Category: Health

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

INDEX COVID-19 Emergency Information Update

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

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

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

COVID-19 Communication Boards and Tools

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

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

Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center (CANDO) COVID-19 ASD Resources and Information (pdf)

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.

ASD Resources