September is Deaf Awareness Month & International Week of the Deaf Begins September 20

Advocacy, Health and Wellness, Staff Perspectives

September is Deaf Awareness Month and International Week of the Deaf begins September 20! The first International Day of the Deaf was first celebrated by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) in 1958. The day of awareness was later extended to a full week, becoming the International Week of the Deaf (IWD). Deaf Awareness Week (IWD) is a national week of celebrating deafness. It is observed annually throughout the last full week of September (to commemorate the first World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf, which took place in September 1951). The week focuses on promoting the positive aspects of deafness, encouraging …

Recognizing and Responding to Trauma

Health and Wellness, Staff Perspectives, Uncategorized

When you think about the signs of trauma, what do you imagine? Most people will think of someone curled up in a ball, alone, in a dark room, but that is more of a stereotype than reality. There are many signs and symptoms of trauma that are more subtle and you can be struggling with the effects of trauma without even realizing they are occurring. Because trauma can occur anytime our experience overwhelms our ability to cope you may even notice something is off but associate a trauma symptom with some other problem. Some outwardly obvious signs of trauma can …

Daniele Migliore

Trauma Touches Everyone

Health and Wellness, Staff Perspectives

When we think of trauma, we think of the death of a loved one, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect, war-related trauma or life altering illness/accidents. Trauma can also be triggered by those events that may not be typically seen as “traumatic” such as job loss, loss of friendship/relationship, financial struggles, death of a pet, bullying/harassment, natural disasters and as we have recently experienced, a pandemic such as COVID-19. Trauma can be caused by a single event or series of events, set of circumstances or chronic condition that a person experiences that is physically or emotionally harmful and may have …

emily uses speech generating devices to communicate

A Pandemic Success Story

Health and Wellness, Programs and Services, Staff Perspectives, Stories Of People We Support

In honor of Better Speech & Language Month, The Arc of Monroe is highlighting Emily and her Speech-Language Pathologist Mary Klimek, M.S., CCC-SLP.  Emily is a nonverbal communicator who uses sign language, gestures, and a speech generating device (SGD) to communicate her wants and needs and engage socially with others. Prior to the pandemic, I saw Emily once a week for therapy during day-program where we worked on expressive communication skills such as learning core word vocabulary and associating picture-symbols with meanings, specifically starting with core words “go” and “want.” During therapy sessions she had a difficult time attending to …

sign that says you are doing a great job

How do we turn INvalidation into VALIDATION?

Health and Wellness, Staff Perspectives

Consider the following interaction: You: “I am just SO overwhelmed…there is so much to keep track of, so much to do and I’m just exhausted.” Them: “You think you’ve got it bad? Let me tell you…” Or… “It’s not really that bad, everyone is struggling.” Or… “Same…welcome to my life!” Or… “Well, at least you still have a job.” Life has been hard the past year, and while it has been a situation that really everyone has been experiencing, it doesn’t mean that it’s the same for each person, nor does it mean we can just dismiss someone else’s feelings …

An Interview with Winner Vanessa Fortin

Health and Wellness, Staff Perspectives

This month the Rochester Business Journal announced their Health Care Heroes awards, and for the third consecutive year, a staff member at The Arc of Monroe has been recognized. Vanessa Fortin, RN and RN Coordinator was honored in the Special Needs category. The awards recognize excellence, promote innovation and honor the efforts of organizations and individuals making a significant impact on the quality of health care in the Rochester area. Vanessa and all the winners will be honored during a virtual celebration at noon on Tuesday, May 11. Let’s meet Vanessa: I am humbled to have been nominated for the …

girl standing with black lab therapy dog in room

Pre-vocational College Student Lands Therapy Dog Internship

COVID-19, Health and Wellness, Programs and Services, Stories Of People We Support

Morgan is a freshman in the LifePrep@Naz program. She showed up day one ready to hit the ground running! But with Covid restrictions, the program wasn’t allowed to send the students on internships last semester. However, this semester, Morgan has been chosen to start a 4-year long internship. Morgan will be working with an Occupational Therapy Professor, who has a therapy dog on campus. Morgan is a huge dog lover so this is perfect for her! She will be taking the therapy dog from an office, walk her around campus and allow her to interact with college students on camps. …

Staying Connected During a Time of Isolation

Health and Wellness, Staff Perspectives

This past weekend, my husband and I sat on the couch as we watched a documentary on Netflix. A scene showed a room full of people at a party, all shaking hands and embracing. I turned to him and said, “Remember when we used to be able to shake hands with people?” We both gave a half-hearted laugh, even though neither of us thought it was very funny. While this past year has been extremely difficult, it seems that most of us are feeling the impact of social isolation even more now that the holiday season has arrived. This is …

Nutrition, Diet Technician

Nutrition: making small changes for a big impact

Health and Wellness, Programs and Services

Antonietta Alfano is a Diet Technician working with individuals who live in our residential homes. She coaches both Arc of Monroe staff and residents on healthy eating while working closely with each person she supports on nutritional needs. To assist staff at each house, Antonietta will check receipts as needed to ensure healthy eating and recommends foods to purchase as needed for the individual’s diets as well as the rest of the home. To help people she supports, she provides pictures of the foods that are recommended on their plates and work with them one-on-one to make healthier choices. Antonietta …

Who is supporting you while you support others?

Health and Wellness

Many of us are drawn by the need to support other people. But are we caring for ourselves? Burnout and fatigue leave us exhausted. Coffee and energy drinks leave us with a mid-day slump. So what can we do to help recharge our batteries and fill up our cup? Self Care… can help you get you battle the burnout and fatigue. is about more than a spa day or shopping trip. can be defined as any deliberate action you take to support your mental, physical, and emotional health. includes getting enough sleep and fueling your body with healthy foods. includes …