Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Photo Exhibit at Local University

photo by Billy Howard
“Portrait of Spirit: One Story at a Time" is presented by Student Disability Service and Department of Architecture at The University of Memphis.   

Through interviews and photographs, the exhibit highlights the individuality of people with disabilities, and banishes common perceptions about those who live with disability.  Black and white photographs and interviews tell the story of twenty-five individuals who fight the perception that their identity is limited to their disability.  Portrait of Spirit: One Story at a Time will be on display at the University Center on all three floors from November 8th through December 3rd.

Portrait of Spirit: One Story at a Time is part of the Southern Arts’ Southern Visions: The Southern Arts & Culture Traveling Exhibits Program is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

HBO's Temple Grandin Gets Emmy Nod

An HBO movie about autism self-advocate Temple Grandin has been nominated for numerous Emmy awards.

"Temple Grandin" is based upon the life experiences of Grandin, a current professor at Colorado State University who diagnosed with autism is noted for designing humane animal handling facilities.

The Emmy awards are set to air August 29th on NBC.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Arc Night with the Memphis Redbirds

Friday, July 9 at 7:00 pm, The Arc of the Mid-South will be at AutoZone park for Arc Night with the Memphis Redbirds. Discounted tickets are on sale now for $10 and proceeds will go toward the programs and services that we provide.

The Memphis Redbirds will host the Nashville Sounds. Last year we had a great time so invite your family and friends out for a night of fun for a good cause!

Contact Ruth Kirby at 901-327-2473 to purchase a ticket or for any questions. See you there!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Empowerment Doubles Tennis Tournament & Fundraiser

The Empowerment Doubles Tennis Tournament & Fundraiser will be at the Roark-Whitehaven Tennis Center in Memphis, TN. It's only $60 per team and everyone from beginners to more experienced players are welcome to sign up. You may register online by clicking here or by calling Ben Greene (x408) or Ruth Kirby (x205) at 901-327-2473. For more information on the event, click here.
All participants will receive a tournament t-shirt and trophies will be awarded in each category.
All proceeds will benefit children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New job placements!

Two of our graduating students have been hired at Target! Christopher Collier and Kelvin Jackson are students this year in The Arc of the Mid-South's Career Development and Job Placement program. Congratulations!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2010 Summer Camp Guide

The Arc's 2010 Summer Camp Guide is now available on our website! The guide includes more than 30 camps hosted by organizations throughout the Mid-South, with dates, costs, and other information.

Check it out!: 2010 Summer Camp Guide

Thursday, April 1, 2010

President Obama signs Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law

By now, you have probably heard a lot about health care reform. The Arc of the United States posted a short summary of the health care legislation on their website. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R.3590) would expand health care coverage to most Americans, preventing insurance companies from excluding people with pre-existing conditions, expanding Medicaid to cover more people, and eliminating caps in private insurance policies.

This legislation would prevent insurance companies from denying coverage, giving individuals with disabilities better access to health care. 

Click here to read more. also has more detailed information regarding the bill and an official summary covering each section.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2010 Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

The Rumble on the River really lived up to its name!

11 teams competed in The Arc of the Mid-South's Wheelchair Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 27. It was an exciting conclusion to March Madness, The Arc's month-long series of events to recognize March as National Disabilities Awareness Month.

Congratulations to The Hershey Company’s wheelchair basketball team, The Enforcers, for reclaiming their title as the 2010 Wheelchair Basketball Champions, and for taking home the trophy for the 2nd year in a row.

This was a fun event for all to enjoy! For everyone that didn’t attend, you don’t want to miss the excitement next year. The anticipation of who will be crowned the 2011 Champions is already buzzing.

Thanks to Terry Hardaway, Jr. for all of the great photographs! More pictures to come!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

2010 Job Readiness Workshop

The Arc of the Mid-South hosted its Two Day Job Readiness Workshop last Thursday and Friday at Anointed Temple of Praise. Seven Memphis area high schools attended the workshop, including Westwood High, Grizzlies Academy, Overton High, Kirby High, Oakhaven High, Avon Lenox, and Kingsbury High.

