Children’s Mental Health Week (CMHW)  May 1-7, 2022

This year’s theme is Action Changes Things. One way to advocate for children’s mental health is by lighting up green in support of Children’s Mental Health Week this year.  Parent/Professional Advocacy League has a toolkit for people to use. Toolkit materials are free. Posters can be downloaded.  Some towns and cities will have CMHW public lightings.

Since 2002, the Governor of Massachusetts, has issued an official proclamation for Children’s Mental Health Week. Some Massachusetts  mayors issue proclamations, too. Children’s Mental Health Week is dedicated to increasing public awareness about the triumphs and challenges in children’s mental health.  It emphasizes the importance of family and youth involvement in children’s mental health.

In Massachusetts, Children’s Mental Health Week is sponsored by the Department of Mental Health and the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP), a Beacon Health Options company.

Here are some Children’s Mental Health resources that may be helpful. 

Children’s Mental Health Campaign (CMHC) has six highly reputable partner organizations: 

Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative (CBHI) – Helps MassHealth children with behavioral, emotional, and mental health needs.  Families can get integrated behavioral health services and a comprehensive, community-based system of care.

     Find a CBHI Provider 

Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) HandHold – DMH has a collection of resources that you can try at home today and organizations that we know can help.

Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP) – MBHP is here to provide you or your loved one with a full range of services to help with medical, mental health, and substance use disorder conditions.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Massachusetts Resources for Children and Teens – Includes family support programs. 

Children’s mental health is important every week of the year. 

VaxAbilities Disability Friendly Vaccine Sites

The Arc of Massachusetts has an update to share regarding vaccines and boosters from colleagues at the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and our state’s Developmental Disabilities Network.


This is about disability vaccine-friendly sites and options; please note volunteers are needed, too.


I. Disability-Friendly Vaccine Sites or Mobile Events

  • Disability-friendly vaccine sites or mobile events can be found by going to https://vaxabilities.com/
  • Organized by UMass Medical and Shriver Center in cooperation with our Developmental Disabilities Network (which also includes ICI, MDDC, and DLC). These events are scheduled to take place across the Commonwealth after the anticipated approval of the COVID vaccine for 5-11-year-olds this month.
  • The goal of these events is to support people with sensory and/or other accommodation needs in Massachusetts to have the most positive and comfortable vaccination experience possible.
  • We will accomplish this by bringing in clinicians with sensory training to partner with vaccinating clinicians, physical tools to assist with numbing and distraction, strategies for positioning and distraction, and the assistance of volunteers to help with logistics and engagement. Most events will offer vaccines to both children and adults.

Disability-friendly Vaccine Events

We also want to note that planners are hoping for clinicians and volunteers to sign up for the upcoming “VaxAbilities” disability-friendly vaccine events! Currently, they are looking for:

  1. Sensory-trained clinicians who will partner with vaccine-administrating clinicians to understand and use strategies to support the sensory needs and accommodations children or adults may have through the vaccination process (paid or volunteer)
  2. Pediatricians on-site to answer parent and child questions about the COVID19 vaccine (paid or volunteer)
  3. Volunteers that can help direct visitors, help engage children as they wait for vaccines, hand out distractor items/toys, assist with vaccine station cleaning and collect survey responses, etc.

Sign up to volunteer.

Massachusetts Personal Care Attendant (PCA) How-to Training Videos

We want to share some information about Personal Care Attendant Services in Massachusetts.

The Personal Care Attendant Workforce Council developed new training videos for Consumers, Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) and Job Seekers. These videos explain:

  • Directory Basics Video
  • Consumer Video
  • Worker Video

There are questions and answers for both consumers and workers.

Consumers that need PCA services during this public health emergency can call the MassOptions call center at 1-844-422-6277.

  • The MassOptions call center will connect these consumers to home health services in their region

Training Videos and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

EasyCOVID-19 Project Now Recruiting!

Please help EasyCOVID-19 simplify COVID-19 info world wide!

The EasyCOVID-19 project is now recruiting people to help us simplify COVID19 terms. Please help us by visiting our EasyCOVID-19 crowdsourcing app. This is the start of our project to simplify the COVID-19 information published by every country’s government websites.

Overall Plan

We will start with the Massachusetts. We will then expand to the other U.S. states. We will then move to the 18 English Speaking countries, then the 21 Spanish speaking countries, then the world! This will help many huge populations, such as people with cognitive disabilities, non-native language speakers, the Deaf, and seniors. When they understand how to be safe and healthy, the whole world will be safe and healthy.

Our project would not be successful without:

Please help us now!

For more info, see our EasyCOVID-19 Website!

COVID-19 Materials for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) and Care Providers

With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing, and programs and schools reopening, it is important to continue to share info and use good practices to stay safe.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) created plain language materials for people with IDD and care providers.

The materials on their page were made to help make communicating about COVID-19 a little easier. Pick from videos, posters, social stories, and interactive activities to best meet your needs.

Areas covered include:

  • Getting a Covid-19 Shot
  • Washing Your Hands
  • Getting a COVID-19 Test
  • Masking
  • Social Distancing
  • Information for Caregivers

Please look at the CDC info and share with others.

COVID-19 Materials for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Care Providers

Advanced Leadership Fellowship Opportunity – Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental & Related Disabilities (LEND) Program

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental & Related Disabilities (LEND) Program

Deadline for applications is June 1, 2021

September 2021 to June 2022

$12,000 stipend available

The LEND Program at the E.K. Shriver Center/UMass Medical School in Worcester, MA prepares professionals, persons with disabilities, and family members to influence policy and clinical practice on behalf of children with developmental disabilities and their families.

We are looking for applicants who:

  • have relevant experience in the disability field and leadership potential
  • have professional degrees in health and/or clinical disciplines, disability studies, or policy. Other professional qualifications may be appropriate.
  • are individuals with disabilities, self-advocates, or family members of people with disabilities interested in pursuing careers in disability policy/systems change
  • LEND coursework can be credited towards a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Suffolk University at reduced tuition.

~ The LEND program involves a minimum commitment of 1 day/week ~

For questions or more information contact:

For additional program information and application forms, visit our website:  https://tinyurl.com/ShriverLENDApplication

Celebrating Holidays During COVID-19

This holiday season will be different for most of us.  Here are some resources to help families cope with the challenges that COVID-19 brings to friends and families.  Practicing safe social distancing and limiting gathering sizes is important.  Practicing safety measures such as mask wearing and hand washing can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Many families and groups of friends are planning on holding virtual parties and get togethers.  Zoom, FaceTime, Google Duo, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat are some options. Scheduling a get together works best so that people can all be together virtually at the same time.  You can send invitations.

Popular Science has some suggestions for hosting a virtual party or get together.

Holiday Resources:

Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center News

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

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