Opportunities -- April 2021

Conference

Attend AuSM conference

The Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) is holding a virtual conference, Inform, Influence, Innovate Together, April 21-24. It will feature dozens of livestream breakout sessions, virtual exhibit booths, an autism resources bookstore, and keynote speakers. Scholarship applications are available through the online registration form.

The full line-up of speakers and sessions, is available online. FFI: www.ausm.org

Children and families

PACER workshops sampling

PACER Center offers many useful free or low-cost workshops and other resources for families of children with any disabilities. Workshops are online and livestreamed at this time. Advance registration is required for all workshops. At least 48 hours’ notice is needed for interpretation. Check out PACER’s website and link to the newsletter of statewide workshops that allows participants to pick and choose sessions designed for their needs.

Getting Ready for Kindergarten: Ways to Support Your Young Child’s Learning is 4:30-5:45 p.m. Thu, April 15. Explore tools to use with your young child to get them ready for kindergarten and school success. This webinar is designed for all families and professionals, including children with disabilities.

ABC’s of the IEP for Students with Reading or Writing Disabilities is 6-8:30 p.m. Thu, April 22. The workshop will help parents of students with reading or writing disabilities understand how to use the Individualized Education Program (IEP) to benefit their child.

Tech for Girls Club : The Science of Taste is 10-11 a.m. Sat, April 24. Join in this virtual Tech for Girls workshop for two hands-on experiments to explore how your senses work together to help you taste and enjoy food. Needed supplies: one apple, cotton ball, vanilla extract, one small pack of jellybeans (with at least three different flavors), three small bowls or cups, one kitchen towel. FFI: PACER, 952-838-9000, 800-537-2237, www.pacer.org

Info & Assistance

Minnesota STAR program

The Minnesota STAR program staff is working to provide services and keep clients safe. The equipment lending library has specific procedures and only no-contact loans are offered. All equipment is tested and sanitized prior to shipping. STAR staff wears proper PPE (personal protective equipment) during the process. Device loans continue to be for 30 days. After equipment is returned to STAR it is quarantined for five days. After the quarantine period equipment is once again sanitized, inspected and tested. Virtual demonstrations are done on as needed. Information and assistance services continue as usual. FFI: 651-201-2640, star.program@state.mn.us

MCIL is online

The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living provides classes and activities, currently in a virtual format. MCIL is at 530 N. Robert Street, St. Paul and most activities are there or start there. Check the website to see what and events are listed on the website, www.mcil-mn.org. Click on “Classes Groups and Sessions” for classes updated information or to print their calendar. Please give two weeks’ notice if the alternative format or other accommodations are needed. Events are free, accessible and mostly scent-free. FFI: 651-603-2030

Centers for independent living statewide

Minnesota centers for independent living statewide have gone to a mix of operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically centers offer an array of classes, training programs and other services tied to independent living. Centers that proving PCA, homemaker and other staffing for clients continue to do that in person. But most services aren’t provide at facilities. Facilities aren’t open to the public at all or on a limited basis, varying by center. Check with a local center before going in. FFI: www.macil.org

Vision loss group offers activities

Vision Loss Resources has a new audio activities line. To listen to the audio version of the calendar, call 612-235-3654. The calendar is also available on our website Services are offered virtually. Ask about virtual support groups, events, distance learning and no-contact grocery shopping and reading support. FFI: 612-843-3439, 612-871-2222, info@visionlossresources.org

Online mental health support

NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) offers a variety of free online peer support groups for adults and young adults living with a mental illness, their families, friends, spouses/partners, as well as parents of children and teens. Led by trained peer facilitators, the support groups help individuals and families learn coping skills and find strength through sharing their experiences. The groups are specifically for those individuals suggested by the group’s title. For example, Family Support Group is only for family members and NAMI Connection is only for those who live with a mental illness and are over 18 years old, etc. Find a complete listing of group meetings and how to join in by going to namimn.org and clicking on “Support Groups”. FFI:  https://namimn.org/support/nami-minnesota-support-groups/.

Centers for independent living statewide

Minnesota centers for independent living statewide have gone to a mix of operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically centers offer an array of classes, training programs and other services tied to independent living. Centers that proving PCA, homemaker and other staffing for clients continue to do that in person. But most services aren’t provide at facilities. Facilities aren’t open to the public at all or on a limited basis, varying by center. Check with a local center before going in. FFI: www.macil.org/