“On behalf of The Arc and the families we represent, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these children and their teachers in this horrific tragedy. Our hearts are simply broken for the parents, loved ones, and the community of Newtown.
“There are so many questions surrounding this tragedy. As more information comes to light, the media is reporting that the individual responsible for this violence may have Asperger’s Syndrome, a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. As we struggle with this tragedy, it is important that the public is aware that people with autism spectrum disorders are not more likely than others to be violent. This is a horrific event in our nation’s history, and as we mourn, we must come together as a nation to support this Connecticut community.”
Please keep in mind that concurrent sessions will be held between August 2-4, 2013. As a presenter, you must be available on these dates. We encourage self-advocate participation in all sessions as participants and presenters. Submit your application using this form.
The deadline for submission of presentation ideas is February 1, 2013. Selection of presentations will take place on or about March 29, 2013.
Martha and Nancy Webster at The Arc’s National Convention and International Forum in October 2012.
We’d like you to meet Martha. Why? Because we just can’t get enough of her infectious smile and positive personality. Martha has an intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD), but thanks to the support she receives from her family and programs such as Medicaid and Social Security, her disability has never held her back. She enjoys baseball and bowling and lives independently in an apartment in Indiana with her friends. She thinks everyone with I/DD should have a chance to do the same.
“People should be able to live like I do,” Martha states confidently…with a smile.
Maybe you know someone like Martha….or like Nancy Webster, her concerned sister? Nancy was recently elected president of the board of directors of The Arc, the nation’s largest community-based organization advocating for people with I/DD. But long before Nancy was a part of our movement, she was Martha’s sister.
Nancy recently told us: “Like many sisters, I worry that if Martha’s Medicaid lifeline is cut, her only option would be to live in an institution or somewhere else she doesn’t want to be, in order to receive the services she needs such as income support, help with her health care needs and the basic assistance she requires on a daily basis.”
The Arc has accomplished a lot during the past year in helping to protect the Medicaid lifeline that Martha depends on, but there is much more to do in 2013. Your support ensures that The Arc can continue to connect families to our national chapter network, influence public policy and improve systems of support and services to people with I/DD on a daily basis.
In the remaining few weeks of 2012, we have a modest goal: to raise 2013 for 2013. How the numbers add up is up to you. If you can spare $20.13, great! If you can donate $2,013, wow! Even if you can’t spare a dime but would like to stay connected on Facebook, you can help us get to 2,013 new fans by liking and sharing our page with your friends and family. Every little bit helps, not just for Martha but the more than 8 million Americans with I/DD and their families. Remember what Martha says, that everyone “should be able to live like I do!”
In the last few days, all eyes have turned to Hurricane Sandy’s destruction of large portions of the U.S. East Coast. In the wake of the storm, affected areas will now begin to reassess, recover and rebuild.
We are reaching out to chapters in the 13 states most affected by the storm to find out how they and the people they serve fared. If you are with an affected chapter and need help, please contact Dee Dee Eberle, Director of Chapter Organizing and Advocacy, at Eberle@thearc.org or 202-534-3726. Or you can reach out via our social media channels – Twitter, Facebook and The Arc’s blog. Please use the hashtag #TheArcRelief for any storm-recovery related posts.
Those of us lucky enough to have escaped unharmed may be looking for ways to help chapters recover and rebuild to ensure that they can continue to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities especially in this time of need. We have activated The Arc’s Disaster Relief Fund, which allows us to take in donations from across the country, and quickly distribute them to chapters that need emergency resources to carry out their mission in the aftermath. If you would like to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families recover and rebuild chapter programs and offices, consider contributing to The Arc’s Disaster Relief Fund: Donate online now or simply send a check to The Arc’s national office at 1825 K Street NW, Suite 1200 Washington, D.C., addressed to The Arc Disaster Relief Fund. If you can’t make a monetary donation, we encourage you to monitor our social media channels to see if someone in your area posts a need which you might be able to fill directly. If you have non-cash resources that might be able to help a specific person or chapter, you can offer those to that individual or organization through our social media channels using the hashtag #TheArcRelief and be sure to post your location and how someone might respond to you. Keep in mind, The Arc CANNOT accept or distribute any non-cash donations.
Participants from across the U.S. and more than 25 countries including the U.K., Germany, China, Cambodia, Israel, New Zealand, Malwai, Spain, Panama and Kenya came together to promote the concept of inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They discussed the tough issues, socialized and celebrated, and learned much from each other through informative sessions, meetings and fun events.
We heard from the former first lady of Panama who is a fierce advocate for people with I/DD along with Eve Hill from the U.S. Department of Justice speaking about her efforts to enforce laws which help people with I/DD live fuller lives in their communities with greater accessibility. Self-Advocate Ricardo Thornton and the chief of the UNICEF Disability Section shared their experiences with us and we were treated to a performance from the inclusive arts group, Artstream.
