LifeArt opens its door to the community from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 9th. The Open House begins at 4:00 p.m. with cooking and food served by Marie. Dinner is available for a $4.00 donation. Meanwhile there will be music with BJ Thomas in the common room, and Qi Gong meditative yoga with Ginnette Groome in the conference room. Game time starts at 4:40 p.m. with bingo, washer toss, Wii and tabletop games. The Monadnock Humane Society brings friends by at 5:20 for Animal Exploration, and at 6:00 karaoke begins. Throughout the afternoon there will be a selection of craft activities at the crafts tables.

Please join us at this Open House and learn about LifeArt events, outings, our Action Group, and our Men’s and Women’s groups. For more information, call 357-1456.

Update: 9-27-2012

The Monadnock Ledger Transcript followed up its coverage of the Peterborough Candidates Forum by publishing an Editorial, "Vow to help needy is a pledge worth taking for politicians."   Click here to read the Editorial.

Update: 9-25-2012

Local Peterborough candidates for both NH Senate and House spoke to a group of interested citizens about disability issues at a forum sponsored by ABLE-NH and Monadnock Developmental Services. All candidates offered their unanimous support in funding. Click here to read article in the 9-25-2012 edition of the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.

Several local ABLE-NH chapters are putting together Candidates Forums on disabilities issues. The first of these is scheduled in Peterborough on Sunday, September 23 at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Main Street. Others are being planned in Keene and Rindge. We will keep you posted as those plans are firmed up.

Candidates Forum in Peterborough - NH House & Senate
NonPartisan Informational Session & Town Hall Style Meeting
Sunday, September 23, 2012 6:00pm
Unitarian Universalist Church
25 Main St, Peterborough

NH HOUSE: Peterborough has been redistricted as stand-alone for NH House. Candidates are Jill Hammond (D); Peter Leishman (D); and Bruce Marcus (R).

NH SENATE: Bedford, Dublin, Fitzwilliam, Greenfield, Hancock, Jaffrey, Lyndeborough, MontVernon, New Boston, Peterborough, Richmond, Sharon, Temple, and Troy

Candidates are Lee Nyquist (D) and Andy Sanborn (R)

* New Districts * New Candidates * New Laws * New Issues * New Budget Session

Join us, ask your questions and learn more about where they stand on your issues!

This event is sponsored by ABLE NH and Monadnock Developmental Services

The National Forum on Disability Issues (NFDI) has invited both Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney to participate in a forum specifically addressing disabilities issue. The candidates will be given the opportunity to provide their positions on a wide variety of disability issues directly to the disability community.

The gathering is set to take place Friday, September 28 at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio, and will also include two Senate candidates from Ohio.

You can see this National Forum on Disability Issues as it is streamed "live" via the Internet. Anyone can participate, but you must pre-register on the NFDI website. Click here to access webcast information on this national forum and to sign up.

The Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District and UNH Institute on Disability are hosting a series of Community Forums on Inclusive Education. These forums are designed to engage families, educators, business leaders and community members in dialogue regarding evidence-based practices in inclusive education. Forum topics will address the following questions through the use of film, formal presentation, and facilitated discussion:

  • What is inclusive education?
  • How best can students with significant disabilities be supported in our local schools and communities?
  • What are the short and long term implications for students with and without disabilities who are educated in inclusive classrooms?
  • How can schools and families work together to promote best practices for students with disabilities?

FORUM #1 September 19, 2012 Pratt Auditorium, Jaffrey, NH 6-8 PM
Title: Creating an Inclusive School Community
Presenters: Dan Habib & Michael McSheehan
Key elements of inclusive education will be presented using film, formal presentation, and facilitated discussion. Key elements include presumption and construction of competence; high expectations; family involvement; and student, classroom, and school wide supports for success.

FORUM #2 October 17, 2012 Rindge Memorial Cafeteria 6-8 PM
Title: Taking the Long View
Presenters: Beth Dixon & Mary Schuh
Using formal presentation, slides, video, and facilitated discussion, this forum focus on the value of family/school partnerships to promote welcoming communities and positive outcomes for ail students.

