News and Events for Families - February 2016

Posted by Patty Manko on Sat, Jan 30, 2016 @ 09:07 AM

the_arc-resized-600.jpegNews from the Arc of Massachusetts

Governor Baker Releases 2017 Budget

Governor Baker's 2017 budget provides a positive start for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Most noteworthy are DDS funding gains in Family Support ($5 Mil increase), Employment ($12 Mil) and Community Residential ($25 Mil) accounts.  The latter two account increases are a mix of new dollars and to maintain 2016 spending in areas such as Turning 22.  The Arc will work with partners to increase allocations to fully fund services for those Turning 22 in employment, autism omnibus and other areas.Additionally The Arc with partners in "" is pushing for a $100 Million investment over 4 years for 5700 families in high need in the areas of Family Support, DESE-DDS and Autism Children's Waiver.   

 The Arc's Operation House Call goes Prime Time!

WBZ TV's Paula Ebben will highlight The Arc's Operation House Call.  The segment is tentatively scheduled to air on the 5:00 news on channel 5, Monday February 1, 2016. The segment will include an interview with the Dollar family; as well as two medical students.

OHC is a growing training program for medical students and other health professionals.  The classroom and hands on learning focuses on the unique health care needs of individuals with autism or intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.  The premise is that families make excellent teachers.

For more information or to participate in OHC, please contact:

Maura K. Sullivan, MPA, Director of Government Affairs, The Arc of Massachusetts,, Cell:781 530-8274 Office: 781 891-6270 ext 113


bumblebee.jpgMoving Images Film Festival 

On Saturday, March 12 from 9 am-5pm Vinfen will hold its 9th Annual Moving Images Film Festival.  The event, held at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School,  features films including Autism in Love, Bumblebees, Guest Room, and Love & Mercy; which are followed by interactive and educational panel discussions comprised of the stars from the films; experts in psychiatry, medicine, and nursing; and people with disabilities, their families and caregivers. 

CART Interpreter Services will be provided for panel discussions. Lunch will be served and parking at the venue is complimentary. Due to this year's theme, the Vinfen 2016 Moving Images Film Festival will be PG-13.

The event is free and open to the public, but a donation of $5 is suggested and appreciated. Donations can be made online or at the event.

To learn more and register visit:

Tags: news and events

The MFOFC Family Leadership Series

Posted by Patty Manko on Sat, Jan 09, 2016 @ 01:07 PM

The Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC) Family Leadership Series focuses on supporting families and individuals to live in their communities as naturally and typically as desired. Applications from families with children or adult family members of any age with any disability who are Department of Developmental Services eligible are encouraged.
Applications for the Central Region due no later than Monday, January 11, 2016.
The first weekend begins Friday, January 22.
Spaces filling up fast for the MFOFC Northeast & Metro Boston Region FLS -- The first weekend begins Friday, January 29.
Susan Nadworny talks about her family and the MFOFC Leadership Series in this excerpt from
Diary of a Dream : Creating a Full Life.


 I. Listen with your Heart

Teaching and Learning

There has been a lot of positive change enacted over the years to provide access to quality health care, education, and increased options for individuals with special needs.  However, a lot more needs to happen until people with disabilities are truly valued members of our society. I think of all James has taught me and our family about patience, kindness, hugs and love.  As his mother my role is to listen to him and, even though he doesn’t speak in the typical ways, acknowledge and respect him. I know he must be taught to advocate for himself while encouraging and teaching those around him to listen with their hearts as well as their heads.   

I spent much of the early years with James in a constant quest for good information.  The best training I ever attended was the Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change leadership series (   James had a couple of extremely rough years, having been diagnosed with infantile spasms, a particularly challenging type of seizure disorder. He was found to be eligible for respite services through a state agency and they allotted hours of nursing care to him and then suddenly, the hours were cut.   John requested an organizational chart to figure out who within that agency was in charge of our family. It was then that we found out about the leadership series through an incredible advocate within the Department of Developmental Services.

 Our amazing advocate, Judy Curry, encouraged us to attend the leadership series in Southeastern MA to help us understand the system.  It took a tremendous effort to attend the training sessions- they required a commitment of six full days and overnight stays- but we were thrilled with the opportunity. The Department of Developmental Services paid for the training but we needed to find people to care for James and our other children.   My friends and a few paid people did two of the weekends and family came in from out of state to cover the remaining weekend enabling us to take this giant step forward for our family. 

The Leadership Series

The leadership series gave John and me inspiration, as well as the determination, to achieve a great life for James.  We were introduced to other wonderful families dedicated to the same goal.  The training focused on providing an overview of how we could make a difference and how to determine what is worth fighting for.  It helped us develop a vision and define our values, which gave tremendous clarity and focus about what was most important for James and our family.  Lastly, appreciating how the legislative process works and why we need to be active participants in order to impact not only James’ life but to make the world a better place for all.

Empowerment provided the Foundation for us to Achieve our Goal 

Getting our priorities right at that early junction helped us seek out opportunities and confidence to speak up and out when needed.  With assistance from Judy Curry and Walter Bacigalupo, I was able to bring the MFOFC Leadership Series to the northeast.  I am always mindful of  a wonderful man I met in this first series  who was a widower living with his adult daughter.  He told me about his nightmare of not being able to “settle “ his daughter into a supported living arrangement before he died.  He hadn’t put anything into place when shortly after the series ended, he died quietly in his armchair.  We started planning the first Housing conference shortly thereafter in 1996.  This man’s nightmare broke my heart and became a focus for planning for James and others so this wouldn’t happen to anyone else if we could help it.

View the Special Needs Financial Planning upcoming workshops here.


