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September 15, 2022
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Pennsylvania News

ODP Announces 30 Day Public Comment Period

The Department of Human Services is accepting comments on Pennsylvania’s Final Statewide Transition Plan (STP) for Home and Community-Based Services which can be accessed at HERE

Comments will be accepted no later than 11:59 pm on September 22, 2022. Stakeholders may provide public comment through one of the following methods:

  1. Electronic comments submitted via email - Stakeholders are asked to use the subject header “PA Final STP” and submit comments to the following mailbox:
  2. Written comments submitted via mail - Mailing address: Department of Human Services, Office of the Secretary, P. O. Box 2675, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2675.

PATC 2022: Call for Provider Presentation Proposals
Deadline: September 26, 2022

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) is requesting proposals that focus on the lived experience of professionals who provide support for individuals on the autism spectrum to present at the 2022 Pennsylvania Autism Training Conference: #PATCImplement2022. They will be highlighting the concept of implementing Positive Behavioral Support (PBS) practices. They want to give you the opportunity to share your PBS experiences, challenges, and successes.

To learn more about requirements and format click here

The Arc of Erie to Host 2022 Buddy Walk

You are invited to participate in The Arc Erie County 2022 Buddy Walk on Saturday, September 24, 2022, hosted by The Erie Sports Center.  This will be a fun-filled day for your entire family, a time to meet with organizations that provide services and to raise money for The Arc of Erie County, a member of the Achieva Family of Organizations  so that we can provide more services in the greater Erie area.  We are currently providing educational and adult advocacy services and family supports in Erie and surrounding counties, but we need your support to serve more families.   If you have a family member with a disability, work with children or adults with disabilities or just want to support people with disabilities and their families, join us!  You will be glad you did!

There is a $20 per person registration fee that includes a Buddy Walk t-shirt.  Every dollar counts and is appreciated!  For more information about The Arc’s services or the Buddy Walk, contact Katherine Reim, Executive Director, at or 888-272-7729 or

Register here. 

PA Developmental Disabilities Council Seeking Nominations for Council Members

PADDC is seeking nominations for Council members who are:

  • Individuals with developmental disabilities; 
  • Parents of children with developmental disabilities; or
  • Family members of adults with developmental disabilities

The PA Developmental Disabilities Council (PADDC) empowers individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to help shape policies that impact them. We have reopened our application process and are looking for people from diverse backgrounds to apply. Pennsylvania is a state with great diversity in race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, military/veteran status, disability, location, and lived experience, and we desire a Council that reflects that diversity. We believe that our differences make us stronger, and we encourage people from different backgrounds who believe they have something to contribute to the Council to apply.

You can nominate yourself, a family member or friend, or a leader in the community who is willing to serve. Please see our page with frequently asked questions (FAQ) to learn more about what it means to be a Council member and how the Council works. Nomination Forms are also available on the page.

PA Developmental Disabilities Council Announce Grant Opportunities 
Deadline: October 26, 2022


The Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council (PADDC) announced the release of their Request for Application (RFA) book for the 2022-2026 State Plan. The RFA includes 15 grant opportunities that begin in July of 2023. The deadline to submit applications for these grants is Wednesday, October 26, 2022.

Download the RFA and learn more here


Disability in the News


Department of Homeland Security Finalizes “Public Charge” Immigration Rule

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has finalized a rule defining the criteria it uses when determining whether a person can be denied a visa and/or legal residency because they are likely to become a “public charge.” The final rule comes on the heels of the proposed rule, published February 24, 2022, and is the latest chapter in a long series of regulatory and legal actions surrounding the public charge policy. It includes several provisions that directly affect older immigrants and immigrants with disabilities, their families and caregivers.

For more information and background on the history of the public charge policy, see ACL's March 2022 blog post on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the July 2021 blog post on the history of public charge rulemaking as well as resources from the Department of Homeland Security. 

National Autism Care Network Expands

"A one-of-a-kind national network of autism centers designed to transform how care is developed and provided to those on the spectrum and their families is growing. The Autism Care Network is adding five new sites, bringing the Autism Speaks-backed collaboration to 25 locations in the U.S. and Canada."

Read article here

Ed Department Wants Input On Improving IDEA Scorecards

"Every year the U.S. Department of Education evaluates how well each state is meeting its obligations to students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Now, the agency is seeking feedback as it considers changes to the process. The Education Department is asking for ideas about how to prioritize equity in its approach to assessing state performance."

