CareFirst grant provides critical dental care!


Developmental disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other cognitive disabilities create challenges in accomplishing daily activities, especially self-care activities. People with these disabilities may need extra help to achieve and maintain good health, which includes oral health. To achieve and maintain good oral health, people with mild or moderate developmental disabilities often require a special approach to dental care.” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

It is not uncommon to find individuals with extensive dental care needs who may not have received consistent care over time. In order to provide this care, many dentists will insist on sedation, and others have insisted on IV anesthesia in a hospital based setting.

Most dental plans only pay for routine cleanings and care. None pay for sedation or anesthesia.  Crowns, replacement, extractions, fillings, and other care are only partially covered by the best plans.   Lack of routine care and appropriate dental hygiene can lead to a lifetime of periodontal disease and tooth decay.  In extreme cases, the decay can cause serious infection.

At The Arc Prince George’s County, we strive to assist the individuals in obtaining quality medical care. When the cost of care extends beyond our, or the individual’s means, we try to seek alternative funding opportunities through partnerships in our community.

A recent grant for dental care through a CareFirst partnership allowed 14 individuals to receive long awaited dental treatment and restoration. Chris and Amy Thompson were among those who received funds.

Chris and Amy had been part of The Arc’s Personal Supports program for a number of years. Their funding was for staffing to assist them in their apartment with activities of daily living, doctor’s appointments, cooking, and paying bills.  Over time, their needs became such that they petitioned for and became part of our Residential program. Prior to residential, neither Chris nor Amy received dental care on a consistent basis.

They both had a number of challenges including periodontal disease.   With the help of The CareFirst grant, Chris and Amy were able to have their teeth properly deep cleaned, and his gums treated for periodontal disease.  Chris received several fillings, and a crown to replace his missing front tooth.

He is very excited about his new smile, and loves showing off to everyone.   His dental coverage through The Arc will take care of future cleanings, and routine checkup.

Amy’s care is still on-going. Her dentist prefers to see her in stages so as not to overwhelm her.  So far, with only mild pre-work sedation, her team has been successful in making advances on improving Amy’s smile as well.

We are truly thankful for the partnership and continued support of CareFirst!

What is Transition 101?

My loved one with a disability is between the ages of 14 – 26. How can I help them seamlessly transition out of school with no gaps in service?

The Arc Prince George’s County Transition 101 Program

Led by our Outreach Program Administrator Melonee Clark, The Arc’s Transition 101 program provides families and their loved ones with the tools they need to seamlessly transition from children’s service to adult services.

“It can be a very confusing and challenging time. You know your child or loved one needs support, but you don’t know what support is available, what would work best for them, or even where to start looking for those answers,” says Melonee.

“As a parent of a child with special needs, I know that families need resources that are easily accessible and tailored to their child’s specific needs, that’s why we created Transition 101.”

Transition 101 is a curriculum of workshops, training, provider references, and 1:1 education for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities between the ages of 14 – 26, and their families. Transition 101 programs include:

Benefits Enrollment Center – a free screening and assessment service designed to connect individuals and families with benefits they are eligible for, but may not yet be receiving.

Ready @ 21 – a guide to job training and post secondary education for people with disabilities.

Resume Ready – a course on skill identification and resume writing for high school students with disabilities.

Financial Literacy – a family workshop on financial planning, ABEL accounts, SSI benefits and much more.

Brunch Bunch – a monthly forum on community inclusion, transportation, advocacy and support.

Project SEARCH – an internship & classroom-based learning program that helps students gain work-ready skills in a variety of areas.

“We have partners from other Arc Chapters, county providers, first responders, financial advisors and employers, who all come together to share their expertise and answer questions for families as they and their loved one, prepare for meaningful and satisfying adult lives” says Melonee. “We believe everyone has the ability to do something meaningful in the community and we hope that is work. We also help prepare students for post secondary education in a form that works for them, and expose individuals and their families to opportunities and choices that meet each person’s abilities and interests. We want to make sure the people we support have control over their own lives and fill them with meaningful activities, interactions and experiences.”

Transition 101 programs are ongoing. Visit our EVENTS CALENDAR for information on upcoming workshops or call 301-925-7050 for more information.