The first day of the event covered interview skills, dress for success, goal setting, communication, transitioning to work, and transportation options. The students received raffle tickets at registration and had a chance to win prizes throughout the workshop.

The students returned the next day for a career fair, dressed ready for interviewing. Dwaun Warmack, Associate Dean of Students at Rhodes College, kicked off the final day, speaking to the students about taking chances and achieving their goals. The students then had an opportunity to meet with local businesses and schools to ask questions and fill out applications.

We had a great time. Thanks to everyone who participated! We received some awesome feedback from teachers and students and hope that everyone walked away with helpful information and some contacts.

View more pictures from the workshop on our flickr photostream.

The next event we have coming up is the Wheelchair Basketball Tournament. This promises to be an exciting event and is free and open to the public. Come by Mississippi Boulevard Church at 70 N. Bellevue, Memphis, from 9:00am - 3:00pm and root for your team!

Wheelchair basketball tournament coming up soon!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Proclamation for the month of March

This past Friday, The Arc of the Mid-South held a program at Church Health Center Wellness to kick off March Madness, a series of events that bring awareness to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford was there to present the proclamation to Executive Director, Carlene Leaper:

Whereas, Developmental disabilities affect more than 40 million Americans and their families and result in substantial functional limitations in self care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency; and

Whereas, Public awareness and education enhance a community's understanding of the issues affecting people with developmental disabilities; and

Whereas, People with developmental disabilities can be vital and vibrant members of our community and can contribute to improving quality of life for all citizens; and

Whereas, The month of March has been designated National Developmental Disability Awareness Month, with more than 140,000 members and 780 state and local chapters of The Arc undertaking public awareness, educational, and fundraising initiatives; and

Whereas, The Arc of the United States is the nation's leading volunteer-based organization advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families and we all should follow the mission of The Arc of the Mid-South, as they "Empower People with Developmental Disabilities to Achieve Their Full Potential."

Now, therefore, we, A C Wharton, Jr., Mayor of the City of Memphis, and Joe S. Ford, Mayor of Shelby County, Tennessee, do hereby proclaim the month of March 2010 to be:
Developmental Disability Awareness Month
in Memphis and Shelby County and call upon all residents of our community to give full support of efforts to enable people with developmental disabilities to live full and productive lives of inclusion in our community.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Town Hall Meeting cancelled

The Town Hall Meeting scheduled at Church Health Center Wellness for Thursday, March 18, 6:00pm - 8:00pm, has been postponed. We'll keep you posted on any new information. Call us at 901-327-2473 if you have any questions.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Arc of the Mid-South in Nashville

Last Wednesday, The Arc of the Mid-South joined other disability organizations and self-advocates from west Tennessee for Disability Days on the Hill 2010. Executive Director, Carlene Leaper, along with thirty-eight parents, self-advocates, and staff took a bus to the Capitol in Nashville and had the opportunity to speak with legislators about issues facing the disability community.

This year, we focused on the potential budget cuts facing TennCare and cuts in funding for community-based health services provided by DIDS. Each senator and representative that we spoke with was very receptive to what we had to say and offered their support for the disability community when the budget is presented to the House and Senate.

We also had an opportunity to attend a press conference led by Carol Westlake of the Tennessee Disability Coalition and Andy Imparato, president of AAPD, demonstrating solidarity in our concerns for the harmful effects that TennCare cuts will have on people with disabilities.

As always, we encourage you to call, email, or write your legislators and let your voice be heard. Visit the Tennessee General Assembly website to find your legislator.

Click here for a WSMV-TV video news story on the possible TennCare cuts.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Take a stand for individuals with disabilities!

