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            April 2021
Give Me Five:

Five things you need to know
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Check out ARI's COVID-19 Resource Page for updated info & resources!
Autism Society graphic with the words "SPREAD AWARENESS PROMOTE ACCEPTANCE IGNITE CHANGE" against a blue background
1.) April is Autism Acceptance Month!

This April, we are joining the Autism Society of America in its third annual “Celebrate Differences” campaign in honor of Autism Acceptance Month. This campaign encourages individuals with autism and their families to live full, quality lives through connection and acceptance. This year, we acknowledge the shift from “Awareness” to “Acceptance.” While we will always work to spread awareness, words matter -- the need for acceptance is greater than ever, as we strive for autistic individuals to live fully in all areas of life.  

To learn more about Autism, we recommend visiting the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network website. Self-advocacy is a crucial skill for us folks with disabilities, especially our youth and young adults! Did you know that ARI has programs that are super useful for autistic individuals living in Anne Arundel and Howard Counties? That's right - we're talking about our Self-Advocacy Training for youth and young adults with disabilities, and our Autism Hiring Program partnership with Howard County Autism Society.

For more information about our Self-Advocacy Training, please contact Independent Living Program Manager Erin Ashinghurst at (443) 701-9067 or For more information about the Autism Hiring Program, please contact Home and Community-Based Services Program Manager Kelly Kryspin at 443-713-3908 or
assorted pills on a table with a white piece of paper that says "HELP"2.) Upcoming Events
Check out these upcoming events brought to you by and with our local partners. Follow us now on Facebook to stay up-to-date!

Inclusive Boxing every other Monday (4/5, 4/19 and 5/3) from 12-1pm. Join us for free accessible boxing classes! Classes are prerecorded by the SPIRIT Club. In these sessions, ARI streams the boxing video so a smaller group comprised of staff and individuals with disabilities may work out together virtually. Exercises are demonstrated standing and seated. Register for access info.

Independence Amplified Maryland (I AM) live Mondays from 2-3pm - Presented by Maryland's Centers for Independent Living Have you missed us? Tune in next week to join Maryland's unprecedented community of disability advocates! Check out I AM's YouTube for a sneak peek at what you can expect when you join us at our next session! Don't forget to "Like" and "Follow" our Facebook page to receive notifications for future sessions. 

Among Us! A Gaming Group every other Tuesday (4/6, 4/20 and 5/4) from 4-5pm. Come play with us! That's right - we're gaming, and you're invited. Among Us! is popular. easy to learn, and accessible via Android, iPhone, and the computer. Wanna give this game a try? Register for access info.

    Join your crewmates in a multiplayer game of teamwork and betrayal! Play with 4-10 players as you     attempt to hold your spaceship together and return back to civilization. But there may be     an alien impostor aboard! One crewmate has been replaced by a parasitic shapeshifter. Their goal is to     eliminate the rest of the crew before the ship reaches home. The Impostor will sabotage the ship,     sneak through vents, deceive, and frame others to remain anonymous and kill off the crew. While     everyone is fixing up the ship, no one can talk to maintain anonymity. Once a body is reported, the     surviving crew will openly debate who they think The Impostor is. The Impostor's goal is to pretend that     they are a member of the crew. If The Impostor is not voted off, everyone goes back to maintaining the     ship until another body is found. If The Impostor is voted off, the crew wins!

Substance Use Disorder and How It Affects Individuals with Disabilities on Wednesday, April 7th from 1-2pm. Our discussion will open with how substance use disorder can start. People with disabilities struggle accessing the resources to recover. This presentation will bring awareness to this sensitive issue. Presenters include: Talia Sullivan - Licensed Therapist and Trauma Specialist, Noemi Gonzalez Sant - Ambassador for Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania and Brittany Rieman - ARI Peer Support Transition Specialist and Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2021. Register for access info.

Inclusive Yoga Flow every Thursday in April from 4-5pm. Join us for free accessible yoga classes! Classes are prerecorded by the SPIRIT Club. In these sessions, ARI streams the yoga video so a smaller group comprised of staff and individuals with disabilities may work out together virtually. Exercises are demonstrated standing and seated. Register in advance.

