It's February 2023!
Wow, that went by fast, and now it is . . .
Valentine's Day!
We hope you enjoy and hold precious love and friendships in your hearts all year.
I'd like you to please take a look below to find information about Love on The Spectrum. They are looking for single women to join Season 2!
How cool would that be to join the Netflix series?

While you have been waiting to hear from us for a few months, it's because we have been busily expanding our programs and office space. We are in the same building in The Meadows Office Complex, 1130 Ten Rod Road, North Kingstown, RI, in a new and larger area: Building E, Suite 201. Please visit us anytime!

Our NEW Program, Building Inclusive Futures, is exclusively focused on youth transitioning to adult disability services and adults who are entering the RI service system for the first time. See below for the details, or contact us to learn more!

We are working as hard as ever in our Special Education Advocacy Program and looking for an additional Educational Advocate to assist families with their journey in and through the IEP (Individualized Education Program) and 504 (Americans with Disabilities Act) process. If you or anyone you know is fiercely passionate about educational advocacy, perhaps a former teacher or someone adept at learning education law and regulations, please let us know!

We also invite moms and dads to join our Special Education Circle, which meets on Mondays and serves as a resource to learn about special education processes in Rhode Island. It is an incredible support system for families raising children with special needs. Join the virtual meetings, learn, and get support from others who are or have been where you are!

Another important piece of news to report: The Ombudsman Office for Special Education was re-introduced for this session by its prime sponsor in The House, Representative Lauren Carson (D-District 75 Newport). Co-sponsors in The House are Rep. Cortvriend, Casimiro, McGar, and Shallcross Smith. The Bill Number is House 5166. Senator Melissa Murray (D-District 24 Woonsocket, North Smithfield) is our Senate prime sponsor; bill number is Senate 0063 with Co-sponsors: Senator DiPalma, Valverde, Lauria, Quezada, Bell, Felag, McKenney, DiMario, and Gu. Please support this bill by calling your representatives or testifying when it comes before the Education Committees (WHICH COULD BE SOON!)

That's all, folks…for now, at least! LOL
Happy Valentine's Day !
is looking for Single women to join Season 2!
The second season of Love On The Spectrum US, an Emmy-Award-winning documentary series on Netflix about dating and relationships featuring people on the Autism Spectrum, is currently looking for people to join the cast!

The series sends a positive message that people on the spectrum can and do find love! They are educating the audience about ASD by breaking down some of the myths, misconceptions, and stereotypical views. The show celebrates differences! 

It's important on show to tell the diverse stories of real people in their own voices.

They are currently in pre-production for the 2nd US Season and are looking to hear from ANYONE 18+ on the autism spectrum who might be interested in being a part of the series!
Love on the Spectrum is specifically targeting the CENTRAL MASS & surrounding areas, looking for A WOMAN who is around the ages 27-40 who may be interested in dating a really sweet man named JAMES from our previous season, in his 30s, on the Autism Spectrum, and lives in the Milford, MA area. The show would like to find someone that may share some of his interests such as cosplay, renaissance fairs, and hiking.

Would you happen to know any women that may fit that description?!
If you or someone you know is interested in speaking to the production team, please email: production@northernpictures.com.au
Be sure to include a photo!
She was born blind,
is a talented singer,
and loves to share her abilities!

Click the link to hear her version of Meghan Trainor's song,
"Made You Look"
...and share the LOVE!
What does it do?
Creates a VISION
Participants are actively involved in planning their future. With the use of person-centered planning tools, we intentionally focus on the preferences and required needs to live an inclusive life.
• Builds a LIFE PLAN
It includes building supports and provides resources for individualized future goals such as employment, further education, recreation, and housing.
• Utilizes the ACTION PLAN Participants are guided by the written strategies and action steps created in their Life Plan and make adjustments as wanted or as necessary.
Work with a LIFE COACH Through highly individualized weekly meetings, the Life Coach will mentor, encourage, guide, and record progress. The program assists participants and their families as they navigate life to pursue their dreams!

Spot Light On...
Building Inclusive Futures
What is it?
Building Inclusive Futures is a program that guides individuals with disabilities who are transitioning from childhood into adulthood. Individuals, with their loved ones, can discover their skills and explore further education or opportunities to embark on their desired careers. Together, the participants, their families, their loved ones, or trusted friends become a source of extraordinary support so that they can create a path for their future.

Who is it for?
Building Inclusive Futures focuses on youth in transition, young adults with disabilities, adults living with elderly parents, and adults newly entering the Rhode Island Disability Services. The Arc Rhode Island provides individuals with resources and referrals within the State of Rhode Island.
What is the goal?
Building Inclusive Futures Program's goal is to offer support, resources, and services to families, participants, and/or students (age 14 and over) transitioning from high school who want to be proactive and design their future.

