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You can certainly tell that we are in the last week of August.  It is never this quiet.  So, this has been a catch-up week or, more accurately, a week dedicated to making a dent in the to-do list.  We have a lot happening, which we will share with you over the next few weeks.  No vacation for us this summer, and that is okay because this has been quite a year so far and we are excited about the future.  We are excited to have Congress come back in September (even if only briefly) and to get up to the Hill regularly again.  We are excited about some announcements we will be making in September.  We are excited that the fall conference season is starting, giving us an opportunity to see our members and friends (which are the same) in person!  Last week, we attended the Advancing States HCBS Conference in D.C.  It definitely was worth the time.  After two years of cocooning, it was nice to be around people and to make new connections.  Connecting.  That really is what it is all about for us.  There is nothing we enjoy more than connecting with people and making introductions to connect people to each other.  People working together can change the world.  They just have to know each other! 
 
Since there is not a lot happening this week, we are going to keep this ACCSES Matters fairly short and come back next Friday when the August jobs numbers come out.  Even if we are not writing, though, we are here, and always welcome a phone call or email! 
 
We have a few things of interest to share today, though, so let’s get to it. 
 
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The U.S. Department of Transportation has released an Airline Passenger with Disabilities Bill of Rights, including a video with Secretary Buttigieg.  This is a first for the Department and a welcome change.  You can read the press release here, and download a PDF version of the Bill of Rights here.  Sharing this with your communities is highly recommended. 
 
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The National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia (NTG) has asked ACCSES to share this message:  “The NTG is undertaking an initiative to expand the available information on dementia for families, agencies, and others and is reaching out to family and other caregivers to help us better understand where they get their information and what information might be of most use to them.

We have developed a brief 15-item survey with questions tapping some key areas related to information and its access.  We’d appreciate it if you might send around to your network of caregivers this notice about the survey and ask them to complete it.  Completing the survey should not take more than 10 minutes.  We do not ask for any identifiers and the information will be used only in aggregate form to help us plan our information initiative.  We are looking to get all responses as soon as possible and anyone who is a friend, advocate, mate, family member, or other care partner can participate.”  The survey is located here.  The NTG expressed to ACCSES that they hope to have responses by September 7.
 
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Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education released a checklist for parents to make certain ARPA funds are properly spent by the states.  In looking at some “best practices” by state, we ran across this guide to social emotional wellness considerations for individuals with disabilities, which is made available by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Its primary target audience is teachers, and it has several helpful links for individuals, parents, and caregivers at the bottom of page two.     
 
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We have long wanted to include a photo of the week in our newsletter, but not having an excellent photographer on hand in D.C., we have postponed this plan for the foreseeable future.  Instead, today we bring you the Library of Congress Pic of the Week.  This photo of the Capitol Columns at the National Arboretum is something we did not know about, so we will be making a visit to the Arboretum soon! 
 
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Since it’s the end of summer, let’s take another moment to talk about art in D.C.  We were delighted to see the latest additions to the Statuary Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol this summer!  Many of our guests who have taken the Capitol tour over the years have remarked on the limited representation of women in the Capitol artwork.  This summer, the number has gone up by two.  As you know, each state has the right to place two statues in the Capitol to represent their states.  With 50 states, there are one hundred statues.  Now, eleven of those statutes honor women’s achievements.  In July, the State of Florida honored educator, activist, and difference-maker Dr. Mary Mcleod Bethune with a statute representing Florida in Statuary Hall.  Later the same month, Kansas honored aviator, Amelia Earhardt, who, 85 years after her disappearance over the Pacific, remains a hero to many.  Read more about the Statuary Hall Collection
 
That’s it for this week.  If you have stories you would like us to consider for ACCSES Matters, please feel free to forward them to us!  You can reach Kate at kmcsweeny@accses.org and Sarah at ssaar@accses.org.
 
Have a wonderful weekend! 
 
Kate and Sarah
Thank you to CARF International and PRIDE Industries
for sponsoring the ACCSES 2022 Summer Conference
Interested in joining ACCSES? Find out more here!
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