During August, the Parent Information (PIC) of NH offers these free, valuable virtual workshops on the Special Education process.

The Basics: a 1-hour-ish Tour of the NH Special Education Process
August 16, 2021 - 10:30am-12:00pm
This workshop provides a brief overview NH’s special education process, including an introduction to some important requirements that support parent involvement in the process and tips to help you to be a more effective participant in the process.
Register here.

Getting Your Ducks in a Row: Becoming a More Informed, Better Organized Participant in the NH Special Education Process
August 16, 2021 - 6:00-7:30pm
This workshop will provide parents with a basic overview of the NH special education process, including the requirements that support parent involvement in the process. Knowledge of your rights is not enough though. This session will also introduce parents to resources, tools and strategies they can use to become better organized and more effective (and yes, more confident) participants in their child’s IEP Team meetings.
Register here.

Brown Bag Chat: Strategies for Preparing for the 2021-2022 School Year
August 19, 2021 - 12:00-1:00pm
This upcoming school year, most children will be returning to in-person school full time, but schools, families and children will still need to take steps to make it a safe experience. Preparing for the start of the new school year this year will involve more than just buying school supplies and figuring out your child’s school and bus schedule. In this chat, parents will have an opportunity to share their concerns and what steps or strategies they are using to prepare themselves and their child for going back to school.
Register here.

Managing Difficult Conversations
August 23, 2021 - 10:30am-12:00pm
Even with the best intentions, sometimes IEP Teams must have difficult conversations or may find themselves in conflict. In this workshop we will discover and apply different practices in order to move forward in an agreeable manner when these situations arise. This session will expand your ability to convert difficult situations into collaborative solutions.
Register here.

Let’s Chat About: Tips from the Trenches – How Your IEP Team Meeting Can Be More Positive & Productive
August 24, 2021 - 6:30-8:00pm
Because IEP team meetings are important and as parents we want to do what is best for our children, these meetings can be emotional and even overwhelming events. By having a basic understanding of the special education process, being well-prepared and using tried and true strategies (from other parents who have “been there”), you can work with your child’s IEP team to develop an IEP that meets your child’s needs so your child can succeed.
Register here.

Here is the latest COVID update for MDS staff.

When do I need to wear a mask?

-Anyone working inside with an individual who is not fully vaccinated
-Anyone working inside who is not vaccinated
-When requested by the individual or guardian
-While performing personal care
-When working closely (within 2-3 feet) with individuals who are medically fragile regardless of individual's vaccination status (not including car if windows are open)
-Working in a staffed residence with 3 or more individuals
-Transportation that combines multiple households unless vaccination status is known
-Guests in staffed residences are requested to be masked

When do I need to wear a mask in the MDS office?

-Recommend the use of mask in all common areas
-Require it of those who are not vaccinated (do we use honor system? Pretty easy to figure out since we know who was vaccinated)
-Reception is required to put on a mask when guests enter and we would require any non-MDS staff to wear masks since we will have no idea if they're vaccinated
-If you are in someone else’s office and they want you to wear a mask

Other important notes:

-Guests need to continue to call when arriving and wait in car until conference room is available
-Guests still need to be screened
-Unvaccinated staff and individuals must still be screened

Known Covid exposure:
-If fully vaccinated- no quarantine required, monitor for symptoms; quarantine & test if symptomatic
-Not fully vaccinated- need to quarantine for 10 days and get tested before returning to work

***If there are other scenarios not mentioned here, please email Mary-Anne Wisell: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ***

GUIDANCE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE based on local infection rates.

The MDS Strategic Planning committee put together

At its May 24, 2021 meeting, the MDS Board of Directors approved the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, put together by Strategic Planning Task Force that came together in late 2020. Below are highlights. A copy of the full Strategic Plan is available here.

In the coming years, MDS will build on its greatest strengths: a dedicated group of staff and provider agencies, relationship-centered service delivery, and financial stability. We will continue to provide high quality community-based, family-driven services in an environment with continually shifting elements.

This past year’s pandemic has brought to the forefront a number of opportunities as well as challenges for the organization. Our mission’s watchwords of inclusion, participation and mutual relationships were sorely tested during the pandemic as we tried to find new ways to keep people safe and still connected. We recognize the need to make smarter use of technology to become both internally and externally more effective. Workforce shortages and staff turnover, which are chronic issues, will require focused, deliberate attention, especially as many of our long-term staff approach retirement. Clear stakeholder communication – in service delivery, family support and staff development – will be a crucial part of our success.

External forces over which we have only limited control continue to affect what we do and how we operate. Federal and state regulations create personnel, paperwork and funding challenges, as do changing political climates. Workforce, housing and transportation shortages are broad concerns for everyone in our region; MDS can and should be at the table as these systemic issues are addressed.

Our efforts over the next five years will focus on supporting individuals to be as independent as possible, supporting families, building community relationships, fostering a healthy work environment, and shoring up our internal processes, all so that we can provide innovative, high-quality services for individuals with developmental disabilities. That is why we exist, and these efforts are how we will succeed.

The Strategic Planning committee gathered information via online survey from stakeholders about our current and future situation, and areas of strength and areas of opportunity for improvement. Based on analysis and discussion of the data, the group pinpointed five areas of overarching focus to guide MDS through the next five years. Strategic areas of focus are of parallel and equal importance, and will have goals that flow through to impact all of the focus areas.

A copy of the full Strategic Plan is available here.


MCO Case Management Listening Session July 24 at 7 p.m.

Do you know that MCOs provide case management services as part of their contracts? Families living with disabilities and special health care needs can find out more about this at a Zoom-based public listening session on Thursday, June 24 from 7-8:30 p.m. For more information contact Heather Youn, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NH Healthy Families, Well Sense and AmeriHealth Caritas, NH's Medicaid care management companies (MCOs), provide care management services as part of their contracts. Are you receiving these services? Do you know that the MCOs offer care management for ALL of the services your loved one with a disability needs? Have you ever tried to access care management through your Medicaid MCO? How is it working?

If you use this or if you don’t know about this service, we need your feedback to learn the best way to share this information with families and other stakeholders. A public listening session is being held on Thursday, June 24 from 7 to 8:30 p.m..

MCOs are currently working on staffing requirements for some key positions that include care management services. This listening session will be a way to gather some of that information and be able to provide feedback to the department and the MCOs to be sure families are connected with a care manager, if they so choose.