For More Program Information:
Call Us (401)363-989
The Arc RI's Life Coach
Sara McKelvey
“It’s easy to get lost in an anxious mind, and we forget that the body has a lot of deep wisdom.”
- Sara McKelvey
Check Us Out On Social Media
Sara McKelvey is a Certified Trauma Life Coach for The Arc Rhode Island. A Rhode Island local, Sara lives in South County and is an avid surfer. She is certified in Trauma-Informed Care and holds a national certification. Her somatic approach to healing concentrates on treating the body and mind. Sara explained, “It’s easy to get lost in an anxious mind, and we forget that the body has a lot of deep wisdom.” Part of her technique includes meditation along with talk therapy. Each participant has their own personal one-to- one meeting. It is a deeply personal approach designed to fit their needs and wants. Sara’s practice fits perfectly with The Arc Rhode Island Building Inclusive Futures Program where she assists youth with disabilities and their families as they navigate life and plan a future to allow them to pursue their dreams!
When asked, do you have an experience you want to share to help us better understand your impact on youth in our Building Inclusive Futures Program? Sara replied, “The amount of reward correlates to how much work they put in.” She sees the immediate impact when they “…open themselves up to show the world how they want to be. It’s a rare opportunity for them to open up and build trusting relationships, and it's rewarding to see their personalities. They need someone to hear them and see them, someone outside of their families.”
She continued by saying, “Another immediate impact is the use of the virtual meeting software they use. They learn to schedule and participate which prepares them for future interactions with employers, for example.” The participants meet with Sara virtually every week and also meets with their families once a month to discuss progress to assist them in supporting their child’s transition from childhood to adulthood. She said, “The participant’s parents are in transition too, and they are so willing to help and learn.”
To learn more about The Arc Rhode Island’s Building Inclusive Futures,
call 401-363-9899
or email: tabares@thearc.org or scocchi@thearc.org
Special Education Ombudsman Bill
Students who need special services and support may not be getting the same education as other children in their classes, and, as a result, they struggle to succeed.
Rhode Island Special Education Is in Trouble:
Why do we need a Rhode Island Special Education Ombudsman?
Access to special education services and related services in Rhode Island is frustrating, complex, and often confusing. Families are often expected to teach themselves Special Education law, advocate for the student's rights, and hold schools accountable if they fail to provide the support and services to meet their child’s unique needs. Over the years, it has led to a breakdown of trust between families, their local schools, their school districts, and The RI Department of Education.
When disabled students are provided with appropriate education services, their life outcomes significantly improve:
  • Reducing dependence on Rhode Island and Federal social services.
  • Stems the flow of students from a school to prison pipeline.
  • Educates the students with skills necessary to further their education.
  • Prepares them to enter the workforce.
  • Live independently, build friendships with a network of personal support
  • Lead healthy, productive lives within inclusive Rhode Island communities!
Students living with disabilities and their families who advocate for them face enormous challenges. Since the 70s, our Federal and State Governments have enacted rules, regulations, and laws to protect the education of our children. Our country's stated purpose is:
…..to ensure that all children with disabilities have available
to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education
and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them
for further education, employment and independent living….(and) to ensure
that the rights of children with disabilities are parents of such children are
protected… IDEA 20 U.S.C. SS 1400
Provides critical advocacy, information, referrals, and guidance for families who are raising children who are living with disabilities. 
The Office will work with local schools and state agencies to ensure quality Special Education Services are provided statewide and to ensure compliance. The Ombudsman is a WATCHDOG who will collect data on number and types of complaints and, when appropriate and necessary, may serve and investigate administrative actions of The Rhode Island Department of Education. 

It has the authority to:
  • Monitor the department’s special education complaint and dispute resolution processes to ensure transparency and accountability.
  • Investigate, on complaint or on the ombud’s own initiative, any administrative act by the department pertaining to special education services.
  • Assist students and guardians in protecting the educational rights of students, which may include assisting students and guardians in individualized education plan meetings or other proceedings pursuant to IDEA.
  • Under limited circumstances and investigate related actions taken by a local education agency or school.
  • Promulgate rules and regulations required for the discharge of the Ombudsman duties.
and our parent advocates, SPEAR, and speak to your representatives in the Senate and House to support and pass the 2023 Ombudsman Bill. With your help we can eliminate inequalities in our local schools!

Ed Department Urges Schools
To Limit Suspensions Of
Students With Disabilities
The U.S. Department of Education is calling on schools to avoid the use of suspensions and other similar practices when disciplining students with disabilities.
The agency wants “state and local leaders to double down on their efforts to reduce their reliance on exclusionary discipline practices,” and to instead focus on “creating safe, predictable learning environments for students and educators.”
The message is relayed in a blog post this week from Valerie C. Williams, director of the Education Department’s Office of Special Education Programs.