During this time of social distancing, the staff of MDDC is working hard to continue our advocacy for Mainers with developmental disabilities, but much of that work is being done remotely. If you need to contact us, the best way is by email! You can find staff email contact information on our contact page.
10 June 2020
The Maine Developmental Disabilities Council stands in solidarity with those peacefully protesting institutionalized racism against people of color in our country. We recognize and understand the anger and frustration that stems from centuries of oppressive policies and know that none of us are free until all of us are free. Black Lives Matter - systems that support racism must be dismantled.
Like people with developmental disabilities, people of color are at higher risk for contracting and dying from COVID-19 – the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council recognizes that we all must work to reduce disparities in access to care and disparities in health care outcomes.
Like people with developmental disabilities, people of color are at risk for an escalated response in an encounter with law enforcement – the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council believes that change begins with acknowledgement of risk, better training and more accountability.
Like people with developmental disabilities, people of color are more likely to live in poverty and lack access to safe housing, quality food, and effective education – we must all work to create equity and accessibility for all people.
While we see the interconnectedness around issues that affect all vulnerable populations, the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council believes that the blight of racism in our communities is one that needs specific remedies that call for the voices, stories, and leadership of people of color. Our hope is that our leaders and policy makers will listen to, learn from, welcome and support leaders with lived experience of racism to create real and lasting change towards a more just world.
The Maine Developmental Disabilities Council is committed to creating a Maine in which all people are valued and respected because we believe communities are stronger when everyone is included.
Click here for a pdf of this statement
The Maine Developmental Disabilities Council is very concerned about the treatment of people with developmental disabilities during this pandemic. One of our particular concerns is around equitable access for people with developmental disabilities to healthcare right now - making sure that they can get the accommodations they need to understand their doctors and their options, and pushing back against a culture that does not always value the lives of people with developmental disabilities.
Our executive director, Nancy Cronin, recently sent this letter to the head of the Maine CDC, Dr. Shah, explaining our concerns and pushing for clear guidance from leaders on providing adequate care to people with developmental disabilities - please click here to read it.
MDDC is committed to continuing to support Mainers with developmental disabilities through this unprecedented and stressful time. We will be working to ensure that the systems that care for and protect people with developmental disabilities in the state are communicating with their constituents effectively, working safely to mitigate the spread of the virus, and getting people the support they need.
Plain Language Guide –
Green Mountain Self-Advocates have written an 8 page booklet to teach you all about the corona virus in plain language: https://selfadvocacyinfo.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Plain-Language-Information-on-Coronavirus.pdf
Our sister agency, Disability Rights Maine, has put together a list of resources specific to the disability community:
Speaking Up For Us (SUFU), our statewide self-advocacy organization, also has a page with resources and information about upcoming phone and video webinars to keep you connected:
The Autism Society of Maine also has a page with resources supporting families, with both information and lots of activities and educational opportunities for kids at home:
This plain language video does a great job of explaining how the virus can be transmitted:
For ongoing updates on COVID-19, go to Maine CDC’s webpage:
Our federal parent organization, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) has a page with a plethora of COVID resources:
Look for posts on our Facebook page in the next few weeks highlighting the wonderful works of these talented students!
1st Place Essay
Kayla Collins of Windham, for “What I have Learned About Inclusion”
2nd Place Essay
Vanessa Woods of Augusta, for “My Sister”
3rd Place Essay
Hannah Richardson of Augusta, for “Easy as 1, 2, 3”
Honorable Mention Essay
Anna Reny of Gardiner, for “The Sound of Acceptance”
1st Place Artwork
Magnolia Sinisi of Freeport, for “A Day in the Park”
2nd Place Artwork
Aurora Burmeister of Ellsworth, for “Cultivate Inclusion”
3rd Place Artwork
Reagan Davis of Freeport, for “Together We’re a Masterpiece”
Honorable Mention Artwork
Kaitlyn Sawicki of Freeport, for “Putting the Pieces Together”
And a special congrats to Kimberly Medsker-Mehalic, who was awarded a Commitment to Inclusion grant for her work at Freeport High School to bring inclusion into her curriculum and teaching!
The Maine Developmental Disabilities Council is pleased to present a very special publication that speaks to the work we do, and containing stories from Mainers with developmental disabilities that span a lifetime of issues that affect them, from school to work to aging in the community. This news insert is being placed in newspapers all over Maine, with particular emphasis on underserved populations in rural counties.
We are so proud of this pamphlet and of the people who allowed us to tell their stories. This is a vivid snapshot of the state of the systems that serve people with developmental disabilities in Maine and the effects those systems have on those people. Thanks to N&R Publications for helping us put this together!
We have an accessible pdf version of this publication available here: MDDC 2020 Newspaper Insert
MDDC is a partnership of people with disabilities, their families, and public and governmental agencies which promotes and advocates for equal opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities to participate in every aspect of community life.
Our executive director, Nancy Cronin, had a fantastic time with her cohorts from around the country at this year's Executive Director Leadership Summit! Thanks to the folks at NACDD for putting this together and giving our executive directors a chance to talk about the work they are doing in their respective Councils.
Council Executive Directors on steps in the Governor's Mansion in Arkansas
The group got a chance to visit the Little Rock Central High School, the school where the Little Rock Nine were escorted by the National Guard in 1957 to desegregate that school.
This past Monday, Sept. 6 — in recognition of international FASD awareness day — saw the launch of FASD Maine, a group for anyone affected by or involved with fetal alcohol in Maine.
If you are interested in being involved with or following their work, you can join their new Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/463838167530594/
FASD Infographic Text:
Alcohol use during pregnancy can lead to lifelong effects.
Up to 1 in 20 US school children may have FASDs.
People with FASDs can experience a mix of the following problems:
Which leads to…
Behavioral and intellectual disabilities
These can lead to…
Lifelong issues with
Drinking while pregnant costs the US $5.5 billion (2010)
Sources: CDC Vital Signs, February 2016. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, November 2015
Our executive director, Nancy Cronin, is also Maine's ambassador to the CDC's Act Early Campaign, which is an initiative that helps to educate about the importance of tracking young children's developmental milestones and strives to get information about those milestones into the hands of parents, doctors, and early education professionals. Watch Nancy and her fellow ambassadors talk about their work in this video:
On April 25, 2019, the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council honored students who created remarkable works, essays and art, around the idea of inclusion for people with developmental disabilities in our communities. These young adults exemplify the attitudes and ideas we need to cultivate in the future for the benefit of all!
The ceremony was held in the Hall of Flags at the State House in Augusta, and featured the winning artworks, as well as highlights from the winning essays.
Deputy Commissioner Daniel Chuhta from the Department of Education and State Representative Dennis Keschl presented awards to the students, as well as teachers and schools who made an impact through this contest.
Also honored was State Representative Richard Farnsworth, who has been a stalwart supporter of the rights of people with developmental disabilities for many years, with MDDC’s Policymaker Award.
On hand to support our honorees were members of the Council, self-advocates, parents, legislators, representatives from state agencies, and other members of our community.
Congratulations again to the winners of the 2019 Inclusion Awards!