Advocacy Network Photo



Dear friends,

Next week, the week of February 20th, Congress will be not be meeting in Washington, D.C., and Members of Congress will go home to meet with people in their states. This is a great time to visit your Members of Congress or their staff. Your two Senators and one U.S. Representative have local offices, and you can make an appointment at the one nearest you. What do you want Congress to know about health care, education, and other important policy issues affecting the disability community? This is your chance to tell them!

Here’s how to find your Members of Congress’ local offices:

  • You can find contact information for your Senators by clicking here, choosing your state on the drop-down menu, and following the “Contact” link under each Senator’s name. You’ll be taken to a contact page, which should have information on where the Senator’s state offices are, and how to make an appointment request. If the page you land on doesn’t have that information, it will be somewhere else on the Senator’s website.
  • You can find contact information for your Representative by clicking here and typing in your zip code. This will bring up the name of the Representative from your district. If your zip code covers more than one Congressional district, you can type in your address to find out which Representative is yours. To find the local district office for Representatives, you may have to navigate their website to a “contact” page.

Once you have found contact information for the local offices of your Members of Congress, you can call, use a web contact form, or send an email, and request to meet with them or their staff. You should make an appointment with the district office closest to you. You can go by yourself, or go with a group.

You can use this script to set up your meeting: “My name is [Your Name] and I am a constituent of [Representative/Senator] [Name]. I would like to meet with the [Representative/Senator] or their staff during the upcoming Congressional recess, to talk about [name one or two issues that matter to you]. Can we set up a time?”

Your Members of Congress work for you – this is a great opportunity to let them know what you think. You can use our guide “Getting What You Came For” to help plan for your meeting. Nothing About Us Without Us!


Yes, You Can Dance!

Always looking for more dancers for the Special Needs Ballroom Program for teens and adults with cognitive disabilities. No previous dance experience necessary!

These fun dance classes take place on weekends during six-week sessions. Sessions take place ALL YEAR LONG! Dancers may choose to participate at the South Hills Special Needs Ballroom Program location, Steel City Ballroom OR the North Hills location, DancExplosion Arts Center.

Register online for our next session today! Questions? Call 412-341-1286 OR email Joanna at jereed@yesyoucandance.org


Are You Registered to Vote?

The deadline to register to vote in the General Election is October 11th, 2016.  For more information on registering, please click on the link below:



Do You Know?   PA CONNECTING COMMUNITIES provides the following services through the Office of Developmental Program

Transitional Services W1424 1:1 Services directed towards supporting individuals in transition to integrate, completive employment through work. PA Connecting Communities Transition services can be thought of bridging the gap between school programs and the opportunities of adult life, including higher education or training, employment, independent living and community participation.

Supportive Employment Services W7235 1:1 There are 2 components:

1)   Job Support: Some functions of job support include training of individuals in job assignments, periodic follow-up or ongoing support. Other activities include support to relearn a job, training to assist individuals to use transportation for work, maintenance of appropriate work behavior on the job.

2)   Job Finding: Development of skills, outreach to potential employers, training of job tasks and other such tasks to assist individual in acquiring a job Some functions of job finding include interview assistance, employer outreach and orientation, resume preparation, job skill development.

Home and Community Habilitation Services W7059 1:3  W7060 1:1 Services to help people gain, maintain, and improve skills that allow them to live and participate in their local community This service may be made available to individuals in their own home or in other residential or community settings not subject to licensing regulations.

Behavioral Services: W7095 1:1 Services that specialize in behavioral support for individuals who have challenging behaviors. Support individuals based upon assessment, those with behavioral that prevent an individual from living or working without crisis. The provision includes the training of individuals, staff, relatives and caregivers.

Do You Know?   PA CONNECTING COMMUNITIES provides the following services through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) at our new vocational center located at 564 Washington Ave., Carnegie, Pa 15106.  We have a contract with OVR to provide: Evaluations& Assessments to assess the individuals’ skills and interests.

Job Coaching/Supportive Employment persons are provided 1:1 staff to assist with job development of obtaining and retaining employment.

 CBWA (Community Based Work Assessment) allows the individuals to work under supervision with a group of individuals at a community site before being placed on a job.

PWAT (Personal Work Adjustment Training) 1:1 staff to client; short term work experience designed to help an individual develop skills needed to obtain competitive employment including work behavior and social skills.

Extended Services beyond the 90 day typical training period.

Soon to come a Job Readiness Training Center! All waivers, contracts and school district funding sources will be considered.

Do You Know?  PA CONNECTING COMMUNITIES provides the following services through the Bureau of Autism Services.

Behavioral Specialists 96150 & 96151 1:1 Provides specialized behavioral support for individuals who demonstrate behavioral challenges because of limited communication skills, social skills, limited or impaired sensory systems. The behaviorist will develop the initial plan from the FBA, a crisis intervention plan and on-going support which includes training.

Community Inclusion W7201 1:1 Assist participants in acquiring and obtaining communication, socialization, self-help and adaptive skills necessary to reside in the community. This service includes activities to improve the participants’ capacity to perform activities of daily living. Services may be furnished in a participants’ home or other community locations.

Job Assessment & Finding W7071 1:1 Provides support necessary to obtain paid or volunteer work in the community including job assessment and job development. Provide on-going support to the participants once work is obtained.

Supportive Employment W7200 1:1 Provides on-going assistants in developing the communication, socialization, self-direction, self-help and adaptive skills necessary to maintain employment in a community setting.

Transitional Work Services W0011 1:1 – 1:3 Provides community employment opportunities in which the participant is working along- side other people with disabilities. The intent of this service is to support individuals in transition to integrated, competitive employment.

Do You Know?  PA CONNECTING COMMUNITIES provides the following services through the Office of Long-Term Living (OLTL)

 Support Services Waivers

Support Services Waiver is a shortened term for the Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver Program. This program provides funding for supports and services to help you to live in your home and community. Waivers offer an array of services and benefits such as choice of qualified providers, due process and health and safety assurances.

The name waiver comes from the fact that the federal government “waives” Medical Assistance/Medicaid rules for institutional care in order for Pennsylvania to use the same funds to provide supports and services for people closer to home in their own communities.  Each waiver has its own unique set of eligibility requirements and services.

Pa Connecting Communities offers the following waivers from OLTL:

Attendant Care/Act 150 If you have a physical disability, the Attendant Care Waiver and state funded Act 150 program may be available to you to continue to live in your home and community with support and services.

COMMCARE Waiver  A Home and Community-Based Services Waiver for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). If you have a medically determined diagnosis of traumatic brain injury (TBI), the COMMCARE Waiver can help you remain as independent as possible.

Independence WaiverIf you are an adult with a severe physical disability, the Independence Waiver may be able to help you live or remain in the community and remain as independent as possible.

OBRA Waiver

OBRA Waiver is a Home and Community Based Waiver program that may help you if you have a developmental physical disability to allow you to live in the community and remain as independent as possible.