FORUM #3 November 14, 2012 Pratt Auditorium, Jaffrey, NH 6-8 PM
The Culture of Disability and the Loud Hands Project
Presenters: Julia Bascom & Mary Schuh
Through film and facilitated discussion, this session will provide a framework for thinking about promoting leadership and self-advocacy for students with disabilities and a culture of acceptance for all.

FORUM #4 December 12, 2012 Rindge Memorial Cafeteria 6-8 PM
A final forum will be determined based on the needs of the district and community response to the initial forums.

2012dspforwebMonadnock Developmental Services marks the exceptional contributions of all direct care workers in our region and announces the selection of Shannon Merchant of Rindge as the Monadnock region’s 2012 Direct Support Professional of the Year, and Michelle Lucas of Dublin as Home Provider of the Year. These honorees are among 22 nominees from across New Hampshire for the Statewide DSP Award, to be announced in late October.

Shannon Merchant, the Monadnock Region Direct Support Professional of the Year, has worked with a woman with very challenging medical issues for more than eight years. During this time she has worked diligently to become trained in medically monitoring this person, something that is critical to her health and wellbeing. As the individual’s health needs have increased, Shannon has stayed by her side during hospitalizations, seeing to her comfort, care and safety. Over the years, Shannon has been an exemplary team member, serving as confidant, motivator, scheduler and problem solver, not only for the woman she supports but for the entire team of staff, nurses and family. “I wish there were more people like Shannon in this world and working with our individuals,” says Heather Riley, MDS Service Coordinator. Laura Eno-Kennel, Program Manager, adds: “Shannon is conscientious and caring, two qualities that are very important for a DSP.” Shannon lives in Rindge.

Home Provider of the Year Michelle Lucas, who lives in Dublin, has provided a safe and caring home for a young man with multiple disabilities for nearly eight years. Her professionalism is evident in her strong working relationships with the nursing staff, program managers and case managers. She is always ready and willing to attend medical consultations, whether these are in Keene, Boston, Exeter or Lebanon. As a home provider, Michelle has made sure that this young man is integrated completely into the life of her family. Her children, following their mother’s steps, treat him (and each other) with respect, and are empathetic and caring. As a caregiver, Michelle is a vital member of the team, listening to team members, asking thoughtful questions, and strategizing to make the support effort the best it can be. The individual’s mother reflects: “Michelle’s commitment to my son is unwavering. Her fortitude, initiative and take-charge spirit is inspirational.”

DSP Day, an annual event in New Hampshire, is intended to raise awareness about the unsung heroes in our lives, Direct Support Professionals, regular people who give others a better chance to live and the opportunity to have the best life they can. DSPs do rewarding work that touches everyone. All of us will be or will need a caregiver at some point in our lives.

For DSP Day in New Hampshire, which was celebrated on September 10, hundreds of yellow flags are flown on the State House lawn, each created to thank and honor a Direct Support Professional who has touched an individual’s life. This annual event was started by Barbara Wilson, a DSP from Keene. Friends, families, advocates and many of the DSPs and Home Providers nominated from across the state gather in Concord to recognize all DSPs in New Hampshire. The 22 nominees go on as finalists for the title of statewide for the DSP and Home Provider of the Year Awards, to be presented by the Developmental Disabilities Council at the DSP Conference at the Grand Summit in Bartlett, NH in late October.

On Saturday, September 15, CarolAnn Edscorn, MS, will share her experiences raising her children and discovering her diagnosis on the autism spectrum. The presentation will be from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon at the Monadnock Developmental Services office, 12 Depot Square, Peterborough, NH (in the Toadstool Bookstore building).

Ms. Edscorn was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 1995. She earned a graduate certificate in autism spectrum disorders from Antioch University New England in Keene, and has presented for the Institute on Disability/UCE, and around the region and country. She also teaches Introduction to Autism at the college level, and does paraprofessional trainings around the state.

With humor and current research, Ms. Edscorn relates her insights, struggles and knowledge about life with autism. Parents and caregivers will come away from this meeting with ideas to help their children and also a greater understanding of how sensory, cognitive and social issues sustain behaviors.

