to our Flickr gallery that includes tons of photos.

Thanks to everyone who made it to Orlando, and we hope to see you next year in Denver.

Image by Canna W.