State Fair Sensory Station

Dear Rio Grande Down Syndrome Network,


My name is Cesar Colunga, I am currently an employee of EXPO New Mexico.  This year The State Fair is designing an area called the "State Fair Sensory Station." We are aware that the State Fair can be an overly stimulating environment; we want to create an area that parents can take their children to an indoor private area who may need to deescalate.  The area is open for anybody because it is a public space, however, the target market is to accommodate individuals who special needs, such as Autism or Down Syndrome.  I have met with the New Mexico Autism Society and have gotten ideas and advice from them.  I was wondering if I could potentially meet with somebody from the Rio Grande Down Syndrome Network, or if you could get me in contact with somebody that would know the answers to the questions I might have, and to questions I haven't even thought to ask yet.  I am in charge of making this area a reality and the New Mexico State Fair is the first to include an area like this in their fair.  I am determined to make this area a success and with the advice and guidance from the Rio Grande Down Syndrome Network, I know that this area shall be a success. As of right now, I am drawing most my inspiration from the Sensory-Friendly Hours of Explora.


Hope to hear from you soon.


Cesar Colunga
State Fair Sensory Station Coordinator
New Mexico State Fair/EXPO New Mexico

HSD - Medicaid Information



The Human Services Department (HSD) recently released its draft plan to renew the state’s Medicaid waiver (aka Centennial Care 2.0). The plan includes some alarming changes to Medicaid that will harm patients:


·         Charging new monthly fees with premiums and co-pays for children, the working disabled, and other low-income adults whose income is above the poverty level, that will cause thousands of people to lose coverage;

·         Ending retroactive coverage protection that pays for the past medical bills that a person had in the three months before applying for Medicaid;

·         Checking income every quarter or six months, resulting in coverage loss for people with fluctuating incomes, such as seasonal and part-time workers;

·         Ending a “transitional Medicaid” program that will result in coverage loss for our lowest income families, penalizing them for entering a new job or accepting a raise; and

·         Reducing benefits for very low-income adults with dependent children and giving the HSD secretary broad authority to cut more benefits in the future.

HSD is holding hearings to get feedback on these changes. We need to pack these hearings! Please save the date of these hearing dates/times below and plan to attend at least one and provide comment. Please also share this with your networks, asking them to do the same.


HSD Public Hearings

June 14th – Albuquerque – 3:30-5pm – CNM Workforce Training Center (5600 Eagle Rock Ave. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113)

June 19th - Silver City - 4:00 – 6:00 pm - WNMU – GRC Auditorium (1000 W. College Ave., Silver City, NM 88061)

June 21st – Farmington - 4:30 – 6:30 pm - Bonnie Dallas Senior Center (109 E. La Plata St., Farmington, NM 87401)

June 26th – Roswell - 4:30 – 6:30 pm - Roswell Public Library (301 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Roswell, NM 88201)


Tribal Consultation Hearing

June 23rd – Albuquerque - 9:00am – noon - Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (2401 12th Street NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104)


We will send more talking points later this week regarding HSD’s plan. Should you have questions in the meantime, do not hesitate to contact me.


Abuko D. Estrada

Staff Attorney

New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty


CDD - Partners for Employment Program Information Announced

Partners for Employment is a collaborative approach to increasing employment outcomes for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Our partners include the University of New Mexico, the Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Supports Division and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

The primary goal for Partners for Employment is to build capacity within the state of New Mexico among state agencies personnel, service providers, family members, self-advocates, employers and other supports.


For More Information - click here

“Career Day for Special Services Students” @ ENMU

I am pleased to announce that the Special Services Program at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell will be hosting our 1st annual “Career Day for Special Services Students” on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. The event will take place on the ENMU-Roswell campus from 10:00am-1:00pm in the Performing Arts Center (PAC).  We are inviting all educators, parents, and students to attend to learn more about our vocational and independent living programs. You will have the opportunity to tour the ENMU-Roswell campus (including our on-site residence halls), visit our vocational classrooms, and meet instructors and current students. We will provide a sack lunch for all attendees.


Please RSVP to Aracely Rivera at 575-624-7286 or at by Friday, April 14, 2017. 

The Special Services Program provides extensive support to students with a multitude of documented disabilities each year.  The Special Services Department seeks to maximize the educational and career opportunities for all students with disabilities. We really look forward to having your school district representatives, your students, and your families attend this event. This will be an excellent opportunity to learn about our program, hear about new curriculum that is being developed, and to see firsthand that all students with disabilities can go to college!

Special Education Rights Training Announced - 3/29

Disability Rights New Mexico in collaboration with Parents Reaching Out Presents a Training on “Recipes for Success” and Special Education Rights

When: March 29, 2017

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Where: Disability Rights New Mexico

3916 Juan Tabo Blvd., NE

Albuquerque, NM 87111

Lunch will be provided

If you have any questions, please call

DRNM at 1-800- 432-4682

Neuroscience Day Registration

Deadline for registering for Neuroscience Day is tomorrow, March 1, at close of business. We would love to see you -- and your stakeholders who are interested in Neuroscience! 



Here is a detailed description of the day's activities:  

UNM Neuroscience Day     Thursday, March 16, 2017

UNM Domenici Education Center

9 am

Poster session, community tables, and two sessions of Awareness Through Movement (R).

* If your nonprofit wants a display table about the condition(s) you represent, let us know. We have heard from some of you, but want to make sure we have enough tables set up. 

* I attended an Awareness Through Movement class today. It's great. It's also accessible for ALL abilities. The instructor -- from the UNM Center for Life -- plans on designing the class for chairs/wheelchairs, so that no one will have to stand. I highly recommend attending one of the sessions. (9:15-10 am or 10:15-11 am)

11:45 am

Michael C. Wilson Memorial Lecture with Robert T. Knight, MD, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, UC Berkeley, awards announcements, and more.
1:00 pm
Supporting Caregivers in New Mexico:  What Models and Policies Work?
Panel and discussion  We hope to center the presentation/discussion on models and ideas that focus on solutions around outreach/education/training to move the conversation from frustrations to opportunities for next steps. We're confirming participants right now, but we're very excited about their caliber and broad perspectives.

Small group discussions

This year, again, we have reserved rooms for small group discussions. A few of you have reserved rooms around Parkinsons, MS, Autism, Brain Recovery/Repair, CCM, Aging and Memory. If anyone else wants a room, please let us know.


Finally, the attachment might be of interest to you an your stakeholders:  NM State Plan for Family Caregivers. Please feel free to pass it on!


Thank you,



Pari Noskin, MSW

Community Liaison, UNM BBHI
Program Manager, UNM Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences