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The Resource Connection 
Weekly Update 


      Another snowy Tuesday!  I'm officially ready for spring, but it is February so we creep closer to better weather. Any guesses as to what Punxsutawney Phil will predict?  
     We are living through rather tumultuous days right now, and I know I am feeling more and more uneasy. Social media, once an escape or a way to connect with each other is filled with negative and frightening "news" opinions and vitriol. I know I have become more cautious about what I share, checking the veracity of sites and making myself read opposing views.  

More than ever we need to put aside our own beliefs if we are to be helpful and supportive to each other.  I don't care what religion you follow, who you voted for, or what color your skin is, if you have a child on the spectrum we are bound together as closely as family. 

Locally, we have an obligation to raise our voices for our children and adults we love on the spectrum. The Governor's budget was released a week ago and there is GOOD news there : 

Advocates for people with disabilities applauded Gov. Charlie Baker's budget proposal this week for fully funding a program that eases the transition into adult services for young adults with disabilities. The Arc of Massachusetts cheered the "major policy change" to "right-size" the Department of Developmental Services' budget for the Turning 22 program, which helps fund the transition of children with disabilities from special education to adult services programs upon their 22nd birthdays. Baker's $40.5 billion budget plan for fiscal 2018 recommends $24 million for the Turning 22 program, an increase over the nearly $19 million in spending project for this year, which the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers (ADDP) called the "most impressive" part of Baker's budget. Since 2010, the number of students with disabilities turning 22 each year has increased by 53 percent to about 940, according to the Arc, but the funding formula has not been updated in more than a decade. "The Arc thanks the administration and will strongly advocate for this budget during the legislative session and encourage legislators to embrace it," Arc Executive Director Leo Sarkissian wrote in a newsletter to supporters. "It is a policy change that both branches can be proud of, especially as we move through an uncertain future on the federal level." In a tweet Thursday, ADDP said the DDS budget as proposed by Baker is "starting better than in many years." - Colin A. Young/SHNS " 

If you have a family member approaching 22 this has to be a relief.  

      Other areas of the budget were either level funded or enhanced.
  • DDS Residential, Line Item 5920-2000, Funded at $1.1 Billion, estimated to keep current levels of service
  • DDS Adult Autism, Line Item 5920-3020, Funded at $13.4 Million, increased by nearly $1 million over FY 17
  • DDS Kids Autism Waiver, Line Item 5920-2010, level funded at $6.4 million
  • DDS Respite/Family Support, Line Item 5920-3000, funded at $63.7 million, nearly $1 million over FY 17
We have to go through the budget process with both the house and senate releasing their versions and then conference but it is a good thing to keep in touch with your representatives and senators to let them know YOUR thoughts on the governors budget and also to send a thank you to Governor Baker. 

I thought in these scary and anxious times, we can use  good news. The way to keep good news coming is by continuing to advocate, be informed and involved. If you have never met your Legislator, or don't know who your elected officials are, go here , you can type in your address and find out who your legislators are, where their offices are and contact information. Give them a call,  which isbetter than an e-mail. Introduce yourself,  tell them your story, let them know what you think of the budget, and what your priorities are for your child and what you wish they would support. Building a relationship will be beneficial to you and your child, and for our community.  In the coming weeks I'll be posting bills that will need our support, let's raise our voices and awareness where it makes a true difference. Scroll down for this week's call which is time sensitive!

Have a great week 


READY? SET? GO! This week's call -

Please contact your Senator and Representative this week before Friday and ask them to co-sponsor Representative Diana DiZoglio bill HD 2680 An Act Relative to the Certification of Interpreters in Educational Settings.
This legislation directs the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to create standards and competencies for the hiring and use of interpreters in educational settings in order to provide limited English proficient (LEP) parents and students with competent interpretation services.
School districts are already required to provide interpreter services for LEP families pursuant to state and federal law. Many families across the Commonwealth continue to face significant language access barriers. Currently, many school districts rely on untrained employees or volunteers who are often unqualified as interpreters and unprepared to adequately interpret information vital to a child's growth and development. As a result, too many parents are provided inaccurate information, are unable to participate meaningfully in their child's education.

Por favor llame a su Senador y Representante esta semana antes del viernes y pídales que copatrocinen a la diputada Diana DiZoglio proyecto de ley HD 2680, Ley referente a la certificación de intérpretes en ambientes educativos.
Esta legislación ordena al Departamento de Educación Primaria y Secundaria (DESE por sus siglas en inglés) a crear estándares y competencias para la contratación y uso de intérpretes en ambientes educativos con el fin de proporcionar a padres y estudiantes con conocimientos limitados de inglés (LEP por sus siglas en inglés) con servicios de interpretación competentes. Los distritos escolares ya están obligados a proporcionar servicios de intérprete para las familias con conocimientos limitados de inglés (LEP) de acuerdo con la ley estatal y federal. Muchas familias en toda nuestra comunidad continúan enfrentando barreras significativas de acceso al idioma. En la actualidad, muchos distritos escolares dependen de empleados o voluntarios no capacitados que a menudo no son calificados como intérpretes, y no están preparados para interpretar adecuadamente información vital para el crecimiento y desarrollo de un niño. Como resultado, muchos padres reciben información inexacta, y no pueden participar de manera significativa en la educación de sus hijos.


