In this edition of Parenting Impossible, Annette talks with The Arc of Massachusetts Executive Director Leo Sarkissian and Policy Officer Ellen Taverna about issues affecting the special needs community during the COVID-19 epidemic. The mission of The Arc is to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, which includes community support and services fostering social inclusion and equity across all aspects of society.

Ellen begins the podcast with an update about how The Arc is keeping the special needs community informed on changes to policies and services while so many are self-quarantining across the nation. She touches on how government-funded relief packages are being distributed when it comes to paid leave for caregivers.

Annette and Leo dive into why the disability community is being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and what’s happening when someone with special needs has to visit a hospital. Leo addresses some common concerns like, what you should do if you find yourself in this situation, and what you should say if you’re not allowed to accompany that person.

Annette, Leo, and Ellen also discuss the challenges of a friend or family member currently living in a group home. They breakdown the frustration about not getting the details of what’s going on inside, and what The Arc is doing to help. Leo offers advice about how to get the answers you need and who you should turn to if you’re worried.

They also share how The Arc is helping special needs families across the nation which includes their COVID-19 webpage. According to Ellen, the site is constantly updated as things evolve regarding the impacts on healthcare, daily life, financial matters, and more.

You can find those resources here.