The Arc elected a new president of our Board of Directors, Nancy Webster, along with several new board members. And our out-going President, Mohan Mehra presented the President’s Award to Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue for his work in reducing the amount of time people with disabilities must wait to recieve benefits from his Administration. Also, we honored the amazing advocacy work of The Arc of Virginia and the efforts of Don and Laurie Istook of Istook’s Motorsports for helping create The Arc Audi Racing Program – a unique initiative to introduce professional race teams and fans and people with I/DD to each other.
We enjoyed a thought-provoking and entertaining The Arc & Sprout National Film Festival and we danced the night away with the National Hand Dance Association.
See all the highlights of The Arc and Inclusion International’s National Convention and International Forum in a video, produced by Jerry Smith of the Research & Training Center on Community Living, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota.
Please check this post later in the week and watch our Facebook page for more photos.
We thank everyone who helped make this year’s event such as success and we hope you will consider joining us in Bellevue, Washington (near Seattle) in 2013 for The Arc’s National Convention and International Forum.
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:
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.
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!
Follow our new blog focused on chapter called We Are The Arc. We’ll post photos as we get them there.
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!
The Arc is featured in the October 15, 2012 issue of TIME Magazine – get it at newsstands now! You, along with 19 million readers nationwide, will read about The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region’s success working with a local business to employ people with disabilities alongside people without disabilities.
Missed it? Don’t worry, we have it on our website! The feature is perfectly timed with National Disability Employment Month, which is October, and highlights The Arc’s national network of chapters!
Guarding yourself and your loved ones during flu season has always been important, but a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has shown how important it truly is for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The study showed that children with intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and other neurologic disorders were at a great risk of complications from the influenza virus.
The study, which focused on the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak, found that a disproportionately high number of kids with neurological disorders died from the virus. The 2009 flu season was particularly severe and the number of children who passed away was five times higher than the median for the previous five flu seasons.
“We’ve known for some time that certain neurologic conditions can put children at high risk for serious complications from influenza,” said Dr. Lyn Finelli, chief of the surveillance and outbreak response team in CDC’s Influenza Division. “However, the high percentage of pediatric deaths associated with neurologic disorders that occurred during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic was a somber reminder of the harm that flu can cause to children with neurologic and neurodevelopmental disorders.”
Now is the time to protect yourself and your family. The CDC is recommending that everyone over 6 months old get an annual influenza vaccination. To learn more about the flu and where to get a flu shot visit the CDC website.
The 2012 national elections are fast approaching and it is vital that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and those who care about them get involved in the political process to help protect their interests. Whether it is a local, state or national election, advocates for people with I/DD have a responsibility to educate candidates about the issues and vote for those candidates who support the legislation which allows people with I/DD to live and be included in their communities with the appropriate supports.
One of the easiest ways to get involved in the political process is by simply voting. For people with I/DD, this can sometimes be a challenge. Even for people without disabilities, there are many reasons why they feel like they just can’t make it to the polls on Election Day. Have you heard (or used) any of these reasons for not voting?
I have medical problems or conditions that make it hard to leave the house or wait in line at the polls (and the lines will be too long!)
I don’t drive and I don’t have anyone who can take me there and back or the bus or subway routes don’t go near my polling place
I have to work that day, I have an appointment that day, I have to stay home with my child/loved one that day.
The voting booths can be intimidating/ I’m worried I won’t know how to use the machine and the poll workers might not understand my disability and be willing to help me figure it out.
I’m afraid the poll workers won’t let me vote – maybe they won’t understand me if I have difficulty speaking or maybe they’ll say I’m not qualified.
Those are all common and understandable reasons that cause people to give up their constitutional right to vote. Luckily, there may be a simple answer to every single reason on this list (and just about any others you can think of). Absentee ballots! Absentee ballots can allow people to vote using a mailed ballot with which they can take time to read and re-read and think about their choices if necessary, get assistance with filling out the forms from caregivers or family members and not have to worry about getting to the polls on election day. Each state is somewhat different in their absentee voting processes and procedures so contact your local board of elections to find out more and get your absentee ballot. Make Your Mark this Election Day!
Now you have more time to register and save up to $100 off the regular registration rate.
You don’t want to miss the incredible slate of informative sessions and enlightening speakers we have on tap for you in Washington, D.C. October 25-28. Plus, we’re partnering with Inclusion Internationals to bring a global perspective to the question of what it really means to live and be included in the community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Here are just some of the highlights:
Kathy Davis, a board member from The Arc’s chapter Noble of Indiana who helped develop The Arc of Indiana’s “Blueprint for Change” to improve service delivery in Indiana at our leadership pre-conference.
Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue receiving our President’s Award for his commitment to people with disabilities.
The Marketplace featuring Entrepreneur’s Alley which spotlights microbusinesses run by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Even if you can’t attend the entire conference, one-day and special event tickets are available at lower rates, so register now. Enjoy everything our nation’s capital has to offer, beautiful fall weather and the opportunity to learn and share with the global I/DD community. We’ll see you there!