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State Rep. Tom Sannicandro wins award for developmental disability legislation

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  April 4, 2013 10:30 AM

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State Rep. Tom Sannicandro
State Rep. Tom Sannicandro, who represents Ashland and parts of Framingham, won a leadership award from a state-based Down syndrome organization last month for advocating policies that improve the lives of people with disabilities.

The Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress presented Sannicandro with the award at an event at the DCU Center in Worcester on March 23.

Maureen Gallagher, the organization's executive director, described Sannicandro as a dedicated leader and a champion of the condition.

"He is a tireless advocate and nobody deserves this award more than him," Gallagher said in a statement.

At the event, which was attended by about 500 people, Sannicandro said he was grateful to the organization for the work they did.

"Without their help, we could not pass many of the pieces of legislation that are improving people’s lives every day," Sannicandro said. "They are a terrific partner and I’m happy to accept this award.”

The event, called the Real Lives conference, was named after the "Real Lives bill" that Sannicandro introduced, which seeks to give people with disabilities more control over where to live, where to work, and who works for them - decisions that are currently left to others.

In 2010, Sannicandro also helped the organization draft legislation requiring medical providers to give expectant couples information about raising a child with a Down syndrome diagnosis. The bill was signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick in June 2012.

Sannicandro also sponsored a bill that would establish an electronic system to track the unmet needs of people with developmental disabilities. The statistics would include the number of individuals with developmental disabilities who are applying for, receiving, or have unsuccessfully applied for services with each agency.

Sannicandro has also sponsored a bill to ban shock therapy, which is sometimes used on individuals with developmental disabilities.

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