August 8, 2014

Receive that High School Diploma
Changes have been made to eliminate the high school exit exam. Students are now eligible to receive a high school diploma or petition for one if they were unable to pass a portion of the exam.


Act. 155 was signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) on April 14, 2014. According to the S.C. Department of Education, “Beginning with the graduating class of 2015, students are no longer required to meet the exit examination requirements set forth in in this section and State Regulation to earn a South Carolina high school diploma.”


This law takes effect beginning with the class of 2015. However, people can petition to their local school boards retroactive to the graduating class of 1990. Petitions must be received by the school boards by Dec. 31, 2015. In order to petition for a diploma, all other graduation requirements must be met.If students are on an IEP track, they can contact the Office of Special Education at 803-734-8224. This law now hopefully allows for students with I/DD to have a better chance of receiving a diploma. However, student transcripts are not going to be adjusted but separate documentation will be attached to the transcript by the high school or district saying the student received a high school diploma under the act.


According to the S.C. education department’s website, “Transcripts for students in the class of 2014 who received certificates during the May/June graduation, will reflect certificate, not diploma. If a student passes the summer HSAP, another transcript would be printed to reflect the diploma status. If the student did not take or pass the summer 2014 HSAP and petitioned for a diploma, the transcript would still indicate “certificate” and the school or district should provide documentation that the student received a high school diploma pursuant to Act 155.”
Links for more information:
Introducing Mixed Greens 

​​The Arc of the Midlands is excited about the many gardening opportunities for those with I/DD. Find out more about the exciting projects you may be a part of. 

Help make your part of the world greener while simultaneously allowing those with I/DD contribute to their community. Mixed Greens is an exciting and new community focused project from The Arc of the Midlands providing people with the opportunity to gain lifelong skills of gardening and interacting and participating in innovative community garden and service projects. These projects include: Little Green Wagon, Adopt-a-Pot, The Green Chairs Project, Local Almanac-Our Story and Community Gardens.

Opportunities abound for social and recreational activities along with networking with the community, businesses, and volunteers. Those who participate receive goal attainment, development of physical and mental skills, honing social interactions, building self-esteem and having a stronger sense of personal accomplishment and community. Lasting friendships are bound to happen!

About each opportunity:

The Little Green Wagon invites children and young adults at farmers markets to plant a seed and watch it grow per visit. The young people then take their plant home and transplant it so they can watch it grow. Volunteers with this group take care of the plants and bring them back to the market.

Beautify businesses, organizations and individual homes with Adopt-a-Pot. Large pots are granted to entities and filled up with soil. Mixed Greens seeks volunteers and groups to plant and maintain these plants.

Pull up a seat to rest thanks to The Green Chairs Project. Our group provides green chairs at markets and events allowing for relaxation and igniting conversations. 

Walk through history with the Local Almanac – Our Strong Project. Collect pictures and stories from the past, present and future farmers in the area. Listen to their experiences of growing up, growing food and selling and trading at markets. Help out by taking pictures, documenting stories via video or audio.

Friendships and skills form with Community Gardens projects. People with I/DD participate in these shared gardens where support and tips are given. 

For more information, please contact Natalie@ArcMidlands.org

Talk to Natalie!

Hello! I am excited to jump on board with The Arc of the Midlands as the project manager for the Mixed Greens program. You can just call me Natalie as my last name is too complicated. For the record, it’s Szrajer.

I am a graduate of the University of South Carolina (the real USC) where I studied journalism and psychology. I have a heart for helping people realize and reach their potential. What The Arc of the Midlands does to empower those with lifelong disabilities is something I truly stand behind. I look forward to working alongside YOU.

Feel free to reach out to me at Natalie@ArcMidlands.org

Read a book, Spread knowledge

Check out these six books from the Center for Disability Resources Library at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. In their August 2014 newsletter, they featured the following books added to their library: Sexuality and Severe

Autism: A Practical Guide for Parents, Caregivers and Health Educators (2014), Sexuality and Severe Autism: A Practical Guide for Parents, Caregivers and Health

Educators (2014), An Introduction to Dyslexia for Parents and Professionals (2006), An Introduction to Dyslexia for Parents and Professionals (2006), An Introduction to

Dyslexia for Parents and Professionals (2006) and I Am Special: Second Edition (2013).

Check out the newsletter for brief descriptions regarding the books or contact the Center for Disability Resources Library at USC School of Medicine at  803-216-3206 or visit http://uscm.med.sc.edu/cdr.

Kicking it with Anne and Isabella

​​Isn’t she pretty in pink? Meet Anne Bigda, a Kick-It Karate program participant. She and her sister Isabella (pictured below) radiate power at East West MA in Irmo during Saturday morning classes. They are just a few of many participants receiving positive results. East West MA is located at 7579 St. Andrews Road in Irmo managed by Master Jerry Prince.

For more information check out the Kick It Facebook. Email Karate@ArcMidlands.org or contact Sandi at 803-212-8000 or Jerry at 803-732-1999.


Other Arc Midlands sponsored programs:

Walk with Ease is about getting people in the community together to promote and increase physical activity and build new friendships. The program includes people with and without developmental and intellectual disabilities that walk with one another. It’s a great way for people to meet friends and stay active!  We offer structured 18 week programs onsite (schools and residential settings) and weekly Saturday walks.

Wings for Autism: The National Arc office is working with The Arc of the Midlands to implement a Wings for Autism program in Augusta, GA and Columbia, SC. Wings for Autism® is an airport “rehearsal” specially designed for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and aviation professionals. Originated by the Charles River Center, a local chapter of The Arc, Wings for Autism® is designed to alleviate some of the stress that families who have a child or adult with autism or other I/DDs experience when traveling by air. The program provides families with the opportunity to practice entering the airport, obtain boarding passes, go through security and board a plane. Wings for Autism®also gives airport, airline, Transportation Security Administration professionals and other personnel the opportunity to observe, interact and deliver their services in a structured, learning environment. This experience is equally useful for families that have a member with other intellectual or developmental disabilities that are concerned about the ability of their family member to travel.
NCCJD Chapter Champions for Justice:  Through this program, The Arc of the Midlands will help build the capacity of the criminal justice system to effectively identify, serve and protect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), many of whom have “mild” disabilities that often go unnoticed among criminal justice professionals without appropriate training.  Follow NCCJD on Facebook!

Project Search is a business-led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration!  The Arc of the Midlands in partnership with the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department and Lexington School District 1 has been awarded a grant through the South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council to develop a Project Search site in the Columbia area. 

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Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN) Recently Reviewed and/or Revised Directives and Policies:

  • 567-04-DD: Preventing & Responding to Disruptive Behavior or Crises Situations
  • 200-01-DD: Personal Funds Maintained at the Residential Level
  • 200-02-DD: Financial Management of Personal Funds
  • 510-01-DD: Supervision of People Receiving Services

  • 406-04-DD: Criminal & Reference Checks of Direct Caregivers
  • 502-05-DD: DDSN Waiting List 
The Arc of the Midlands 218-B East Main Street, Lexington, South Carolina 29072
Phone: 803-693-5746  |  Contact Us