Category: Education

Accessible Massachusetts

It’s summer and it’s been very warm outside. You may be looking for things to do for fun. You may want to find accessible places to go. We’ve made a fact sheet with some ideas for you. There are some accessible hotel and transportation options. 

Areas in Massachusetts include:

  • Boston
  • Berkshires
  • Cape Cod
  • North Shore 

Recreation includes:

  • Accessible Day Cruises and Tours
  • Accessible Seating at Sports Venues
  • Accessible Trails 
  • Massachusetts State Parks and Programs for people with disabilities Accessible Massachusetts

Free Tax Help and Income Tax Filing Resources 2023

Tax season is here. It’s time to file state and federal income taxes. Taxes are due by 4/18/23.

We have resources for people with disabilities, seniors, immigrants, and low income families. Please check each site for eligibility requirements. Income tax help is available in all areas of the state.

Many people need help with their taxes. You can get help and answers to your questions.

Free Tax Help and Income Tax Filing Fact sheet

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:

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.

INDEX News and Updates

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.

Info for Self-Advocates

We recently added a new page Info for Self-Advocates on 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

Wheelchair and Assistive Technology Users ATTENTION: PRECAUTIONS for COVID-19

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.


Making Documents Accessible


Do you want people with disabilities to read your writing? You should make it accessible.

  • Describe pictures in your documents to help people who have trouble seeing. Make your descriptions easy to understand.
  • Newer versions of Microsoft Word have an accessibility checker. Run it to see if you need to change anything.
  • Write short, clear sentences.
  • When you are making PDFs, websites, or printed documents, use fonts that are easy to read. These fonts include Trebuchet, Verdana, and Tahoma. They are good because you can tell some letters like capital I and lowercase L apart.
  • If you can, print documents in Braille. Many blind people need Braille to read printed documents.