Tags: news and events

Upcoming Workshops and Presentations

Posted by Patty Manko on Fri, Jan 01, 2016 @ 08:00 AM


Happy 2016 and warm wishes for a joyous new year to all of our friends, colleagues and followers. 

Our educational outreach schedule covers a number of topics  -- we hope to see you in attendance!  Please feel free to reach out to Alex  with any questions or requests.


cropped_snfp_logo-resized-256.jpg Our Workshops and Presentations

All workshops are open to the public, except where noted.

For more information- please contact Alex Nadworny, 781-756-1804 or by email at



Looking for a speaker? We are often invited to speak by organizations and family support groups. Our appearances are always pro-bono however there may be a fee to attend a conference. Appearances with an * are for specified audiences only. Please visit our website and contact Alex to arrange a presentation to your group.

Tags: news and events

Sharing a Slice and a Slice of Life: Celebrating Employment for People with Disabilities

Posted by Patty Manko on Wed, Dec 23, 2015 @ 08:00 AM

Here are some of our favorite stories featuring creative employment opportuniites.

Sharing a Slice 

Small businesses make up half of our nation's economy.  They strive to create an experience more personal, more local and more meaningful for all of us.  Mozzeria, a pizzeria in San Francisco owned and staffed by individuals who are deaf, is featured as one of 100 stories of small businesses in America by the Small Business Revolution. See the short film below:

Mozzeria: A Small Business Revolution Mini-Documentary from The Small Business Revolution on Vimeo.


Marriott's New Hotel School for People with Disabilities

The Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center in Indiana opens this month and is profiled in this story from Yahoo.  This hotel will function as a traditional hotel as well as housing a training center where people with special needs will study to learn the hospitality industry and serve as interns. Read more here


Born this Way

The A & E network has premiered a docu-series called Born this Way which follows the lives of seven young adults with down syndrome and their families and friends in Southern California.Check out this clip of Sean's new job! 


Tags: news and events

News and Events for Families

Posted by Patty Manko on Fri, Mar 13, 2015 @ 08:30 AM



HUD Announces $150 Million in Rental Assistance Grants to Expand Housing Options for People With Disabilities; Massachusetts to receive $6.8 million to help 100 households.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $150 million in Section 811 Project Rental Assistance funding to help low-income people with disabilities remain in community settings and avoid homelessness. 

Quality, accessible, affordable housing is essential for people with disabilities receiving long-term services and supports in community settings. This program is the result of a partnership between HUD and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Read the HUD announcement and list of states receiving funding.



For Siblings:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

mssn-resized-600 No Sibling Left Behind  

The Kennedy Day School,    30 Warren St, Brighton, MA 02135  

Presented on behalf of the MA Sibling Support Network by  Lynne Goyuk, Educational Admissions and Outreach Specialist at Franciscan Hospital for Children,

RSVP 617-779-1113 or 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

mssn-resized-600 No Sibling Left Behind  

Barnstable Horace mann Public Charter School, 165 Bearses Way, Hyannis ,MA

Presented on behalf of the MA Sibling Support Network by Cynthia Haddad.  

Sponsored by SEPAC - Please attend if you are available- No RSVP needed.


For Parents and Siblings

Wednesday,  March 25, 2015  

cropped_snfp_logo-resized-256A Team to Carry On: Creating a Circle of Supports

Featuring Kerry Mahoney, Director, SUPPORTbrokers/PALS

6:30- 8:00 PM 

Shepherd Financial Partners, 1004 Main St., Winchester, MA, 781-756-1804

RSVP: or 781-756-1804. 


Monday, March 30, 2015

cropped_snfp_logo-resized-256A Team to Carry On Workshop

Presented by John Nadworny and Alex Nadowrny

6:30 - 8:00 PM 

Abington Public Library, 600 Gliniewicz Way, Abington, MA 02351 

RSVP: or 781-756-1804. 



Contact Alex Nadworny to schedule a presentation for your group. Click here to email Alex or call us 781-756-1804



Tags: news and events

News and Events for Families

Posted by Patty Manko on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 @ 12:52 PM

usa today resized 600We are featured in USA Today!

John and Cindy are quoted in this article, Protecting Special Needs Kids Financially.  Read the article here.


September Events

Screen Shot 2014 08 27 at 12.54.10 PM resized 600


Download a printable PDF version here.

Tags: news and events

A Giant Step Forward for the Autism Community in Massachusetts

Posted by Patty Manko on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 @ 12:18 PM

statehouse resized 600Yesterday, the Massachusetts General Court took a huge step forward in the realm of disability rights. The Senate approved S2245, Relative to assisting individuals with autism and other intellectual or developmental disabilities. To read the full text of the bill, click here

The bill still needs to be reconciled with the House version to become law.

The highlights of this bill:

  • makes the Special Commission Relative to Autism a permanent oversight body
  • creates special savings and expense accounts to receive tax benefits for expenditures that benefit an individual with a disability (of any kind)
  • expands the mission of DDS to include adults with developmental disabilities
  • encourages cooperation between DDS and DMH to provide mental health services to those with developmental disabilities
  • creates an endorsement in autism to certify teachers who are qualified to assist autistic students
  • extends insurance coverage for autism services to MassHealth (Medicaid)
  • requires the Autism Commission to report on employment and housing opportunities for autistic people in the Commonwealth

Congratulations to all who have taken part in this accomplishment. We anticipate that this bill will have a positive impact on individuals with autism, including those with Asperger Syndrome.

Sources:Asperger's Association of New England, Arc of Massachusetts

Tags: autism, news and events, Government Benefits

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