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April 14, 2022
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Pennsylvania News

OCDEL Offers Access to Healthy Minds App for Pennsylvania Early Childhood Educators

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) recognizes that after two-years of coping with the pandemic, life in the early childhood education (ECE) profession is nowhere near back to a normal state of operation. OCDEL sees and hears the ECE professionals who are learning to cope with their personal trauma from this global event while also supporting the children and families in the commonwealth. We know children are coming into the early childhood settings with unique challenges and needs. As OCDEL works to develop and implement strategies to support the children, we also recognize the caring, committed adults deserve support.

All Pennsylvania early childhood professionals will have 2-years of free access to the Healthy Minds app, Healthy Minds@Work!
Your access can be found on the Pennsylvania Key website where you will:

  1. Search for your Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region,
  2. Click on the link and you will be directed to the login page for Healthy Minds.
  3. After that, just download the app on your smart phone device and get started.

Update on ODP’s Expectation for Resuming In-Person Individual Monitoring Conducted by SCs

The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) is requiring Supports Coordinators (SCs) to conduct an in-person monitoring with individuals that fall into the following priority list on their caseload that they have not seen in-person during this current Fiscal Year (FY) 2021/22 by the end of the FY, June 30, 2022.

  • Individuals who live alone that have not had an in-person monitoring during this FY;
  • Individuals who did not receive an in-person service from a Provider during this FY;
  • Individuals supported in a licensed residential setting that is currently under licensing sanctions or license revocation; and
  • Newly-enrolled individuals who have never had an in-person monitoring visit with their assigned SC.

An additional in-person monitoring visit is not required for those individuals who have already been seen in-person by the SC during this FY unless there are health and safety concerns.

Also, ODP recognizes that every individual has a different comfort level with in-person visits. Use the guidance and talking points in the Tip Sheet during your conversations with individuals and families to help them feel comfortable with an in-person visit.

Access the recording here

ARPA Supplemental Payment to Address Staff Training, Credentialing, and Business Associates Programs for Employment - Recording Available

On April 4, 2022, the Office of Developmental Programs presented a question and answer (Q&A) session on the use of ARPA funding in helping to increase staff qualifications, pay, and recruiting.

Access the recording here

PA Treasurer Visits Susquehanna Service Dogs to Celebrate 5th Anniversary of PA ABLE

"Treasurer Stacy Garrity and state Sen. Chris Gebhard (R-48) visited the new Susquehanna Service Dogs (SSD) training facility in Grantville to highlight the 5th anniversary of the PA ABLE Savings Program. They were joined by a representative from the office of state Rep. Sue Helm (R-104).

SSD Executive Director Deb Tack and Keystone Human Services President and CEO Charles Hooker, III, led the group on a tour of SSD’s new, state-of-the-art training facility."

Read the article here

Statewide Taskforce Seeks Ways to Improve Court Dealings with Autistic, Intellectually Disabled Offenders

"The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has created a task force focused on issues affecting individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities who are involved in the justice system. Included among the task force members are Snyder-Union President Judge Michael H. Sholley, Snyder County Children and Youth Services Director Jennifer Napp Evans.

With one in 46 children and one in 59 Pennsylvanians diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, judges hearing juvenile, orphans, and family court cases are often dealing with autistic individuals."

Read the article here

Pennsylvania’s Equity in Early Childhood Education Champion Award Winners

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is honored to recognize the work of the early childhood education programs and professionals on behalf of Pennsylvania children and their families through embracing diversity and full inclusion as strengths, upholding fundamental principles of fairness and justice, and working to eliminate structural inequities that limit equitable learning opportunities.

For more information about equity in Pennsylvania's early learning setting visit the Pennsylvania Key website, and check out the list of awardees.


Disability in the News

The Launch of

The Biden Administration launched, a new website to help people access vaccines, tests, treatments, and high-quality masks. is available in English, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese and is accessible for those using assistive technologies.

For individuals with disabilities who may need additional support, the Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) is also available to help at 1-888-677-1199 or via email at

Organization Works to Improve Skills of Autistic Children

"A local organization specializing in autism held its monthly Building Connections LEGO Social Club.

The club’s efforts go towards improving social interactions and community skills for children and teens with social difficulties associated with an autism spectrum disorder."

Read more here

Care in Crisis: Disability Rights Advocates Rally at U.S. Capitol to Demand Care Investment

"At the culmination of our recent Disability Policy Seminar, disability rights advocates—including chapter staff and families—rallied in front of the U.S. Capitol in support of disability rights."

Read more here

‘Sesame Street’ Welcomes New Muppet With Disability

"The people behind “Sesame Street” are introducing a new Muppet who uses a wheelchair in an effort to spotlight children with disabilities around the world."

