Intellectual disabilities forum with Gail Lavielle

State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) invites the community to an informational symposium for families of children with developmental and intellectual disabilities on Monday, Dec. 8, 7 to 8:30 p.m., at Trackside Teen Center, 15 Station Road.

Leslie Simoes and Shannon Jacovino from The Arc Connecticut will lead the discussion and answer questions. Their presentation will cover Department of Developmental Services (DDS) funding and residential supports for young disabled adults when they reach the age of 21 and lose benefits.

Author Alison Jacobson of Wilton, mother to an intellectually disabled son, will be the guest speaker.

“We all want our children to be happy and live fulfilling lives,” she said in a press release. “As the mother of a 16 -year-old with intellectual disabilities, what the future holds for him is one of my greatest concerns. It can be frightening and overwhelming. I learned so much from attending a presentation by The Arc a few months ago and it’s now a top priority of mine to educate as many parents as I can so that we can advocate effectively for our children.”

Ms. Lavielle invites families to share their experiences and concerns, and in becoming involved in advocacy.

“As their representatives, we have a responsibility to make sure that parents and caregivers of people with intellectual disabilities understand the complexities of how services are delivered in Connecticut,” Ms. Lavielle said. “At the same time, we have much to learn from them. We have formed a bipartisan caucus in Hartford to work on the fundamental improvements that the system unquestionably needs, and it’s important for us to hear from these families directly. Their voices will play a critical role in ensuring that we have a system of support that is sustainable and truly meets their needs. The greater their involvement, the more we will be able to achieve on their behalf. I hope that families from Wilton and surrounding towns will join us at this event, both to learn and to share their thoughts and concerns. Everyone is welcome.”

Founded more than 60 years ago, The Arc Connecticut is an advocacy organization committed to protecting the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and to promoting opportunities for their full inclusion in their communities.