The Arc Of Massachusetts Testifies In Support Of Developmental Disability Definition Bill

On Tuesday, September 10, The Arc’s Executive Director, Leo Sarkissian, testified before the legislature’s Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities Committee in support of H155 and S61, two bills that will adopt the federal definition of developmental disability in place of the current state definition.

The bills would amend the definition to include all adult individuals with a developmental disability, including Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) and Cerebral palsy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes developmental disabilities as “a group of conditions due to impairment in physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. These conditions begin during the developmental period, may impact day-to-day functioning, and usually last throughout a person’s lifetime.”

Conditions such as Down syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Cerebral palsy, Spina bifida, Fragile X syndrome, Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) and Tourette syndromes (TS) are examples of DD and may significantly affect a person’s ability to access and be meaningfully included in education, employment, and community living.

The Arc believes that at a minimum, those with DD should have access to assistance, which is consistent with transition services in special education with the appropriate modifications as the individual becomes an adult. This assistance should be ‘person-centered’ – considering one’s needs, strengths, preferences, and interests.

Leo’s testimony was followed by other advocates and individuals, as well as the Disability Law Center and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council who testified before the Committee in support of this legislation.

One Comment:

  1. Yes, of course people with DD and others should be able to receive assistance through out their lives, as necessary. People may need more assistance with daily living skills as they age. They may develope more need for medical services which are not always available just when they need them….before they turn 55.
    What is the difficulty in securing well trained PCA’s and respite staff?
    Why can’t they receive qualified necessary psyc care with out months on a wait list?

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