Read article here

HHS to Provide $110 Million to Strengthen Safety Net for Seniors and People with Disabilities

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will offer more than $110 million to expand access to home and community-based services (HCBS) through Medicaid’s Money Follows the Person (MFP) program. First authorized in 2005, MFP has provided states with $4.06 billion to support people who choose to transition out of institutions and back into their homes and communities. The new Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) makes individual awards of up to $5 million available for more than 20 states and territories not currently participating in MFP. These funds will support initial planning and implementation to get the state/territory programs off the ground, which would ensure more people with Medicaid can receive high-quality, cost-effective, person-centered services in a setting they choose.

Read full press release here

Delays For Autism Diagnosis And Treatment Grew Even Longer During The Pandemic

"Wylie James Prescott, 3, had to wait more than a year after his autism diagnosis to begin behavioral therapy, even though research shows early treatment of autism can be crucial for children’s long-term development."

Read article here

PA Office of Developmental Programs

ODPANN 22-039: Transition of Individuals Into a Nursing Facility (NF)

Best Practices in Behavioral Support Survey

Recording Now Available:  ARPA Supplemental Payment to Address Staff Training, Credentialing, and Business Associates Programs for Employment

Recording Now Available: Update on the Office of Developmental Programs' (ODP) Expectation for Resuming In-Person Individual Monitoring Conducted By Supports Coordinators

ODP Announcement 22-038: : Adult Autism Waiver (AAW) Provider Information Table Updated

ODP Announcement 22-037: Dual Diagnosis Professional Conference Series May 11, 2022: Ensuring Responsive Support Options for Persons with Intellectual and Other Developmental Disabilities and Problematic Sexual Behaviors

ODP 22-019 UPDATE: COVID-19 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding for Respite and Family Driven Support Services (FDSS)

Registration Now Open--2022 Everyday Lives Conference

ODP Announcement 22-036: Announcing an Online Tool for Reporting Residential Vacancies

Legislative Updates from Katie Yost 


  • Representative Matt Dowling has introduced a co-sponsorship memo indicating his intent to introduce legislation to raise the $40 million cap on Realty Transfer Tax revenues deposited into the PA Housing and Rehabilitation Enhancement ("PHARE") fund. This legislation will provide additional funding to PHARE; enabling more seniors, families of low and moderate income, and people with special housing needs to receive much-needed assistance. No legislative language at this time. 
 "Learn More"



PA Family Network's Using the Lifecourse Framework for Transition

April 14, 2022 from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

What happens when the bus stops coming? Do you need a Vision and Plan? Join PA Family Network Advisors for an interactive workshop to:
  • Discuss thought-provoking questions surrounding a new day to day plan;
  • Obtain information and resources to be used during this time of change;
  • Address questions and concerns specific to Transition Age;
  • Utilize the LifeCourse Framework and Tools in useful, flexible, and simple ways.
Become empowered to have conversations about reaching dreams and finding purpose after high school.

Join the Zoom HERE. 
Meeting ID: 829 0563 3941
Passcode: 637984
One tap mobile: +1-312-626-6799


PA Family Network's L.E.A.D. the Way to Healthy Relationships Workshop
April 18, 2022 from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Join PA Family Network Advisors as we plan and problem solve for your loved one with intellectual disabilities and/or autism to have successful relationships by:

  • identifying possible ways to apply LifeCourse Framework and Tools in useful, flexible, and simple ways;
  • discussing strategies on how to define a friend and establish appropriate boundaries in relationships;
  • introducing consent and sharing steps to help mitigate their risk of being taken advantage of;
  • suggesting information to adapt our loved one’s level of understanding and ideas for application in real life.
Join the Zoom HERE. 
Meeting ID: 829 0563 3941
Passcode: 637984
One tap mobile: +1-312-626-6799


The Arc of PA's Intentional Teaching - The Essential Elements of Systematic Instruction for Teaching Job Skills 
April 20, 2022 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Intentional Teaching is a set of data-driven strategies used to teach essential job skills that can be adapted to individuals of all abilities and learning styles. Attendees will participate in a single day of online training to learn:
  • Systematic Instruction Strategies 
  • Descriptive Notetaking in Data Collection 
Register Here

PA Family Network's Advanced Waiver Workshops - Zoom 
The Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) provides services for individuals with intellectual disabilities and/or autism through the Person/Family Directed Supports, Community Living and Consolidated Waivers. Join the PA Family Network Advisors in this 2-part workshop which will expand in more detail what was presented in the Waiver Basics (101) Workshops and how waivers can support your loved one:

Advanced Waiver Workshop Part 1
April 20, 2022 from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

  • Expand upon Service Definitions discussed in Waiver Basics (101 Part 2)
  • Learn more about the various services defined under waivers and some of their limits, requirements and options

Advanced Waiver Workshop Part 2
April 20, 2022 from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Guide participants on researching waivers, utilizing resources and understanding your rights and responsibilities
  • Discussion of the various waiver document Appendices, Due Process, Fair Hearing and More

Join the Zoom HERE. 
Meeting ID: 829 0563 3941
Passcode: 637984
One tap mobile: +1-312-626-6799


PA Family Network's Family Forum Updates Workshop
April 20, 2022 from 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Join the PA Family Network Advisors, families and individuals with disabilities for our Family Forums to:

  • discuss areas of life where supports might be needed;
  • network with other families and ask questions;
  • get latest updates from the Office of Developmental Programs.

