Disability Updates, Community News and Events

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The Arc Mid-South Events

2017 Weekend Retreats

The Arc Mid-South has provided Respite Weekend Retreats for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 30 years.  Formatted to be "mini-camps", the weekend retreats are staffed with a ratio of 3:1 and offer social, recreational, and educational activities to participants while helping campers achieve greater independence.  Any individual capable of participating in a group setting and at least the age of 8 may be eligible to attend. 

Our retreats start with check-in on Friday at 7pm and end on Sunday at 12 noon. Campers will enjoy a variety of activities and fun with their peers.

If you are interested in registering or for additional information please call (901) 327-2473 or info@thearcmidsouth.org.   We look forward to having you! Click here to view 2017 Weekend Retreats Schedule


Other Events in the Community

Disability Updates 

Revised Edition of the STEP Parent Manual Now Available Online

The STEP Parent Manual has been THE "go-to" resource for families who have children and youth with disabilities, and those who work with them, for over 25 years.

This resource, produced by Support & Training for Exceptional Parents, which houses Tennessee's Parent Training and Information Center contains:

  • Federal Laws and Regulations on IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
  • Section 504 the Rehabilitation Act Rules & Regulations
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Regulations
  • State Laws, Rules, and Policies
  • Tennessee State Board of Education Chapter 0520-1-09 Special Education Programs and Services Rules Part B
  • Education Advocacy for Parents - Tips for Parents
  • National and State Resources with contact information

The newly released 26th edition includes:

  • 2014 Tennessee Specific Eligibility Standards
  • Sample letters requesting evaluations (including RTIĀ² when being discussed)
  • Additions to the national and Tennessee resource sections  

How Can You Access This Fabulous Resource?

  • Download for FREE in a searchable PDF format at www.tnstep.org/pdf/ParentManual.pdf
  • Family members receive a FREE print or CD-ROM when they attend an in-person Basic Rights: A Parent's Introduction to Special Education Workshop
  • View the NEW YouTube video workshop series on Basic Rights at www.youtube.com/TNStep and choose a print or CD-ROM upon completion
  • Purchase a print copy for $30.00 by emailing a request to information@tnstep.org


Quality of Life Research Study for Families Affected by Intellectual Disability 

To all parents with a child of any age with intellectual disability:

The Disability Research Program at Wheaton College, in collaboration with Vanderbilt University, invites you to participate in an anonymous survey to help understand and improve the quality of life for families affected by intellectual disability.  Forty parents will be randomly selected to receive a $25 gift card for completing the survey. Researchers will use what they learn to create a free guide for all families who participate and the organizations that serve them. More information is available at www.wheaton.edu/FQOL-study

How can you participate in this research project?

If you are the parent or primary caregiver/legal guardian of an individual of any age with an intellectual disability you can take the survey online by clicking on this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/disabilityresearch (or by copying link into a web browser). However, if you desire a print version of the survey, please e-mail Thomas Boehm at thomas.boehm@wheaton.edu, call him at (630) 752-5937, or send the following information by mail: Your Name, E-mail, Street Address, City, State, Zip Code, Telephone #. Mail to: Thomas Boehm, Education Dept., 501 College Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187-5593. 


Social Security - Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Application Window for Youth Exiting Foster Care Extended

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that beginning August 1, 2016 youth who are blind or who have disabilities may apply for SSI benefits up to 180 days prior to the end of their eligibility for foster care. The current window for application is 90 days prior to the end of eligibility for foster care, which in most states ends at age 18. This extended application period will be in effect as a one-year pilot. After the one-year trial period, SSA will determine whether to make the policy permanent.

Applying for Employment & Community First waiver program 

The new Employment and Community First waiver program is now open!  Individuals with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities not currently receiving Medicaid waiver services can apply for the new Employment and Community First program.

What's the Employment and Community First [ECF] program?
Read "New 'Employment and Community First' Program: An Effort to Serve More People and Expand Options", written by the TennCare Long-Term Services and Supports Team.  This will give you some information about what the program is and who qualifies for it.  

How can I apply for the ECF program?

  • The ECF program is now open!  
  • You can fill out a "self-referral online form" on the TennCare homepage to apply for the program. The form will be posted and available at www.tn.gov/tenncare 
If you have any questions, feel free to contact the West Tennessee DIDD office at (866) 372-5709.  


Individualized Education Account (IEA) Information and Resources 

The Individualized Education Account Program creates individualized education accounts (IEAs) for eligible students with disabilities to use for educational purposes. The program provides options for parents of certain students with disabilities to choose the educational opportunities that best meet the individual needs of their child by giving them direct access to state and local public education funds associated with their child.  

If you have any questions, please email IEA.Questions@tn.gov


ABLE TN Accounts - available now!

State Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. announced the opening of ABLE TN, Tennessee's own Achieving a Better Life Experience program. Eligible individuals can now begin opening ABLE accounts through our online portal at AbleTN.gov! To help determine eligibility for those interested, we have created ABLE Assist, an interactive guide available through our website.

A program of the Tennessee Treasury Department, ABLE TN accounts will allow the opportunity to save and invest with tax-free earnings to help individuals with disabilities maintain independence and quality of life. ABLE TN will offer participants the ability to select from 14 diverse investment options, the same top performing investment options available through TNStarsĀ® College Savings 529 Program, which has been consistently ranked top 5 in the country by www.savingforcollege.com.  

Visit our new and improved website at AbleTN.gov to learn more and open an account today!

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