MS Society Twins Day

MS Society Twins Day

MS Day at the Twins is Sat, April 13 at Target Field, Mpls. with game time at 1:10 p.m. Join the MS Society as the Minnesota Twins take on the Detroit Tigers. Festivities will include a pre-game parade on the field, open to all attendees. The top ticket seller will get to throw out the opening pitch, while the number two ticket seller will get to lead the crowd in the seventh-inning stretch. Tickets available online, with sections reserved for the MS Society. Both upper and lower deck seating available, with associated accessible seating areas. $5 from each ticket goes directly back into fundraising, FFI: Jake Langer, 612-659-3579, [email protected]

Beach Boys at PACER benefit

The Beach Boys changed America’s music landscape. They’ll take the stage at the annual PACER Center benefit Sat, May 11. Tickets start at $75. The event celebrates PACER’s work on behalf of families of children with disabilities and children and youth who are bullied. All proceeds support PACER’s programs. FFI:

The Art of We

Upstream Arts hosts The Art of We: Can Dance If We Want To, 6-9 p.m. Mon, May 20 at Bauhaus Brew Labs, 1315 Tyler St NE, Mpls. The event is free, but preregistration is required. Only 300 spots are available. Enjoy painting, poetry, dance, and a drop-in class, as well as free snacks, a cash bar and the chance to win prizes. The event is family-friendly and fully accessible. FFI:

NAMI Spring Gala

The Nationally Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) Minnesota Spring Gala is Sat, May 11 at the Hilton in downtown Minneapolis. The gala features a silent auction, plated dinner, live auction and fund-a-need. Springtime attire, including floral fabulousness, is encouraged. Last year sponsors, donors, and attendees raised more than $107,000. Ticket packages will be available online soon. FFI:

Sensory Friendly Sunday at the Walker

Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, Mpls, hosts Sensory Friendly Sundays, 8-11 a.m. Sun, April 14 and May 12. Free. It is a monthly, free event for kids, teens and adults with autism spectrum disorder or sensory sensitivities and their families, offering the opportunity to make art together, explore the galleries, watch a short film, or just hang out in a different setting. The galleries will be closed to all other visitors, allowing guests to enjoy the museum in a safe environment where accommodations such as quiet spaces, headphones and fidgets can be provided. In order to ensure an optimal experience and avoid crowds, reserve space ahead of time online. This program was created in consultation with the Autism Society of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota’s Occupational Therapy Program. FFI: 612- 375-7610,

Science Museum Sensory Friendly Sunday

Science Museum of Minnesota, 120 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul, hosts Sensory Friendly Sundays, 9 a.m. Sun, April 21 and May 19. Early access to galleries, and a lights-up, sounds-down Omnitheater show, which starts at 9 a.m. Tickets $8.95 to $24.95. Discounts for individuals, families and groups with limited incomes and free for working direct support staff when visiting with a client. Other tools for making a museum visit successful for visitors with autism and other sensory processing issues include pre-visit social narratives available for download online, SF companion scripts for Omnitheater films, noise-dampening headphones, SF visitors’ guide, and a renovated wellness room designed to give visitors a private, out-of-the-way space to nurse a child, pray or simply recharge away from the hustle and bustle of a busy museum. Located on level 4 near the Native American exhibition, the room is outfitted with soft lighting, a door that locks, a changing table, rocking chair, and other seating. Ask at the exhibits entrance for sound dampening headphones, a timer, or a kit containing headphones, fidgets, gloves, and sunglasses. It is available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis. The program was created in consultation with the Autism Society of Minnesota. FFI: 651-221-9444 or 800-221-9444,

Open Flow Forum

The Artists with Disabilities Alliance meets the first Thu of the month, 7-9 p.m. at Walker Community Church, 3104 16th Ave. S., Mpls. Upcoming dates May 2 and June 6 before the group’s summer break. Join artists with disabilities and supporters to share visual art, writing, music, theater and artistic efforts or disability concerns. Informal, fragrance-free, with shared refreshments. Facilitators are Dan Reiva, Tara Innmon, and Kip Shane. Fully accessible, but anyone needing special accommodations should contact Jon at VSA Minnesota, 612-332-3888, [email protected]