This workshop is free but registration is expected and space is limited. Please call Lynn Yeiter, 352-1304 ext. 239 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register.

dspdayconcord2011web3On a bright sunny afternoon on the State House Lawn, the Monadnock region nominees for DSP/Home Provider of the Year joined with Governor Lynch, Barbara Wilson (Yellow Flag Day founder) and a lively group to celebrate Direct Support Professional Day in NH. Signing and then reading a Proclamation in support of this annual celebration, Lynch spoke about the ways in which DSPs make a real difference in people’s lives, as evidenced by the number of commemorative DSP Yellow Flags flying.

“We all want the chance to have meaningful lives. People with disabilities are helped every day by committed DSPs who are dedicated professionals. I’m pleased and honored to be able to be here to commend you for your important work and for making such a difference in people’s lives.”

dspdayconcord2011web2Following the presentation the Governor created his own Yellow Flag and hung it among the hundreds that were flying in the breeze.

Among those attending the DSP Yellow Flag Display event were the two Monadnock region nominees for DSP and Home Provider of the year. Alyson Daniels (pictured above, second row far right) was chosen as the Monadnock region Direct Support Professional of the Year, and Charlotte Little (far left in above picture) as Home Provider of the Year. They are among 20 nominees for the Statewide DSP Award, to be announced in late October.

Alyson Daniels of Keene, the Monadnock Region Direct Support Professional of the Year, has worked through CHESCO, Inc. with a young man with multiple disabilities including deafness for several years. During this time she has worked diligently to improve his signing abilities, help him get out more in the community and provide much needed support and respite for his parents. Because of Alyson’s special skills and her dedication to this individual and his family, this young man’s quality of life and experiences in his community have significantly improved. In fact things have been going so well, the family has decided to direct services themselves using Alyson as their key support person, via the Participant Managed and Directed Services (PDMS) program at MDS. Emily Scott, the young man’s mother, says: “Alyson has become a very important member of our family. I think when God made Alyson, he broke the mold! She will always be a winner in our and our son’s eyes.”

Home Provider of the Year Charlotte Little works for Monadnock Worksource in Peterborough and provides a warm and caring home for a woman with very challenging medical issues. The individual is legally blind, and Charlotte has made their home safe, comfortable and manageable for everyone in the house. During the individual’s recent episodes of kidney failure, Charlotte has never wavered in her support for her in the face of the many additional appointments and responsibilities required by this condition. She has supported the woman’s desire to continue to work during her treatments, and makes great efforts to keep the woman connected to her community and social network. David Mattocks, Associate Director of  Monadnock Worksource, tells us: “Charlotte provides an extraordinary level of loving and complex support, handling it all with the utmost care and compassion.”

dspdayconcord2011web1DSP Recognition Week, an annual event in New Hampshire and across the nation, is intended to raise awareness about the unsung heroes in our lives, Direct Support Professionals, regular people who give others a better opportunity to have the best life they can. DSPs do rewarding work that touches everyone. All of us will be or will need a caregiver at some point in our lives.

For DSP Day in New Hampshire, hundreds of yellow flags are flown on the State House lawn, each created to thank and honor a Direct Support Professional who has touched an individual’s life. Friends, families, advocates and many of the DSPs and Home Providers nominated from across the state gather in Concord to recognize all DSPs in New Hampshire.This annual event was started by Barbara Wilson, a DSP from Keene, who next year hopes to fly thousands of flags, one for every DSP in the state.  The 20 nominees go on as finalists for the title of statewide for the DSP and Home Provider of the Year Awards, presented by the Developmental Disabilities Council at the DSP Conference, this year at the Grand Summit in Bartlett, NH in late October.

familycouncillogowebThe Family Council of the Monadnock region invites families and community members to a Disabilities Awareness Day at Charlie’s Old Tyme Creamery on Route 202 south in Peterborough. The event kicks off at 1:00 p.m. and goes through the afternoon until 5:00 p.m.

The Family Council enhances, expands and supports the role that families play in making decisions about the design and implementation of services and supports provided by Monadnock Developmental Services. The Council provides a forum for families to make their concerns, needs and preferences known to MDS and to its policy makers.

Beth Theisen, newly elected co-chair of the Family Council, explains: “This Saturday event is a great opportunity to meet other families in our area facing similar circumstances, and to meet new and returning members of the Family Council. We’ll also have folks from area organizations that focus on assisting families with children or adults with disabilities.”

