Leo’s Letter: Addressing Our New Reality

A December 2021 article from NBC News contained this statement from Dr. Elizabeth Halloran, an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle: “Everyone has stopped talking about getting rid of COVID. It’s not going away, and that means it’s going to be endemic.”

That’s the reality. And none of us like it.

But what does this mean for our constituents, thousands of them, who would like to reconnect with friends and staff and return to service settings?

Our biggest barrier next to the infection is staff availability. It affects people at home and in service settings, including transportation. We will be holding a focus group for individuals, families, and other interested parties to talk about ideas for collaborative recruiting of staff. Stay tuned for that announcement, and send an email to KAmaral@arcmass.org if you are interested in participating.

Here are some possible actions to take in the short term, too:

  1. Don’t hesitate to learn about service options that could work out for you or a family member. Reach out to your local family support center and DDS area office (ideally, first by email to confirm times to talk). Both links can be found here. Scroll down to find family support.
  2. Join us to learn more about self-direction and resources on Leo Live on Monday, January 31. We have different topics and guests each Monday. On January 24, we’ll be talking about Access and Equity with guests, and on February 7, we will have a guest talking about “Beware the MCAS Waiver: Avoiding Early Termination from Special Education for Older Students in 2022” Register here.
  3. To learn more about self-direction, you also can visit the DDS site here.

Stay tuned for budget and legislative initiatives that are aimed at addressing the crisis which affects all of us!

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