September 2018 Newsletter

September 2018 Newsletter

March 22, 2018 News 0

Message from the Chairman:

If you’re like me, your mailbox is often filled with appeals from a wide range of nonprofit organizations that want your financial support to help them fulfill their mission. If you’ve supported them in the past, it’s because you believe in the work they do, and you have a positive opinion that whatever amount you send, your money will make a difference. And if you’re like me, you recognize that you can’t support every worthwhile organization; you have to make some tough decisions about which organizations to support.

Some nonprofit organizations have huge development budgets that can be spent on fancy brochures, sizable staffs, constant publicity, and lavish fundraising events. They operate on the principle that “you have to spend money to make money,” and they are incredibly successful in their efforts.

But that’s not how AFAM works. Since our founding 14 years ago, we have been a grass-roots organization, operating on the efforts of a dedicated group of volunteers who devote their time as representatives of our member organizations, who serve as members of all-volunteer committees, who show up at legislative hearings, and who heed our calls to contact their legislators to advocate for passage of important registration.

We take pride in what we have accomplished, but we know that there is much more to be done on behalf of the individuals and families who are touched by ASD. But we cannot do it alone.. If we are to build our capacity, we need to secure greater financial support from those we serve – and that’s where you come in. When you think about the organizations you want to support, I hope you will decide that AFAM is one of them!

You can now make a secure online donation to AFAM via PayPal! Just visit our website

( and click on the Donation button. If you prefer, you can mail your check to AFAM, 217 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453.

Your financial support makes our ongoing advocacy possible! Thank you for your support.

Michael Borr

Government Affairs

The 190th legislative session began with great progress for the FY2019 budget and AFAM’s priority bills. AFAM helped move our top priority bills through Joint Committees and onto Ways and Means and the Rules Committee.

Each bill had a successful hearing where many AFAM members provided written or oral testimony. Our Government Affairs team had an impact through many key meetings and phone calls with State House leaders. AFAM collaborated with The Arc of Massachusetts on many bills and facilitated an “Advocacy Day” for Nicky’s Law – a bill to protect the safety of people with autism and other disabilities. Although Nicky’s Law was unanimously approved by the State Senate, it never reached the House for a vote because of the crush of high-priority legislation in the closing hours of the legislative session. We are hopeful, however, that it may be taken up during an informal session before the end of the year.

Using AFAM’s email list and social media, we made hundreds of contacts to Representatives and Senators, including the Speaker of the House, regarding our priority bills.

Along with Nicky’s Law, AFAM hopes to move the following bills forward through informal sessions; Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment, and Criminal Justice Training in Autism. These bills also had great support but were unable to get to the floor of the House for voting, as the legislative session came to an end with many larger bills taking priority.

On the budget side, we had a successful session in terms of the Governor’s budget. The DDS budget funding increased significantly. The Senate and the House provided some additional increases and the Conference Committee came through by supporting our higher asks for multiple DDS and MassHealth line items. Even with Governor’s vetoes, our legislators continued to support our priorities by overriding those vetoes.

AFAM will continue our work is through to the end of the session even as we prepare for the next. Any questions on our bills that are still in play or budget line items that support people with autism, please contact Maura Sullivan at

News and Announcements

AFAM is looking for volunteers. Please inquire how you can help whether by serving on one of our committees, volunteering at the State House at our annual Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day event in April, or simply being on call to help with mailing or other important items that need to be done. You need only to call our office, 781-981-6270, and speak with Judy Zacek, who can answer any questions you may have.

The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism will hold its 19th Annual Golf Classic on Monday, September 17 at the prestigious Brae Burn Country Club in Newton, MA. Since its inception, this tournament has raised more than $4 million to provide support and services to thousands of children and families living with autism each year. The day features 18 holes of championship golf in a scramble format, ensuring players of all abilities will enjoy the tournament. Each player will feast on a delicious lunch and dinner and compete for prizes along the course. An auction and awards dinner will round out the day. Reserve your sport today by calling 508-270-8855 or visit the Flutie Foundation’s website:

The Autism Support Center, Northeast Arc will present a program about its Adult Family Care (AFC) program on Friday, September 21 at Lawrence Tower (60 Island Street, Lawrence – first Floor Conference Room #104). This presentation will be offered in Spanish. Presenter: Ivonne Sanchez, Bilingual Case Manager, Northeast Arc AFC Program. To register, contact Gloria Ricardi Castillo at or 978-624-2301 or call Maribel Goglas (978-851-7261, ext. 4055.