Inclusive Cardio Fitness in 30 Minutes every Friday in April from 4:30-5pm. Join us for our quick 30-minute accessible cardio classes! Classes are prerecorded by the SPIRIT Club. In these sessions, ARI streams the cardio video so a smaller group comprised of staff and individuals with disabilities may work out together virtually. Exercises are demonstrated standing and seated. Register in advance.

Sexual Assault & Domestic Abuse Resources for Individuals with Disabilities on Wednesday, April 21st from 1-2pm. This presentation will discuss sexual assault and domestic abuse as experienced by individuals with disabilities. Did you know individuals with disabilities are 3x as likely to experience sexual assault? It's sad but true. Join us to learn about resources that can help those who have experienced this trauma. Register in advance.

Transportation for Individuals with Disabilities on Wednesday, May 5th from 1-2pm. Join us to learn about the range of transportation options for Anne Arundel and Howard County residents with disabilities. Questions are encouraged. Application assistance will be available. Register in advance.

Remote Conference Captioning (RCC) for ARI's events is provided by Maryland Relay. This RCC is provided in English. For additional information or to request accommodations other than English-language RCC for such events, please contact Office Manager Nicole Griffith at or (443) 713-3918.
White and yellow banner that says "GoVAX Let's end COVID, Maryland" in red and gray text with maryland flag insignia3.) COVID-19 Vaccine Priority Group Changes!

 ARI advocated for people with disabilities to be prioritized for the vaccine. While we weren't as successful as we had hoped in ensuring that we were covered earlier in the vaccine phases, we now see a light at the end of the tunnel!

March 30th marked the beginning of Phase 2B, which includes all Marylanders with disabilities who are 16 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19 illness, and ALSO Marylanders ages 16+ who receive at least 1 of the following benefits:
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • Maryland Medicaid Employed Individuals with Disabilities (EID) 
  • Maryland Medicaid Rare and Expensive Case Management (REM)
  • Temporary Disability Assistance Program (TDAP)
  • Long term services and supports through the state Medicaid waiver, and state plan services

Those who fit into this priority group are now eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccine! Find the sign-up information for the clinics closest to you here. To, preregister for every Maryland mass vaccination site at once, visit Maryland's One-Stop Preregistration Page. If you need further assistance or additional questions regarding mass vaccination sites, call the Maryland COVID-19 vaccination support center at 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).

We know that finding a vaccine appointment (let alone getting there!) can be a confusing and stressful process, so ARI is here to help. For support on preregistration and related tasks, please contact our COVID-19 Response Program Manager at 443-713-3915 or
logo with white background and blue and black text which says "NEW EYES glasses for those in need" and has a image of glasses4.) New eyeglasses - for free!

We are happy to announce that we are now a referring partner for the nonprofit New Eyes! This organization transforms the lives of children and adults facing financial hardship across the United States through the simple, yet critical, tool of new eyeglasses. Seriously, New Eyes is awesome - even Jake Gyllenhaal says so!

For information on program eligibility and to request a referral, please contact Erin Ashinghurst at (443) 701-9067 or
graphic art produced by NYC Government which shows an Asian woman gazing forward with the words "I DID NOT MAKE YOU SICK" against a patterned pink and red background4.) Speak up against anti-Asian/Pacific Islander hate!

In March, our nation mourned the six Asian-American women in Atlanta who were murdered by a young white man targeting Asian businesses. These horrible hate crimes have highlighted a growing issue in America - a proven rise in racist attacks against Asian-Americans since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Maryland is not immune to anti-Asian attacks; we saw that clearly in February when four of Howard County's Asian businesses were looted and vandalized as the Lunar New Year began.

Last year, Maryland's General Assembly passed a bill stating that hate does not have to be the only motivation for an act to be considered a hate crime. Now a hate crime must be “motivated either in whole or in substantial part by” a person’s race, color religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, disability, national origin or homeless status. Still, anti-Asian hate often goes unreported -  in part, because of community distrust of law enforcement and language barriers. In March, the Anne Arundel and Howard County Police Departments both reaffirmed their commitments to protecting Asian communities.

We urge those who experience or witness acts of hate towards Asian American and Pacific Islander communities to report those incidents to law enforcement or a reputable advocacy organization. By coming together, we can work towards a world without hate.

Stop AAPI Hate (Incident report form online in 11 languages, and resources)