Read article here

Feds Seek To Remove Medicaid Barriers For Those With Disabilities

"With a plan to overhaul the enrollment process, federal officials say they are taking steps to make it easier for people with disabilities to gain Medicaid coverage and keep it. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is proposing a new rule designed to simplify the application and verification processes for people seeking coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program known as CHIP."

Read article here

Autism Diagnosis Has A Gender Bias Problem

"In a new study published in the journal, JCPP Advancesa team of psychologists found that the process of diagnosing individuals with autism can be improved by taking into consideration the differences in the way men and women process and act upon their emotions."

Read article here


New Drug Shows Promise for Autism-Linked Syndromes

"A new drug candidate shows promise in reducing seizures in children with epilepsy linked to autism, according to a study published in Epilepsia.  The drug, called soticlestat, has completed phase 2 clinical trials. It must complete phase 3 trials before being approved for use."

Read article here

Virtual care: Ensuring All Patients Have Access

"Recently issued guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services describes how to avoid unintentional discrimination in the use of virtual care tools. The aim is to provide a reminder that nondiscrimination laws apply regardless of the setting in which care is delivered or the modality used to deliver the care."

Read article here

Operation House Call Pairs Medical Students, Special Needs Families for Lessons in Compassionate Care

"First-year students in the T.H. Chan School of Medicine at UMass Chan Medical School will develop skills to enhance the compassionate care of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities this fall, thanks to the perseverance of third-year medical student Naaz Daneshvar.

Operation House Call is a course offered by The Arc of Massachusetts in which families serve as teachers to prepare students to interact with patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A highlight of the course is when students visit participating families to observe and understand how family members and their loved ones with special needs communicate and connect. The experiences help students see their patients as people first, rather than a diagnosis.

Read article here

Meet Bruno the Brake Car, Thomas the Tank Engine's Autistic Friend

"Children's TV show "Thomas & Friends" is introducing its first autistic character, in a bid to diversify on-screen representation.Bruno, a "joyful, pun-making brake car," will make his debut this month, US toy giant Mattel said in a press release.

The new series regular will be voiced by autistic actors Chuck Smith, 10, and Elliot Garcia, 9, in the US and the UK, respectively, the company said."

Read article here

PA Office of Developmental Programs


ODP Announcement 22-105: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) COVID-19 Vaccine and Boosters

Statewide Quarterly Positive Approaches & Practices Meeting: October 21, 2022 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM Suicide Prevention and Intervention

ODP Announcement 22-106: Registration Now Open for October Certified Investigator (CI) Forum & How to Access CI Forum Q & A

PATC Call for Provider Presentation Proposals - Deadline Extended Documents

PATC 2022 Registration Open

ODP Announcement 22-104: Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) COVID-19 Vaccine and Boosters

ODP Announcement 22-103: Restrictive Procedures in the Adult Autism Waiver (AAW)

Now Available: Claim and Service Documentation Training and Virtual Office Hours

MyODP News Online Digest - August 27 through September 2, 2022

ODPANN 22-102 Home and Community Services Information System (HCSIS) 90.05 Release Newsletter Now Available 

ODP Announcement 22-101: Medication Administration Platform Student Courses and Webinar Available on September 8, 2022

ODP Announcement 22-085: UPDATE Clarification for Supports Coordination Organizations on Resuming SC In-Person Monitorings

New Times Available: Scheduled One-on-One Incident Management (IM) Virtual Office Hours (VOH)

Legislative Updates from Katie Yost 


  • Senator Baker has introduced Senate Bill 1333, which seeks to update Pennsylvania Guardianship Laws by appointing counsel for alleged incapacitated persons when none has already been retained; certifying professional guardians; ensuring the courts first explore alternatives to guardianship; and requiring that petitions for guardianship demonstrate that less restrictive alternatives were considered and why they are insufficient. This legislation has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Commitee. 
 "Learn More"



PA DD Council's Self-Advocate Spotlight

September 15, 2022 from 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

The Pennsylvania Disabilities Council (PADDC) will be hosting The Self Advocate Spotlight Series, which highlights how self - advocates are demonstrating their own leadership skills, while also using their voices to mentor others.