Mark your calendars! We have a several events coming up this month to recognize National Disability Awareness Month:

Beginning this week, Friday, March 5th, is the March Madness Kick-off at Church Health Center Wellness (formerly Hope and Healing), 1115 Union Avenue, Memphis, to mark the beginning of National Disability Awareness Month. This event is open to the public and is from 11:00am - 1:00pm. 

We'll also be having a Job Readiness Workshop for high school juniors and seniors in the Memphis area March 11-March 12. The workshop will cover interviewing skills, goal setting, communication, and much more. The second day of the event will be devoted to a career fair. This event will be at Anointed Temple of Praise from 8:00am - 1:00pm each day. Students must be registered to attend.

Thursday, March 18, The Arc of the Mid-South is hosting a Town Hall meeting to educate the community about funding and policy changes within the Division of Intellectual Disability Services. Individuals will also have an opportunity to pose questions to a panel of professionals who are involved in the decision making process or in advocacy efforts. This event is open to the public and will be at Church Health Center Wellness, 1115 Union Avenue, Memphis, from 6:00pm - 8:00pm.

Saturday, March 27, will be our annual wheelchair basketball tournament: Rumble on the River. Each year, teams from local businesses, government, and organizations compete to raise awareness and have fun. The Hershey Company's "Ice Breakers" are the defending champions. The tournament will be held at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church at 70 N. Bellevue from 9:00am - 3:00pm. This event is free and open to the public!

We're excited about these events and look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New IEP Checklist iPhone app helps empower families.

IEP Checklist, a new iPhone app, was created to minimize pen and paperwork and keep your notes and goals for your Individualized Education Plan organized and always within reach.

This is a free application developed by PEATC (Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center). Their website includes a video posted in English and Spanish that demonstrates how the app works along with informative reviews from parents and professionals who use the app.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Action Alert--Bill allows isolation for Special Education students

Wednesday, February 10, legislation may be heard that would allow students receiving Special Education services to be locked in isolation.

The Tennessee Disability Coaltion sums up some of the key points in this bill:
  • This bill would make it legal to lock a special education student – of any age or diagnosis – in isolation at risk to their health and safety
  • Contradicts health and safety codes that prohibit locking students in an educational facility without a way out
  • A child could be locked in an isolation room without parental notification
  • There is no requirement in the bill that locked isolation only be used in an emergency situations
  • With a locked door, a student is trapped with no mechanism to call for help if they are forgotten – even for a minute or two – by school personnel
  • Places all special education students at risk of locked isolation

If your representative sits on the Education K-12 Subcommittee, we encourage you to send him or her an email or call to oppose House Bill 2538.

Bill Sponsors of HB 2538/SB 2517
Rep. Glen Casada R-63 Parts of Williamson Co. (615) 741-4389
Sen. Jack Johnson R-23 Williamson and parts of Davidson (615) 741-2495

House Education, K-12 Subcommittee

*represents part of a county
Les Winningham , Chair
Clay, Jackson, Picket, Scott and Anderson*
(423) 286-9090

Ron Lollar , Vice-Chair
(615) 741-7084

Judy Barker 
Obion, Lake, Dyer*
(615) 741-0718

Tommie Brown  
(615) 741-4374

Bill Dunn  
(615) 741-1721

Beth Harwell 
(615) 741-0709

David Hawk
Unicoi, Greene*
(615) 741-7482

Joey Hensley 
Lawrence, Lewis, Wayne*
(615) 741-7476

Ulysses Jones 
(615) 741-4575

Mark Maddox 
Weakly, Carroll*
(615) 741-7847

Johnnie Turner 
(615) 741-6954

Terri Lynn Weaver  
DeKalb, Smith, Macon
(615) 741-2192

Friday, February 5, 2010

Temple Grandin film


This weekend, HBO is premiering Temple Grandin, the true story of a woman diagnosed with autism in the 1950s, at a time when many people with disabilities were put in institutions. The film stars Claire Danes as Grandin, and shows her development as someone who uses her unique talents as well as her mother's and teachers' encouraging mentorship to overcome educational and social obstacles.