HMEA’S Autism Resource Central will hold Wild About Wine, wine tasting and light refreshments at Southwick Zoo on Friday, September 21 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The event is for those over age 21 only. Guests will be able to visit the zoo after hours and the skyride will be open! This is a fundraiser for the organization’s newly-launched Respitality Initiative. Cost is $50 per person; $350 for a table for 8.

The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism will hold its 19th Annual Flutie 5K on Sunday, September 30 at the Metrowest Medical Center in Natick. The Flutie 5K is a timed run, walk, stroll that mobilizes more than 1,000 people to raise awareness of autism and support for the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism. The monies raised help fund innovative programs and strategic partnerships that are making a difference for people living with autism. This year’s race will feature: Dri-Fit shirts for the first 800 registered runners; prizes for top fundraisers and team captains; a post-race luncheon hosted by Wegmans; music, kids’ activities, and an awards ceremony. For more information and to register, visit

The Autism Support Center, Northeast Arc presents Support Group for Arab Families Raising a Child with Autism, on Tuesday, October 2 for 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Cambridge Health Alliance (195 Canal Street, Malden). Presenter: Jennifer Duchemin, Assistant Program Director, Northeast Arc Adult Famly Care Program. Facilitators: Salima Slimane and Gloria Ricardi Castillo (Co-Director, Autism Support Center). Childcare on Site will be provided, but you must call in advance. Refreshments will be served. RSVP to or 978-624-2301.

SAVE THE DATE! The 2018 Autism Speaks Walk will be held on Sunday, October 14 on Boston Common, with registration beginning at 9:00 a.m.

AANE will hold its annual Daniel W. Rosenn Connections Conference on Monday, October 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Boston University’s George Sherman Union Ballroom (775 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. The presenter is Professor Tony Attwood, a renowned clinical psychologist who has specialized in autism/Asperger’s Syndrome for more than 40 years. He will present on two important and relevant topics during the day: Special Interests: The Origins of te Special Interests and the Use and Misuse of the Interest; and Independence and Interdependence. This conference is a great opportunity to connect with other adults on the spectrum, parents, family members, and professionals. For complete details, and to register, visit

The Autism Support Center, Northeast Arc will offer a Full day AAC Training: Integrating Core Vocabulary in the School Setting on Friday, October 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton Boston North (50 Ferncroft Road, Danvers. Presented by Cortney Manholtz, Saltillo Corporation. Cost is $60 per person; breakfast and box lunch included. 0.5 ASHA CEU’s available. For further information and registration, contact Gloria Ricardi Castillo gcastillo@ne- or call 978-777-9135.

The Charles River Center will offer Wings for Autism, a free program specifically designed to support families of children with autism, creating a travel test run to help ease the stress of airline travel. The date is November 3 and the program is held at Boston’s Logan Airport.

By getting comfortable with the airport and flight experience (without actually leaving the airport) parents and their children with special needs can gain the familiarity and confidence they need to take future trips. During this free, half-day event, children and their families are able to familiarize themselves with the airport and travel procedures. They experience …

  • Entering the airport
  • The check-in process and checking bags
  • Security screening
  • Boarding the plane
  • Preparing for take-off
  • Exiting the plane

Practicing these steps helps establish a travel routine—so important for many children with autism who rely on repetition and structure. To sign up, visit

The Massachusetts General Hospital Lurie Center is offering a series of small-group informational workshops for parents, caregivers and families about Understanding the Guardianship Process in Massachusetts. All sessions will take place at the MGH Lurie Center (1 Maguire Road, Lexington). Please Note: These workshops are provided by a parent/ professional, are not intended to provide legal assistance or advice, rather they are informational only. Referrals to legal experts are provided as needed.

The first series, Guardianship 101: Learn the Basics of the Guardianship Process, provides an overview of what guardianship is and how it is determined in Massachusetts; the types of guardianships (including limited, Rogers); how to decide if your child needs a guardian and alternatives to consider; a review of how to begin the process and what the Massachusetts probate court requires; the steps you need to follow and a suggested timeline to prepare for your child turning age 18. Guardianship 101 is offered on the first and third Friday of most months, from Noon to 1:00 p.m. The fee: is $20 per person/family. Registration is required: phone 781-860-1700.

The second series, Guardianship 102: Learn the Step-by-Step Process for court required Paperwork, offers a more hand-on group tutorial and will include: where you are in the process and moving forward; a review of relevant checklists for each attendee; guidance with probate court processes and referral to legal resources as needed; guidance on filling out required documentation (petition, bond, citation/giving notice, care plan); and a question and answer session. Guardianship 102 is offered on the second and fourth Thursday of most months from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The fee is $50 for individual/family for regularly scheduled group time; $100 for individual appointments. You must specify at the time you call.. Registration is required: phone 781-860-1700.page5image6632




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