Featured for September is Mark Steidl. Mark (and support staff, Lilly Abreu) is the founder of Self Advocacy Voices, a self advocate led organization in Western PA.

Register Here. 

Supported Decision Making Panel Discussion
September 19, 2022 from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

The Pennsylvania Disabilities Council (PADDC) will be hosting a Supported Decision Making Panel Discussion. Supported decision making allows a person with disabilities to make their own decisions. It is an alternative to guardianship. Supported decision making is meant to be flexible in how it is applied from individual to individual and even how it is applied to the same individual over time.

Join the PADDC for this panel discussion that will provide a general overview of supported decision making and discuss what is happening nationally on this topic.

Register Here. 
The Arc of PA's Voting Rights Webinar Series - Part 1 (Self-Advocates)
September 20, 2022 from 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

The Arc of Pennsylvania is hosting a for a webinar presented by Disability Rights Pennsylvania on understanding disability voter rights and Pennsylvania’s rules. This webinar is geared toward individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Register Here. 

The Arc US' Engagement in the Early Intervention Program Planning Process for Parents and Professionals
September 20, 2022 from 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

The process of program planning in early intervention and special education can be challenging at times. This webinar will provide an overview and brief history of IDEA Part C & B, program planning requirements, and strategies that support more meaningful engagement in early intervention programs.

Register Here. 

The Arc US' Promising Practices for People with Dual Diagnosis
September 22, 2022 at 2:00 PM

Join The Arc US for a presentation about promising programmatic practices for people with dual diagnosis. Get an overview of community-based service promising practices for an emerging, dually diagnosed population.

Learning objectives:
  • Community based program modalities and promising clinical practices, including residential, employment, and meaningful day curriculum, plus treatment and programming integration and oversight
  • Challenges and opportunities in supporting this population, including internal and external stakeholder collaboration and communication
  • Staffing support and training needs

Register Here. 

The Voices of People with Disabilities and Older Adults - Strengthening Advocacy in the HCBS Settings Rule - Webinar
September 23, 2022 at 2:00 PM

The Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Settings Rule can improve community-based services and supports for people with disabilities and older adults for decades to come. A key requirement of the Settings Rule is that states hear from people with disabilities and older adults about how the state can best implement the Rule.

ACL is hosting this webinar to provide participants with an opportunity to learn when and how to invite and/or provide feedback on state efforts to comply with the rule. Presenters will share key dates, strategies, and examples of how powerful the voices of people with lived experience can be in creating more opportunities for choice and control in service delivery, and advancing the quality of services. 

Register Here

The Arc of PA's Voting Rights Webinar Series - Part 2 (Caregivers & Direct Support Professionals)
September 27, 2022 from 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

The Arc of Pennsylvania is hosting a for a webinar presented by Disability Rights Pennsylvania on understanding disability voter rights and Pennsylvania’s rules. This webinar is geared towards caregivers and direct support professionals. 

Register Here

The Arc of PA's Customized Job Development Training - Via Zoom
October 3 - 5, 2022 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

The Arc of Pennsylvania's Customized Job Development training will teach attendees the skills needed to find jobs that meet both the needs of an individual with disabilities while matching the needs of an employer. After the training, attendees seeking certification will then complete approximately 40 hours of fieldwork with a learning partner.

Register Here

ODP Virtual Office Hours
October 4, 2022 from 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

These virtual office hours will be in follow up to the August 4th webinar on claim and service documentation training. You can access a recording of the presentation here. ODP will address frequently asked questions and reserve time to answer additional questions. Attendees are encouraged to view the August webinar prior to the VOH.

Register Here

OMHSAS and ODP's Statewide Quarterly Positive Approaches & Practices Meeting
October 21, 2022 from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

The Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) and the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) host a quarterly Statewide Positive Approaches & Practices Meeting. This meeting aims to provide the most recent research and resources for people with mental health and behavioral challenges, intellectual disabilities, autism, and other developmental disabilities to live an everyday life. The topic of this meeting is 'Suicide Prevention and Intervention'.

Register Here
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The Arc of Pennsylvania
1007 Mumma Road, Suite 100
Lemoyne, PA 17043
717.234.2621 | 1-800-692-7258
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The Arc of Pennsylvania 
Serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
Sherri Landis, Executive Director
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