1-774-855-6001 hello@massfamilies.org

Here are some other things that have been going on in the West:

Social Media Safety Workshop a Success

Last year at the 2018 DDS Family Support Conference, I attended at breakout session on social media safety.

Following the presentation , I was asked by several family support providers if it would be possible to have a similar training for families and self advocates in Western Massachusetts. As a result, I worked with the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office to organize a training on this topic.

Last night, 25 parents, self-advocates and providers came to MCS in Holyoke to learn about safe and risky behavior when using the internet and social media.

Photo: Tony Simmons presenting at the Social Media Safety workshop

This Social Medial Safety workshop was presented by Tony Simmons and Magda Colon from the Hampden County DAs Community Safety and Outreach Unit, along with members of the DAs Youth advisory Board, which is a group of local high school students who share their knowledge and perspective on issues that impact young people today.

Photo: group of DAs Advisory board students at social media safety workshop

We gave everyone in attendance a packet of information about current social media apps, the risks involved, a terminology sheet, and resources on how to protect your information and chose what is shared. We also presented videos that illustrated how quickly information can spread.

During the open dialog portion of the workshop, families and self-advocates discussed possible strategies to help young people with developmental/cognitive challenges use social medial safely in various environments. We also talked about ways to effectively educate young adults in transition on how to be independent and safe on social media.

While many in attendance expressed worry about all of the potential dangers that exist, they were grateful to receive the information and reported realizing the importance of staying educated on the latest apps and pitfalls that exist.

UMass Partnership Capstone Presentations

The six UMass students that I worked with as a community partner on behalf of MFOFC presented their capstone projects, which focused on disability advocacy, last week at the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus.

They completed projects on:

  • promoting and advocating for Nicky’s Law (Link: Sign the Petition)
  • advocating for an improved oral health bill currently in the Massachusetts legislative pipeline (Link: Sign the Petition),
  • organizing a community forum with Senator Comerford, and
  • creating a healthcare resource that people with intellectual differences can use with health care providers.

It was an honor to be part of these students’ journeys in their careers!

Scan: Program of the UMass Service Learning Program celebration