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Website Home May 7, 2013
End the R Word in Florida Day
End the R Word in Florida Day - Santa Rosa County
Amazing Advocacy Efforts to End the R-Word Lead to Florida Victory

Words are a powerful thing and The Arc of Florida came together to end the use of a stigmatizing and offensive word sometimes used to describe individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). In March, Floridians with I/DD gathered at The State Capitol to support a new piece of legislation that would remove all references to "mental retardation" in state law and replace them with "intellectual disability" and last month the bill unanimously passed the Florida Legislature.

The introduction of the bill was partnered with the launch of a state-wide campaign, End the R-Word in Florida. This amazing campaign is garnering national attention and making individuals across the country stop to think about the impact of their words.

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The Arc Audi Racing Program Car Buzz Bissinger and son Zach 2013 Disability Policy Seminar
Transport Yourself to the Race Track with The Arc There’s a Buzz Building around The Arc’s National Convention 700 Advocates Share Their Stories in Washington
The roar of the engines. The expert pit crews working on the cars. The speed the cars travel. Does this sound like a place for people with I/DD? To Don and Laurie Istook of RS Werkes and The Arc, it does and is – that’s why we’ve partnered up to create The Arc Audi Racing Program. And award-winning film producer and director Heidi Reinberg has captured a day at the race track with people with I/DD, including a pit crew member, who is raising awareness about what people with I/DD can do when given the chance – watch it and share it with your friends and family! Planning is well underway for The Arc’s annual National Convention August 3-5 outside of Seattle, WA. And people are starting to talk about our keynote speaker, Buzz Bissinger. Buzz is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Friday Night Lights, and even more importantly, a parent of a child with an intellectual disability. Last year, Buzz set out to document his special relationship with his son Zach in the book Father’s Day: A Journey into the Mind & Heart of My Extraordinary Son.

Register now to attend the premiere event for the I/DD movement and join hundreds of other individuals, families, advocates, experts and professionals in the field for three days of informative sessions, unique events and opportunities to connect. Learn more about the program at www.thearc.org/convention.

Sponsored by: Apostrophe Magazine, Arc Thrift Stores, CARF, Essential Learning, Hammer Travel, MediSked, MetLife, Mutual of America and Rest Assured.

This year’s Disability Policy Seminar was a huge success, with 700 advocates traveling to Washington, DC to learn about the latest in federal public policy relating to people with I/DD, and then fanning out across Capitol Hill to meet with their Members of Congress. The first two days were jam-packed with informative briefings from leaders in the disability field, including staff members for key Members of Congress, and advocates engaged in questions and networking with their fellow attendees. The final morning began with a coffee kick-off in a U.S. Senate hearing room, where Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) spoke to the crowd before a full day of meetings with Members of Congress on issues like Medicaid, Social Security, the ABLE Act, and more. Join us next year, April 6-9, 2014 in Washington, DC!
Celebrating Siblings Across the Country
The bond between siblings is a unique and powerful one that many times can’t easily be described. The role of a sibling to a person with I/DD is as complex as it is inspiring. Throughout April we celebrated the amazing connection of siblings across the country, and on April 10, The Arc joined siblings nationwide in recognizing National Sibling Day. From Amberley and her sister Caroline to Jui and her brother Chinmay, read a few of the amazing sibling stories we shared.

To support The Arc’s National Sibling Council visit our website and donate today. With your support, we can continue connecting and supporting siblings by showing them their experiences are shared with many across the country.

New Resource for Disability Advocates
The Arc has released a new issue of National Policy Matters, “The Chained CPI Cuts Social Security and SSI: What Disability Advocates Need to Know.” With ongoing Congressional discussions over deficit reduction, disability advocates should be concerned about threats to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These lifelines provide essential financial security for millions of Americans, including people with disabilities.

The Arc believes that Social Security and SSI should not be part of deficit reduction, and that any changes to these systems must be carefully evaluated in terms of their effects on beneficiaries. This issue of National Policy Matters explains a major threat to Social Security and SSI, the chained Consumer Price Index (“chained CPI”).

How Do Individuals on the Spectrum Define Autism?
A new edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) is coming out this month with changes to the definitions of certain disorders, including changes to how Autism Spectrum Disorders are characterized. This manual is used by medical professionals, government agencies and insurers. There has been much talk about what this will mean to individuals and their families when it comes to obtaining a diagnosis and receiving services. During April, Autism Awareness Month, The Arc asked the question “What’s Your Definition of Autism” leading to several individuals who identify as being on the spectrum offering up their points of view. Check out some personal essays on The Arc’s blog from Wendy, Amy, and Andrew on what autism really means on a personal level regardless of official diagnoses.
Tracking Health and Getting Moving Across the Country – HealthMeet in Action
Emphasizing a growing crisis in the I/DD community, The Arc’s HealthMeet project has started its health screenings in communities in five states. With funding through a 3-year, $1 million cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control, five chapters of The Arc are taking the pulse of general health of people with I/DD so that we can learn more about how to improve the lives of people with disabilities through healthy habits.

Achieva (The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh) kicked off their efforts recently, partnering with a local personal training program for people with I/DD to offer fun fitness activities and exercise guidance to those being screened. Learn more on our blog.

On the other coast, The Arc of San Francisco’s “HealthMeet-Wellness Wednesdays” are creating a stir as well. Check out this article in the San Francisco Chronicle highlighting the program.

Keeping the Financing of Long Term Services and Supports a Priority
Even though the CLASS Act has been repealed, The Arc is working with Advance CLASS to keep the issue of long-term services and supports financing on the front burner, and we need your help. One way you can help is by reminding your Members of Congress that this issue impacts millions of Americans and that it is a priority for the disability community. Visit the online petition to register your support.
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