As part of the afternoon lineup, there will be a dance/yoga program for children from 3:30 to 4:15. Family friendly music will also be playing at the event. Charlie’s Olde Tyme Creamery will be selling ice cream, smoothies, and other assorted goodies, with a percentage of all proceeds from the afternoon’s sales going directly to helping families in need from our community.

For more information, please contact Beth Theisen at 603-532-8982.

A revised process for filing complaints relative to developmental services delivery is in effect as of September 1, 2011. In the past complaints were handled directly by the Area Agency. Complaints are now made directly to the State, via a 24-hour toll free number, 1-855-450-3593.

Individuals who receive services in the developmental services system have a right to be free from abuse, neglect and being taken advantage of. If you receive services and believe your rights have been violated, you have a right to file a complaint.

In addition, staff, providers and others who work with individuals who receive services in this system must file a complaint if they are aware of or suspect that an individual is being abused, neglected or exploited.

This change is the result of changes to administrative rule He-M 202, which says that complaints will be made directly to the State. To file a complain, call toll free 1-855-450-3593. After you file a complaint, an investigator will contact you.

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) invites the public to provide input as it pursues a switch to a Managed Care model for Medicaid services. Anyone involved in Medicaid services (individuals, families, service providers, community members) should complete the DHHS online Care Management Survey by Wednesday, October 5th at 9:00 p.m. As more information becomes available on this topic, it will be posted on the MDS Advocacy page.

Is Managed Care the right model for those with developmental disabilities and acquired brain disorders? Your input is needed at a forum to discuss the implications of this change. New Hampshire is moving from its current Medicaid system to a Managed Care Plan, and those with disabilities are among those who could be affected by this change.

Background information is available on the MDS Advocacy Alert page.

“We recognize that transitioning from Medicaid as we know it today, to a care management model is a significant undertaking,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. “But we believe that if we are thoughtful in our approach, and if we take the time to listen and engage our stakeholders that we can in fact help improve the health and well-being of those we serve.”

The process began with a series of regional forums aimed at assisting in the design, development and implementation of NH’s Care Management Program. The Monadnock region forum was held Tuesday, September 13 at the Keene Public Library from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.There will be five regional forums held around the State during the month of September. Forums are intended to be facilitated, interactive events that allow for participants to provide input about their expectations, concerns and needs using a mixture of small-group and large-group discussions.

· September 13th in Keene at the Keene Public Library - 2 – 4 PM

· September 14th in Nashua at Nashua Community College - 6 – 8 PM

· September 22nd in Somersworth at Avis Goodwin - 10 AM – 12 PM

· September 23rd in Manchester at the Manchester Health Department – 10 AM – 12 PM

· The North Country - date and time TBA soon

For those who are unable to attend the forums, the Department seeks input through an online survey on its website, www.dhhs.nh.gov as well as accepting comments in writing to DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas, 129 Pleasant St, Concord, NH 03301. The survey will be online on September 15.

Background information and a position statement on this Managed Care Strategy is available from Community Support Network Inc (CSNI).

Monadnock Developmental Services announces its fall lineup of training and workshops for staff, providers and families. In addition to ongoing bimonthly Staff Orientation, a new set of workshops will focus on Gentle Teaching and helping staff make the MDS mission – Inclusion, Participation, Mutual Relationships – more real. Descriptions and schedules for these upcoming workshops are available at the MDS Training section on our website.

Two Gentle Teaching workshops will be held in October. Gentle Teaching for Families debuts on Tuesday, October 19th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The River Center in Peterborough. This two-hour workshop specifically focuses on typical issues encountered by parents raising a child with an intellectual disability. A brief presentation will be followed by discussion focused on the questions and concerns of the families.

An Introduction to Gentle Teaching will be held on Tuesday, October 26th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Community Room at Railroad Square Senior Housing, 49 Community Way in Keene. This one-day overview of Gentle Teaching uses lecture, role-playing, discussion and multimedia presentations. Both Gentle Teaching sessions will be presented by Dave Yeiter and Paula Smith.

Gentle Teaching is a philosophy for supporting people with disabilities which is based on mutual respect, mutual change and mutual growth. Gentle Teaching has been an effective approach for over 25 years in supporting children and adults with disabilities who also have behavioral difficulties.

