The Revere Commission on Disabilities held its regular monthly meeting last Tuesday evening, April 12.
President Ralph DeCicco, Vice President Pauline Perno and Members Mario Grimanis, Jason Barone, Asmaa Aabou-Fouda and Robert Brown were present for the meeting held via Zoom.
After the approval of the minutes of the March meeting (which was the first item on the agenda), the commissioners discussed the following agenda items.
Updates/next steps from the March meeting:
Perno presented an update regarding the possibility of a pet pantry for disabled and senior residents needing this assistance for their pets to be sponsored by Sandy’s 4PAWS Care and First Congregational Church. She said pet donations of any kind are currently accepted at Sandy’s.
“We’re hoping this will take off,” said Perno, who noted that some Revere residents face the prospect of being forced to give up their pets because they can’t afford to keep them. . “We’re looking to get this started as soon as possible so we can get it up and running and establish a baseline,”
In another case, Perno said she looked into the issue of allowing therapy dogs in schools. She said other school districts have had a very positive response to the use of therapy dogs in their school systems.
However, she said, “Finding therapy dogs is the hardest part. I didn’t go and set something up and have it backfire in the end. We have a lot of groundwork to do, but everything I’ve looked for has been positive.
DeCicco said he has heard of police departments using therapy dogs in their communities.
Brown suggested it would make sense for trainers to come to schools with their dogs to show school staff the benefits of therapy dogs.
March SEPAC Updates/April Events:
The commission noted that the Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) discussed the idea of using the right words, language and symbols for Autism Awareness Month March. at its March meeting. There was a strong turnout at the event which included appearances from Mayor Brian Arrigo and State Rep. Jessica Giannino.
Other issues discussed at the SEPAC meeting included: preliminary discussions and ideas for organizing events across the city and involving parents; the upcoming election involving SEPAC; and how to have a free swimming lessons and swimming program with the new lifeguard working with the city.
Perno noted that there is a movement underway to change the designation from Autism Awareness Month to Autism Acceptance Month.
CODA (Commissions on Disabilities Alliance) – Zoom monthly meeting April 6, 2022:
DeCicco said most of the discussion at the CODA meeting revolved around the issue of accessible voting machines and accessible mail-in voting.
“The problem is that the machines in many communities are old and inaccessible,” DeCicco said. “This is a particular problem for people with visual impairments, including absentee ballots. State election officials are seeking to address this issue.
“It’s very concerning and unacceptable that this is even a problem in 2022,” Barone said. “It’s sad that we even talk about this. A lot of blind people stay at home and feel like they can’t even be a part of anything. A lot of people with disabilities are disenfranchised.
The group also discussed the general lack of empathy for people with disabilities and suggested it might make sense to have a day when city workers volunteer to find out what it’s like to live with a disabled person. disability for a day.
Perno and Barone said they would look to find programs the city could emulate.
Discussion regarding the progression of medical conditions and disabilities causing people to leave the workforce, as well as who to turn to for help:
Perno said there are more and more diagnosed diseases, especially as the population ages, that involve disorders that aren’t necessarily seen.
Brown noted that he was only recently diagnosed with an illness that would require him to be on medication for the rest of his life.
“We have to be aware that people may have issues that aren’t easily identifiable,” Perno said.
Commissioners agreed to discuss this matter further at their May meeting.
Committee on Disability is seeking to fill a vacancy:
DeCicco told his colleagues that there was a vacancy on the commission. He invited those interested to go to the City’s website where they can fill out an application.
Overdue articles from members of the Commission:
DeCicco said he advocated for remote meetings of city councils and noted that legislation was being tabled by the Mass. Municipal Assoc. amend the Open Meetings Act to allow remote meetings.
“I want Revere to be at the forefront of this movement, even without legislation,” which will allow for a hybrid option of live and remote meetings, DeCicco said.
DeCicco noted that a special guest for the May meeting will be a representative from the Disability Advocacy Commission.
Perno then read the commission’s monthly reminder:
“The Disabled Persons Commission is trying to limit in-person appointments while we set up a new permanent location. Residents can speak to staff at our 311 Voter Service Center Monday through Friday when you call our office at 781-286-8267. They will be able to answer most questions, but if they cannot or if you wish to be called back by our service, please ask to be transferred to Disability Offices voicemail and someone will answer you as soon as possible.
“As always, please let us know if there is anything you would like to be discussed or brought up and added to our monthly meeting agenda. You can let us know if there is a question or concern you would like to discuss. The Commission is here to help and assist all Revere residents and families with disabilities.
The next committee meeting (via zoom) will take place on Tuesday, May 10 at 6 p.m.