Our annual 5K Run & Walk for Autism Acceptance will be held on Saturday April 29th at the DCR's Quinsigamond State Park in Worcester.  
To join in the fun all you have to do is;
  • Register as a runner or a walker
  • Register your kids for the Energy Monster Kids Fun Run,
  • Create a fundraising page and ask friends and family to support you.  
This year promises to be great with a 5K Run and 5K Walk (with the runners starting first closely followed by the 5K Walkers)

Live Music, Games, Family activities.

Rescheduled Classes

February 7, 2017
Qijong Massage
Fran Bruen OTR/L ABT (AOBTA) 

Qijong Massage for autism is a research evidenced -based treatment for children with ASD . Developed by Dr Louisa Silva MD, L.A.c, it is a specialized massage based on Traditional Chinese Medicine that normalizes the sense of touch which in turn helps other sensory systems start working together in an efficient manner. As a result , the child is calmer and better able to focus , becomes more aware of themselves and others thereby enhancing their social interactions and developmental skills . Within a few weeks of doing the massage, eye contact, behavior and sleep improve. According to Dr. Silva, evidenced research after 5 months of parents administering the massage show that children under the age of 6 with severe autism can move into the moderate range, moderate autism moves towards mild and mildly autistic children can move off the spectrum. Improvements have also been noted with older children. Please see website www.qsti.org for updated research. Qijong Sensory Massage is administered by parents under the guidance of a trained qijong sensory massage therapist. It is administered daily on a massage table or bed with the recipient wearing comfortable clothing. Areas where the child is uncomfortable with touch are not avoided ; instead techniques are attuned to the child, within the comfort zone of the child. Class will take place at the Autism Resource Center on Tuesday, January 31th 6:30- 9:30 PM Fee: $25.00/pp

February 8, 2017
Parents of Children Support
Taking Charge of Treatment
for Your Child with Asperger's
Cornelia Elwood &
Dr. Scott MacLeod

  February Calendar 



February 1, 2017
Parents of Adults
Support Group
Margaritas Mexican Restaurant
10006 Shops Way, Northboro, MA
7-9 PM

February 8, 2017
Parents of Children
Support Group
Taking Charge of Treatment for Your
Child with Asperger's (ASD)
Cornelia Elwood
7-9 PM

February 15, 2017
Parents of Teens Group
Teen Ice Cream Social & Group
runs Concurrently
7-9 PM

February 18, 2017
Zion Lutheran Church
60 Main Street Oxford, MA
10 AM-2 PM
$10.00/child $15 cap/family

February 22, 2017
Parents of Girls Support Group
Pizza & Games for girls runs
6:30-8:30 PM

February 27, 2017
Parents & Tots
4:30-5:30 PM


February 6, 2017 
Walk at St Vincents Atrium
February 13, 2017
Core Strength Training
HMEA- Sterling

                February 20,2017                  Walk at St Vincents Atrium

February 27, 2017
Core Strength Training
HMEA- Sterling



February 21, 2016
Friends & Family Ice Skating Blackstone Valley IcePlex
121 Plain Street, Hopedale, MA
$2.00/pp Skate rental available $3 pp

February 22, 2017
Mass Audubon's Wachusett Meadows Wildife Sanctuary
113 Goodnow Road, Princeton, MA
10 AM

February 23. 2017
290 Turnpike Road, Westboro, MA
10:30 AM $5.00/Bouncer

February 24, 2017
Family & Friends Movie
Strand Theater
58 High Street, Clinton, MA
10 AM $2.00/pp


As part of our mission we try to keep you informed of relevant meetings, hearings, recreational opportunities in our community.

Check out the Bulletin Board this week for information about upcoming activities in the community. Open Door Theater has a sensory friendly production of Suessical for February 11th . The West Boylston SEPAC has a presentation on Tuesday Feb 7th that looks interesting. Conference season will start soon. AANE has a day long workshop in February, Visions of Community  and Current Trends in Autism conferences will take place in March. Legoland is planning a sensory friendly day too and Save the date April 11th !   

The Bulletin Board is a place to have events that would be of interest to the families of HMEA's Autism Resource Central posted. Sped PAC meetings with speakers, recreational opportunities, classes and more. 

To have an event considered for posting please send information to Sloring@hmea.org.

Sue Loring, Director 
HMEA's Autism Resource Central 
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