March 19, 2020
Dear Self-Advocates and Supporters,
The situation with the illness COVID-19 has grown more serious each day as we learn more about the risks of catching this virus. I want to assure you that here at SUFU we take your health and safety very serious too. This letter is an update to provide you with information and resources we have compiled to help you get through this difficult time.
We are hearing that many day programs and community support programs have been closing or changing how you get services. Some of them are using something called “tele-health” and asking you to do video meetings and some are still bringing you into the community in small groups. We know that changes are really hard for people living with disabilities. All of the safety measures that have been put in place are changing your schedules and making it hard to follow the routines you are used to. This can make you feel worried or anxious and these feelings are normal.
To help you deal with the changes, SUFU is working to be a resource for you. There are a lot of opportunities to interact with everyone by phone/video chat. We have put together a list of these resources.
COVID-19 Plain Language Guide can be found here. This is a guide that was put together by self-advocates from Green Mountain Self Advocates in Vermont and the Self Advocate Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC). This guide is written in plain language by self-advocates and for self-advocates. It will help you understand what COVID-19 is, what to do if you get sick, and how to stay healthy.
SARTAC Phone/Video Calls
SARTAC is offering national phone/video webinar calls about different topics related to COVID-19. The next call is on Thursday at 1:00 PM. You can join these calls right from your telephone at home. The topic in Thursday will be talking about what social distancing means, and what to do if you feel lonely. Thursday: What is Social Distancing?
Time: Mar 19, 2020 01:00 PM Eastern Time
Join with your computer – click on this link
Meeting ID: 442 472 018
Dial by your location
+1 929 436 2866
Meeting ID: 442 472 018
SUFU Chapter Meetings SUFU has moved all of its chapter meetings to a phone/video conference call using GoToMeeting. We have been getting feedback about how hard this is to call in and are working on finding the easiest to use service. If we change services for the chapter meetings we will update this information. A complete list of the call in numbers/ video links can be found here.
How to Connect Guide
SUFU is working with the self-advocates from SARTAC on getting an easy to use guide on how to connect to popular web based meeting sites. As soon as this guide is available we will post it to our Facebook page and Blog.
SUFU Weekly Check Ins SUFU will hold a weekly check in call for any self-advocates and supporters who would like to have a social interaction. This call will be held on Fridays at 2PM. This call will change our old Legislative Calls into Check in calls. Topics of self-care, services, loneliness, anxiety, resources, and other general information will be shared. You can call in, or connect by video here: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/782703005
Individual Check Ins
SUFU staff will be doing individual check ins with self-advocates throughout this shut down time. Each day, different SUFU staff will be making phone calls just to check in with our members and see how you are doing. SUFU Online Events SUFU staff have brain stormed some really great ideas for ways we can connect with everyone online during this time. There will be different Facebook Live events, video clips, self-care tips, and maybe even some contests! Keep checking our Facebook page and Blog for more information.
OADS COVID-19 Resource Page
The Office of Aging and Disability Services (OADS) has set up a webpage to share information and resources with everyone. This page can be found here.
Maine CDC The Maine Center for Disease Control has been keeping their website up to date with information as it becomes available. You can find their information here.
Please remember that you have a lot of other resources you can turn to during this time as well. Some of your resources may include:
• Family or Guardian
• Case Manager
• Support Provider
• Other Self-advocates
Make sure you talk to the people you trust if you are feeling sick, run out of supplies, or have any other concerns during this time.
Wash your hands and cover your cough!
Interim Executive Director
Speaking Up For Us