The film chronicles Grandin's intial interest and successes in understanding animal behavior, which will ultimately revolutionize the cattle industry. Her story paves the way for Grandin to become one of the world's most well known lecturers and spokespersons for autism.

To learn more about Dr. Temple Grandin, you can visit her site here. For more information on the film, click here.

Temple Grandin premieres tomorrow, February 6 at 7:00pm Central Time.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Good news for Tennessee families!

The Tennessee Disability Coalition has reported that the Family Support Program will be funded for two more years! The program was in risk of being eliminated, and through numerous petitions, letters, and phone calls from self-advocates, families, and supporters, our voice was heard and it made a difference. The Tennessee Family Support Program is the only program that provides funding to individuals regardless of their diagnosis, income, or age. It's still early in the year and anything can happen, but this is great news.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Disability Days on the Hill 2010


We're headed to Nashville Wednesday, February 24 for west Tennessee's Disability Day on the Hill! Disability organizations throughout Tennessee will be meeting at the Capitol to advocate for the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families. With your help we can ensure that every legislator gets to hear from a constituent with a disability or a family member.

Accessible bus transportation is available. There is still time to register if you would like to attend! Contact Megan Long at or 901-507-8568.

Let's make a difference!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Protecting students against abuse in schools

COPAA (Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc.) posted their position on the congressional bills H.R. 4247 and S. 2860 regarding the use of seclusion and physical restraint in schools. It gives a great overview of the bills that were introduced to Congress last month.

This legislation would provide students with and without disabilities protection against abuse in schools.

It is well-documented that the use of restraint and seclusion in schools is neither effective nor therapeutic. Instead, it is mentally and physically abusive. Despite this, thousands of cases of restraint and seclusion occur in our nation’s schools annually, often with tragic results, including the death of children.
For years, schools’ use of restraint, seclusion, and aversive interventions was unpublicized and little-known, despite their widespread use. However, recent reports by COPAA [1] and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)[2], and Congressional testimony by the U.S. Government Accountability Office [3] have served to shine a spotlight on these abusive practices. In their findings sections, H.R. 4247 and S. 2860 recognize that "physical restraint and seclusion have resulted in physical injury, psychological trauma, and death to children in public and private schools," as described in these reports. The reports also note that existing laws alone have not protected students against such abuse and injury, though many do offer important protections. The bills, therefore, include a critically important savings clause that preserves existing additional rights under state and federal law.
COPAA is a national organization of parents, advocates and attorneys dedicated to protecting the civil and educational rights of children with disabilities, whose members represent families in 48 States and the District of Columbia. As such, COPAA believes this legislation is a crucial first step toward the ultimate goals of eliminating abuse and restraint in schools, limiting use of restraint and seclusion to true emergencies, and assuring that children who exhibit challenging behaviors obtain appropriate, safe, and effective educational services.
You can read more here.

Career Development students find jobs

Disability Scoop reported that the unemployment rate for people with disabilities fell in the month of December! This is great to hear, but it should also remind us that we still have a long way to go to ensure that everyone is given the opportunity to hold meaningful employment and to become empowered citizens in our community.

A couple of The Arc's former CDJP students are starting jobs this month. Steven Beckham was recently hired at Cracker Barrel and Alexis Chalmers is now a receptionist with Black Lion Security. Congratulations!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center resources

If you'll be in Nashville in the coming week, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC) has the Creative Expressions XV exhibit up until January 12. The exhibit features art in many mediums by artists with a wide range of disabilities.

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center has an array of brochures and information also available to visitors that you can take home, including a comprehensive bibliography for emergency preparedness and response for the disability community. Many of the articles and resources can be found online and include information for families from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Florida Institute of Family Involvement, pamphlets from the National Organization on Disability and FEMA, a disaster preparedness poster from the University of Kansas, and employer information from the Job Accommodation Network.

VKC also has a great resource list on their website with links searchable by topic.