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 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 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.
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.
- 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
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
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
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.
If you push a manual wheelchair or use other types of assistive technology (AT), there are unique precautions you should take related to hand washing. COVID-19 can survive on the surfaces of your wheelchair or AT which you come in frequent contact with, such as the handrims. Any virus that might be on your hands is transferred to your handrims as you push your wheelchair.
WC AT COVID-19 Precautions 1mb 2020-03-27 0745 (pdf)
Information courtesy of Peter Axelson MSME, ATP, RET Manual wheelchair user and leader of Beneficial Designs.
At CANDO, we are acutely aware that unexpected changes require thoughtful support for persons with ASD or NDD. We have put together a list of resources to help with explaining COVID-19, ideas for creating supportive schedules for the day, and various activities to support positive interactions and successful engagement, including indoor movement activities! Please note that it is important to consider the youth’s developmental level when applying these strategies.