Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center News

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We are excited about being able to change the name on our Facebook page from INDEX/Shriver Center/UMass Medical School to Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center/UMass Medical School. This change will allow us to reach a wider audience and to highlight all of the programs that we have to offer.

INDEX provides up-to-date information about programs, agencies, physicians, consultants, and dentists serving people with all disabilities in Massachusetts. We offer information and referral by email and phone. INDEX is only one of 11 programs of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center creates and delivers training programs that teach and train those who want to enhance the lives of people with disabilities. We develop and provide a range of information and resources to individuals with IDD and autism spectrum disorder and their families – plus clinicians, educators, and human services agencies.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center was founded in 1970 in Waltham, MA, with a mission to improve the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The Center was named in honor of Mrs. Shriver and her lifelong commitment to championing the rights of individuals with IDD, and to influencing public perception of their value and potential contributions to their communities.

In 2000, the Shriver Center merged with the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, enhancing its resources and expanding its expertise. In 2013, the Center relocated to two locations in Massachusetts, in Worcester and Charlestown. That move increased the statewide impact of the Center’s programs, expanded access to clinical and research populations, and has enhanced development of its training and service programs.  Being part of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester has further strengthened our ties to the entire state of Massachusetts.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary and its 20th anniversary of being part of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

We look forward to sharing Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center news and events with you. We also look forward to continuing to post news and information about programs and services available to people with all disabilities in Massachusetts.

Please continue to like and follow our Facebook page.

Work, Disability Disclosure and Self-identification

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For a person with a disability, how and when to disclose that disability, can be a sensitive issue. The first thing you should ask yourself is “Can I do the job?”. If your disability doesn’t affect job performance, then don’t include it on your resume. Don’t bring it up at an interview unless you have to. People with noticeable disabilities may want to disclose the disability at an interview. Each person needs to do what they feel comfortable with. INDEX  has put together  some resources to help you with making that decision.

Self-identification is up to each person.  Some things to think about disclosure include reasonable accommodations, visible disabilities and company culture. When—if ever—to disclose your disability to a potential or current employer is one of the most difficult issues people with visual impairments and disabilities deal with during the employment process.

Job seekers, has disability disclosure been hard for you to decide?  Has it been difficult to talk about job accommodations you might need?  

INDEX Work, Disability Disclosure and Self-identification

INDEX News and Updates

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The summer season is ending and people are thinking about school re-openings, and planning for Fall. In this blog, we’d  like to share a few things that people may find useful and interesting.  

 

Shout Out to Randall Browne PC Services Engineer of UMass Medical School (UMMS)  IT Department! INDEX would like to share our appreciation of Randall Browne’s outstanding work.Randall Browne, PC Services Engineer of UMMS IT Department provided lead technical support for UMass Medical School’s augmented printing of the Department of Transitional Assistance’s Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Cards. Several thousand EBT Cards quickly and efficiently printed every week. His efforts allowed thousands of People w/Disabilities to get EBT cards.

 

Check out our recently updated COVID-19 Information pages.  We work to make sure information on these pages is up-to-date. INDEX has included  general COVID-19 information and information for people living in Massachusetts.  We also have plain language information and information for Self-advocates.

 

Massachusetts schools are preparing to re-open in in-person, hybrid and remote learning settings. Check with your town or city to find what your local schools are doing.  Many school districts have shared their re-opening models (xls).

 

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has a page that  provides updated COVID-19 Information and Resources.  It includes information for schools about  COVID-19 and will be updated as additional guidance is available. The page was updated most recently on 8/31.

INDEX COVID-19 Emergency Information Update

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INDEX collects and keeps up-to-date information on programs, providers and services in Massachusetts that have something to offer to people with disabilities. We try to provide information relevant to the changing COVID-19 situation and offer updates as new information becomes available for  people with disabilities in Massachusetts.

As businesses, day programs, and schools are in the process of reopening, up to date information is helpful. Practicing safe social distancing, limiting of group size, wearing of masks, and other precautions  continue to be important, particularly for people with disabilities and elders who are often more vulnerable.  

We are continuing to update our COVID-19 Emergency Information web page.  Newly added links include Massachusetts Return to Day Program Risk/Benefit Discussion Checklist in English and Spanish and a link to Mass.gov COVID-19 Daily updates.

Suicide Awareness and Prevention Resources

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Suicide awareness and prevention are important. Suicidal thinking is serious. It does not always mean a person will take their own life. Suicidal thinking can be a symptom of a deeper unresolved issue. Having a plan for suicide is much more serious than just thinking or talking about it.

Here are some warning signs (from Mass General Hospital):

  • Talking about wanting to die or killing themselves
  • Feeling hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live
  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Looking for ways to end their lives, such as searching online or buying weapons
  • Withdrawing from loved ones or feeling isolated
  • Increasing use of drugs or alcohol
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Acting reckless, agitated, or anxious
  • Feeling hopeless or in despair followed by sudden relief or improvement. This can be a sign that a person has made a suicide plan and feels relieved that they will no longer be in pain if they end their life.

 

Please check out our new fact sheet for suicide awareness and prevention resources and ways to help.

Fact sheet

MA Financial Resources for COVID-19

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many disruptions in daily life and financial setbacks for people throughout the state. Here are updated Massachusetts  resources for you to get public health updates, protect your identity, and learn about employment rights and unemployment benefits.

Areas include:

  • Consumer Financial Protection
  • My Financial Life
  • Financial Education
  • Guidance on COVID-19 Resources and Consumer Scams
  • Unemployment and COVID-19
  • Employee Rights and Employer Obligations

MA Financial Resources for COVID-19

Bullying, Workplace Harassment and Sexual Harassment

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INDEX has updated our Bullying, Workplace Harassment and Sexual Harassment fact sheet with new resources related to diverse populations.  We hope that you will find these resources helpful in school, work and personal life.  Stopping and preventing Bullying and Harassment are important in the US today.

Unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. It can be actions like name calling, hitting, kicking or spitting, telling lies and spreading rumors, taking things that belong to someone else, or forcing others to do things they do not want to do  The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems. Children and adults with disabilities are 3 times more often to be involved with bullying or harassment than non-disabled peers.

Bullying, Workplace Harassment and Sexual Harassment  

 

 

Info for Self-Advocates

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We recently added a new page Info for Self-Advocates on DisabilityInfo.org that lists COVID-19 plain language information and videos.  Tools l ike communication boards and health passport have been added.  Support tips and things to do while sheltering in place may also be useful for Self-Advocates, caregivers and family.

Info for Self-Advocates

COVID-19 Communication Boards and Tools

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Here are some communication tools that can be used for people with disabilities, people who are unable to speak and non-English speakers.

Covid-19 Core Communication Boards – A Free Resource for Medical Communication

These communication boards are helpful for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to talk with doctors, nurses and other medical providers.

 

Free Communication Tools 

Boards and tools include Pediatric Pain Scale, Letter Boards, Medical Decision Making, Adult General Needs, Pediatric General Needs and Creating Your Own Boards.

 

Free Bilingual Communication Tools 

Bilingual Communication Tools are available in Arabic/English, Bulgarian/English, Chinese Simplified/English, Chinese Traditional English, French/English, German/English, Hebrew/English, German/English, Italian/English, Portuguese/English, Spanish/English.  These Communication tools verified by a certified medical interpreter are now available.

Updated COVID-19 Emergency Information

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Links to current information about COVID-19 virus. This page is updated with new information.

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