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WCI Newsletter: June 17th, 2016

Message From the Vice President Of Operations

It is with great pleasure I get to announce that Jason Moss, our new Family Support Liaison, Joe Donatihas started WCI’s Family Forums.

These forums will be provided by WCI to help support families and Individuals learn valuable information. Our first one happened on June 8th. Initially it was supposed to be a presentation on Mass Health, but our speaker had to cancel at the last minute due to a family emergency. As you know, the show must go on. We were fortunate to have Shannon McDonald, our Clinical Director, step in to present on Positive Behavior Supports (PBS). As this was our first one, we were very pleased with the turnout. It was a lively and engaging crowd that brought up great questions, thoughts and suggestions for further forums.

The people in attendance were: Alix Ginsberg; Alan Shuchat; Rhonda LeSanto; Ruth Harutunian; Mike Green-Hoffman; Sarah Dagostino and her son Steven; Nancy Silver Hargreaves, Jason Moss, Shannon McDonald and myself. This was the first of three forums this year. We are planning one in September and another in November; topics and dates to be announced. We are looking forward to these upcoming events and look forward to more family members attending.

A Community Birthday Celebration! – by Thalia Vitakos

Cafe Photo 3Paul G began frequenting the Café on the Common when he began participating in the WCI Community Employment Program at 3 Common Street located on the corner or Main and Common Streets in downtown Waltham. Paul, who often walks to work from his home, began stopping in the café for a cup of morning coffee and again later at the conclusion of his work day. This observer happens to have an office located in the corner building between WCI and the Café. When I was in the Café, I began to observe that Paul, forever smiling upon entering, would greet all the baristas, many by name, and that they, in turn, greeted Paul by name. Paul happily gave them pictures he had created for them. The baristas, Richard, Amelia, Eric, Julia, Maggie and Marceline were thankful for the colorful drawings and posted them on the corkboard behind the counter. This seemed to make Paul feel proud that he was making a fine contribution to the Café. Paul had clearly become an integral and valued member of the Café community that includes people from all walks of life: lawyers, students, workers in the neighborhood, etc. Paul befriended Mary Christin, the Director of Ancillary Service at Maristhill Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Waltham and her husband, John Backer, an attorney, in downtown Boston not to mention countless others.

On the occasion of his birthday, the Café on the Common baristas decided to have a small birthday Cafe Photo 2celebration for Paul who had told them the year was flying by and his birthday was coming up. Mary and John heard about it and decided to come bearing gifts. Paul knew he was being treated to lunch there, but he did not know that the table and chairs would be brightly decorated and that the baristas had gifts for him. Paul was surprised by the outpouring of affection and the gifts. The baristas gave him a Big Drawing kit filled with markers, craypas, paper etc… This was great… this ensured more art would be coming to those of us in the café community. Kudos to a man who on his own found his way into a community gathering place and created not only art, but warm, caring relationships with the people he took the time to get to know. And Thank You, Baristas, at Café on the Common, Julia Davidovitz, Amelia Wood, Eric Boutin, Richard Martinson, Maggie Kinzel and Marceline Josile for your thoughtfulness and kindness. You are the best!

Maintenance Department Update

HomeRepair-300x257We have important and exciting news to share with everyone at WCI! Due to the success that the IT Department has seen with online requests, we are pleased to announce the Maintenance Department has started their own Online Request System. It’s easy to use!

To request or report Maintenance Items, simply email:


The Association for Applied Behavior Analysis International’s (ABAI) conference is the largest Applied IMG_0308Behavior Analysis conference in the world, attended by over 5,000 Behavior Analysts. Held annually, the conference was in Chicago this year at the Hyatt Regency and Swiss Hotel conference centers. WCI’s Clinical Director, Shannon McDonald, had the privilege to chair a symposium titled, “We’re Not Always Screaming for Attention: Considerations for Suicidal Behaviors and Bizarre Vocalizations.” The symposium was well attended, with over 300 participants.

IMG_0303Shannon presented a talk, “Managing Risk in Suicidal Individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities.” The talk focused on training other Clinicians to recognize Risk Factors, Setting Events and Antecedents to suicidal behaviors, as well as appropriate responses to suicidal behaviors based on function. The ultimate goal of the talk was to provide Clinicians with the tools to prevent death or injury from suicidal behaviors by recognizing early warning signs and responding effectively. There was a great deal of positive feedback after the talk and discussion about the need for increased trainings on suicide prevention for staff and Clinicians at agencies nationwide. WCI’s Support Coordinators received Suicide Gatekeeper Training last year to address this need.

The symposium discussant was Dr. David Lennox, owner of QBS, Inc., which developed the Safety Care Emergency Management System that WCI currently uses. Courtney Buckley, Assistant Clinical Director at Vinfen, also presented a talk titled, “Complex Behaviors, Complex Solutions: What is the Behavior Analysts Role in Treating Less Common Behaviors?” Shannon is an Approved Continuing Education Provider, certified by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board. She offers ongoing training to Clinical staff at WCI, as well as at local and national conferences.


Individual supports held their 3rd Self Advocacy meeting in conjunction with Mass Advocates. The group voted on our name: WCI Standing Strong.

We also nominated President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Sergeant at Arms. We are looking forward to voting at our next meeting on July 12th!

Bob’s 60th Birthday and House Warming

What a wonderful day was this past Saturday June 4th was to have a cookout to celebrate Bob M! B20160616_150335ob invited some of his closest friends and staff to his apartment for a party in honor of his birthday and to show off his new apartment. We all enjoyed food from the grill, a variety of salads and chips. It was truly a day to celebrate Bob’s past year. His new apartment is much more accessible than his previous third floor walkup. Bob is entering this new decade with his health being at the best it’s been in years. Here’s to the next ten years Bob!


The Other Bathroom Wars

Non-Verbal Man with Autism Saves Baby’s Life After Facebook Messaging Police

Ford Eyes Workers With Autism

Actress With Tourette’s Is Making Theater More Inclusive

ABLE Accounts Make Debut

A fall, a new wheelchair ramp, and fresh debate over access in City Council chamber

The disabled face significant obstacles to voting in America’s political system, Stanford expert finds

Coca-Cola Is Now Printing Cans and Bottles in Braille for Blind People

Google’s Latest Accessibility Feature Is So Good, Everyone Will Use It

Actress Jamie Brewer advocates for increased diversity and inclusion in film and television

While the nation’s graduation rate has hit another historic high, prospects are more mixed for children and youths with disabilities, according to Diplomas Count 2015.

People with disabilities unite to create buzz on political fronts

Clinton Plan To End Subminimum Wage Stirs Debate

The Plight of the Disabled Graduate

Is This The Most Despicable Comedian in America Now?

A push to get workers with disabilities into regular jobs

Autism Documentary Headed To Theaters

Domestic violence victims with intellectual disability often turned away or not investigated

To the People Who ‘Would Visit, But…’

A fascinating technology allows this disabled man to play video games by using his mouth

Companies Find Hiring Those On The Spectrum Has Vast Benefits

Pope Francis Says Perfect Body ‘Obsession’ Leads to Discrimination of Disabled People

Schools Reminded Not To Delay Special Ed Evaluations

The Largest Autism Clinical Trial in History Extends its Recruitment Target from 10,000 to 20,000 Children with ASD

Also remember to check out the all new and our Social Media feeds! Please like, share, and subscribe to our feeds to keep up to date on WCI and community events, interesting articles and videos, and updates on political happenings that affect the lives of our Individuals and their families!

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