Guest Speakers may be invited and topics will be announced on the Facebook page and through emails prior to the Forum.

Join the Zoom HERE. 
Meeting ID: 829 0563 3941
Passcode: 637984
One tap mobile: +1-312-626-6799


Overview of Benefits Counseling - Webinar
April 21, 2022 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is offering a webinar on the topic of the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Benefits Counseling which provides individuals, their families, friends, and caregivers information relative to their benefits / services, and competitive integrated employment. This overview will be presented by Ms. Joy Smith, AHEDD Work Incentive Planning and Assistance, Certified Work Incentive Coordinator, Regional Manager.
Office of Long-Term Living Service Coordinators, Direct Service Providers, CHC-MCO staff and any individuals that work on employment are strongly encouraged to participate in this webinar on an overview of Benefits Counseling as it relates to the participants you serve.

Register here

Children with Medical Complexities Training Series - Part 1: Expanding Supports for Children with Medical Complexities
April 21, 2022 from 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

In this introductory session to providing supports to children with medical complexities, ODP Medical Director, Gregory Cherpes MD and Chief Nursing Officer, Rhonda Gengler RN will provide an overview of the training series topics that will be covered in greater detail in subsequent sessions. Particular focus will be given to a companion document that will serve to augment the Supports Coordinator (SC) monitoring tool and assist the supports coordinator during monitoring visits. 

Register here

PA Family Network's Long Term Planning Workshop
April 25, 2022 from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Join the PA Family Network in this workshop to plan and problem solve if/when we cannot support our loved one with intellectual disabilities and/or autism:
  • Connect and network with other families.
  • Get information and strategies on handling Long Term Planning*.
  • Discuss and receive guidance on how to identify and share what is most important to our loved ones to live a meaningful and good life.
*We cannot offer legal or financial advice

Join the Zoom HERE. 
Meeting ID: 829 0563 3941
Passcode: 637984
One tap mobile: +1-312-626-6799


Charting the Lifecourse Applying Principles and Using Tools to Support a Good Life for Individuals and Families
April 27, 2022 from 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Charting the LifeCourse was created to help individuals and families of all abilities and all ages develop a vision for a good life, think about what they need to know and do, identify how to find or develop supports, and discover what it takes to live the lives they want to live.

Participants in this training will:
  • Learn about the National Charting the LifeCourse Community of Practice.
  • Apply LifeCourse Principles and LifeCourse Framework.
  • Practice Using LifeCourse Tools.
Register here

ACRE Basic Certification Training - via Zoom
May 4-6, 2022 from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM

The Arc of Pennsylvania’s Making Employment Work course is an ACRE Basic Certification Training. To receive certification, participants must attend a 3-day, live webinar training and then complete a self-paced, online curriculum. Completing this certification course will qualify individuals to provide Supported Employment services with Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Office of Developmental Programs. Our training combines lessons learned from traditional Supported Employment and Customized Employment techniques.

Register Here

The Arc of Pennsylvania's Customized Employment Training - via Zoom
May 18-20, 2022 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

This 3-day training provides a comprehensive overview of Discovery (an alternative to traditional vocational assessments) and how to complete Discovery. For those seeking to become certified providers of Discovery through Marc Gold and Associates, it is the prerequisite training for certification. Individuals not seeking certification will gain valuable information and insight and may attend as auditors of the course.

This course is for:
Job Coaches and Job Developers, OVR Counselors, Supports Coordinators, Transition Coordinators, School Transition Teams, Parents and Families

Register Here

The Arc of Pennsylvania's INCLUDI-CON: a 3-Day Virtual Gathering on Inclusion & Accessibility
June 21-23, 2022 from 8:30 AM - 1:00 PM

INCLUDI-CON is an opportunity to learn from national and state leaders about the most important topics that are impacting, not just students and educators, but the entire school community. Participants will gain crucial information on issues such as: 
  • Inclusion, belonging, and success,
  • Social and emotional health for all students,
  • Accessibility for all - for everything, and,
  • A deep understanding and approach to trauma
Cost: $30 per person – families & educators may qualify for a discount. Please email for more information.

Note: Act 48 credits and certificates of completion can be provided. 

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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