Have you ever been stared at? When it happens to me, I wonder if something is out of place, like my hair or maybe something worse. But if you have a disability that’s obvious, or if you’re walking with someone who does, the stare may register more intensely, stirring deep emotions.
For adults with disabilities, services sometimes are the only thing separating them from homelessness. For others, the lack of services may mean an increase in behaviors or other symptoms such as depression. And for family members, it may mean staying at home or being the driver throughout the week to make sure a son or daughter or sibling can get to where they need to go.
Pathlight, a leading provider of services for people with intellectual disabilities in western Massachusetts, and Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) have joined in an exciting partnership to encourage innovation in the field of disability. The goal of the challenge is to offer two spots in VVM’s prestigious Startup Accelerator to companies that are creating solutions for people, particularly millennials, with developmental and intellectual disabilities (and those with autism who have no intellectual disability) to lead more independent lives.
In November 2013, the Massachusetts “Blueprint for Success” was released. The plan changed day and employment services for our constituents served by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). The state moved away from sheltered work and segregated settings to more individualized employment and community-based day support for those who weren’t going to be able to work full-time independently or with intermittent assistance.
- Because of the lack of dentists who serve adults with disabilities (intellectual, developmental, autism, etc.); we hear stories about long delays in dental care which result in emergency room visits and extractions.
- Because even fewer dentists are available for those on MassHealth – imagine the impact not only on our constituents but on all families who rely on MassHealth dental coverage for their children and themselves.
- Because prevention and ongoing monitoring are neglected.
- Because it’s so bad that the state has a contract with Tufts Dental Clinic (thank you, Tufts!) to address the needs of thousands of our constituents. We may always need that additional support, but it will never be adequate to meet the needs of all our constituents, who should have local options regardless.
It was a beautiful day for celebrating the opening of The Arc of Massachusetts new statewide headquarters. More than 80 donors, family, and friends, as well as representatives of our chapters and human service agencies, joined us to cut the ceremonial ribbon and celebrate the milestone. Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders and Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy spoke about the impact that The Arc has had locally and across the state. After the speaking program and ribbon cutting, guests were invited in for tours and refreshments.