Do You Know Ari Ne'eman? You Should

E-Newsletter Issue Date: Monday, October 11, 2010

Check out for a fascinating article on Ari Ne’eman, the first autistic presidential appointee.

The article details Ari’s views on the difference between treating autism as a pitiful disease to be eradicated and treating individuals with autism with respect and acceptance…and the harm that comes from divisiveness in the world of advocacy.

One problem Ari has with the focus of some autism advocacy organizations is that they claim to speak for people with autism but often don’t include them in the conversation. The Arc is a big fan or Ari and his organization, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) as we share a common determination to change the way people view autism.

Spotlight: Convention Program

E-newsletter Issue Date:  Thursday August 19, 2010

This year’s Convention Plenary sessions and workshops offer a wide variety of topics that will engage self-advocates, families, professionals, caregivers and others.  This robust program will showcase the expertise and creativity of our presenters who will share their unique knowledge of what’s important in the lives of people with I/DD. 

These sessions will enlighten, inspire and energize! Here are some highlights:

  • What’s Happening with the New Health Care Law?
    The Arc and UCP, through their joint Disability Policy Collaboration, will provide information and advice about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  The Act holds great promise for improving health care and long term services and supports for The Arc’s constituents.
  • Respecting Our Differences:  The SEEDS Project
    Learn more about this dynamic anti-bullying initiative for students, parents and educators aimed at teaching in a fun and simple way about disability awareness and sensitivity.  This is a low cost – replicable mode for your community.
  • Pack my Bags, I am Heading to College
    A panel discussion on the challenges and rewards for students with I/DD who are attending college.  Learn about the academic, life skills and social rewards that abound on the college campus.
  • The Exchange: Sharing Ideas & Dialogue
    Circulate the room and engage in a variety of lively discussions on topics such as end of life issues; what does advocacy mean for your chapter; how to use social media to further our cause; awards – how do they add value and contribute to the missions; and more.
  • A New Generation of Civil Rights Music:  Community Organizing through Song & Dance
    This interactive and fun presentation will have you singing, dancing and creating your own songs to inspire each other to take music back to our communities.

Oral History Project Captures Experiences of Self-Advocates

E-newsletter Issue Date:  Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Members of The Arc’s national board, Joe Meadours and Chester Finn, are among the 13 self-advocates whose unique experiences are recorded as part of the University of California, Berkeley’s library collection on disability rights.

The project, led by Joe Caldwell, Ph.D., Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago, fills a void in documenting the self-advocacy movement. 

This compilation of personal stories of powerful leaders with I/DD is documented through transcripts and video interviews revealing their singular impact on a national and international level.

The Arc—Champions of Health Care Reform

E-newsletter Issue Date: Wednesday April 28, 2010

The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act is a great victory for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This legislation contains numerous provisions from which our constituency will gain. Certain to rank among the top domestic legislative achievements of this generation, this legislation will bring about comprehensive Health Care Reform that will benefit nearly all Americans while reducing the federal deficit,” said Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc.

The Arc of the United States was among the ranks of disabilities rights advocates leading the charge to ensure the passage of the historic Health Care Reform legislation—a law that is of keen importance to people with intellectual and development disabilities. It includes:

  • Prohibiting private health insurance exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
  • Eliminating annual and lifetime caps in private insurance policies.
  • Restricting the consideration of health status in setting premiums.
  • Expanding Medicaid to cover individuals with incomes up to 133 percent of
        the federal poverty line (approximately $29,000 per year for a family of four.)

The Arc’s Marty Ford, Director of Legal Advocacy, and Liz Savage, Director of Health and Housing Policy, were on the frontlines in pressing for the passage of this landmark legislation. As with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in which The Arc was a key advocate, Health Care Reform will also go far in improving the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

How Health Care Reform Impacts People with Disabilities:


  • Ensuring that minimum covered benefits include products and services that enable people with disabilities to maintain and improve function such as rehabilitation and habilitation services and devices.
  • Access to Quality Care
  • Improving training of physicians, dentists and allied health professionals on
        how to treat persons with disabilities.
  • Requiring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to collect data on
        beneficiaries with disabilities, access to primary-care services and the level to which primary-care service providers have been trained on disability issues.
  • Ensuring prevention programs include a focus on individuals with disabilities.

Long-Term Service and Supports

  • Increasing the federal share of Medicaid, known as the Federal Medical 
        Assistance Percentage (FMAP), for home and community-based services and during periods of economic downturn.
  • Strengthening long-term services and supports through 1) taking pressure off of the Medicaid program; 2) improving the Medicaid program.

To learn more about Health Care Reform click here.