Making Our Mission Real is new series of workshops that will provide the groundwork for staff, providers and families to make the MDS mission real on an everyday basis. The first in the six-part series, The Power of Roles, will be offered twice at MDS in Keene, to accommodate family and work schedules: on Wednesday, October 13th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and on Wednesday October 20th from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Future workshops include The Myth of Mental Age (December), What is a Home? (January), Inclusion Works! (February), The Importance of Relationships (March), and Helping People Have a Meaningful Day (April).

A full description of workshops is available on the MDS Workshops page. Check the MDS Calendar for a complete schedule. All workshops are free to families, staff or individuals with disabilities enrolling from within the Monadnock region. There will be a $25 fee for full-day workshops for those registering from outside the region.

If interested in attending any of theses workshops, please call 603-352-1304 to register at least one week in advance. For more information, contact David Yeiter at 603-313-3041 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

During the month of September, Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are being honored nationwide, and we want to join the chorus – loudly – in singing their praises. However, it seems odd to single out a limited period of time to recognize this hardworking group of professionals when in fact their work goes on every single hour of every single day. (Read article in Keene Sentinel).

Direct support professionals (DSPs) enable our most vulnerable citizens to live self-directed lives with dignity and pride. They are unsung heroes who help people with disabilities realize their dreams and enjoy the daily liberties and human rights that the rest of us take for granted.

As the Executive Director of Monadnock Developmental Services, the area agency that provides services to people with developmental and related disabilities in the 34 towns of the Monadnock region, I have watched DSPs and providers dedicate countless hours, days, weeks, months and years to their profession. Our mission is to foster inclusion, participation and mutual relationships for those most at risk of isolation from community. We work with a number of partner agencies, but it is the DSPs who are on the front line every day, in many cases 24/7, supporting people with disabilities, chronic illness, and acquired brain disorders. The work of DSPs is essential (and lifelong) to ensure that people who rely on supports can live healthy, safe and meaningful lives as contributing members of their communities.

At one point in our lives, we will all either receive care or act as caregivers, and the demand for these services is increasing each year. DSPs make sure that there a system – and a helping hand and kind face – in place to help us as we face these challenging situations.

Take a few minutes in the coming week to think about the critical impact each and every DSP has on the life of an individual. Because of their work, people with disabilities are able to attend church, have jobs, get to doctors’ appointments, belong to sports teams, participate in civic and social events, and volunteer for the community – which makes our communities more inclusive and vibrant. Because of their work, when it’s our turn, there will be someone there to help.

Let’s not forget to take a minute to thank a DSP, not just in September, but all year long, for the challenging work they are doing.

Alan Greene, Executive Director

This article appeared in the Keene Sentinel on Monday, September 27, 2010.

The NH Bureau of Developmental Services invites Monadnock area families to a special Family Forum get-together on Monday, September 20th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at MDS in Keene. Join us for this opportunity to tell us what you think about services and to meet with representatives of the NH Bureau of Developmental Services who are here as part of the redesignation review of MDS. Light refreshments will be served.

The purpose of the Family Forum is to evaluate the Region 5 Area Agency’s past performance and current ability to provide services and supports to people who have a developmental disability and to their families. RSVP deadline is Monday, September 13th.

We want to hear from you about:

  • The help you and your family member(s) get from the area agency.

  • Is that help what you need?

  • What do you like about the help you get?

  • Do you have any concerns?

  • How can Monadnock Developmental Services help make service more effective?

  • What else?

You will also have the opportunity to meet the Region 5 Family Council members who represent families in planning, implementing and monitoring of service programs and supports.

Please RSVP to Mary-Anne Wisell at 603-352-1304 ext 223 by September 13th and let her know the following:
*  that you will be attending
*  if you need transportation
*  if you need assistance in locating child care/respite
*  that you would like to speak to someone to share your thoughts on the quality of services.
Respite and transportation costs will be reimbursed upon request.

For more information, please contact your Service Coordinator or Mary-Anne Wisell at 603-352-1304 ext 223. This Family Forum is hosted by Monadnock Developmental Services, The Family Council, NH Department of Health & Human Services Bureau of Developmental Services.