Minnesota autism conference

The 24th Annual Minnesota Autism Conference is April 24-29 at its new venue, Minneapolis Marriott Southwest, Minnetonka. Experts, educators, therapists, direct support professionals, parents, caregivers, and people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will connect, collaborate, advocate and educate. The conference is organized by the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM), the state’s oldest nonprofit organization. The goal of AuSM’s annual conference is to advance understanding of ASD through four keynote speaker presentations, 39 expert-led topical breakout sessions, exhibitors offering a variety of autism services and products, and resources provided through the AuSM Bookstore. Continuing education units (CEUs) from the Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy, the Minnesota Board of Social Work, and the Minnesota Board of Psychology available. The event ends with a gala, AuSM Fun & Games, 6-10 p.m. Fri, April 29 with food, drinks, games, prizes, a silent auction, and a celebration of those who inspire and support individuals affected by autism. FFI: 651-647-1083,

Free civil rights training

Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and Department of Human Rights have released a package of resources around the Bill of Rights for Supervised Living Facilities. The Package includes an easy-read guide, instructor handbook, resident workbook and four videos that help to explain four specific rights. Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan was developed to ensure that people with disabilities are living, learning, working, and enjoying life in the most integrated setting. Prevention of Abuse and Neglect is one of the topics included in a comprehensive plan to educate people with disabilities and their families, mandated reporters and the general public about how to identify and report abuse, and how to prevent it from occurring. FFI:

Youth mental health first aid

NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) hosts a free Youth Mental Health First Aid training course 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sat, April 27 at Progressive Baptist Church, 1505 Burns Ave., in St. Paul. Preregistration required. The course is designed to teach participants the risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, build understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teach individuals how to help a youth in crisis or experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. Participants will also learn a five-step action plan to support an adolescent developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or emotional crisis. FFI: 651-645-2948 or see classes at

PACER workshop sampling

PACER Center offers many useful free or low-cost workshops and other resources for families of children with any disabilities. Workshops are at PACER Center, 8161 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington, unless specified. Workshops are offered throughout the state, with some workshops available online. Advance registration is required for all workshops. At least 48 hours’ notice is needed for interpretation. Many workshops are live-streamed. 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. Workshops are free but advance registration required. FFI: PACER, 952-838-9000, 800-537-2237,

Screening, Identification, and Effective Instruction for Students with Dyslexia is 6:30-8:30 p.m. Mon, April 22 at PACER Center. Hear updates about dyslexia efforts in Minnesota. Topics will include Minnesota Department of Education guidance for screening and identification of dyslexia in schools, how to recognize when effective instruction is taking place, and questions to ask when students may need additional support. Participants will be given an overview of how skilled reading develops and where it can break down for students with known or suspected dyslexia.

Becoming an Active Partner in Your Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tue, April 23 at PACER Center. Parents of children up to age 3 can get help to understand Early Intervention services, the IFSP, and how families can be involved in writing child and family outcomes and become an active participant in the IFSP process.

Challenging Behaviors & School Success: The Role of Section 504 and Special Education is 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Tue, April 23 in Owatonna. The workshop will cover the role of Section 504 and special education as well as the importance of using a strengths-based approach when working with the school to address behavior concerns.

Early Childhood Family Leadership Summit is 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Sat, April 27 at PACER Center. Interactive training for parents of young children up to age seven with developmental delays or disabilities will help parents learn how to make their voices heard and enhance their knowledge of the early childhood special education process. Deadline to apply is Thu, April 18. Email [email protected] for additional information.

Classes and support in Sauk Rapids

Independent Lifestyles, Inc., 215 North Benton Dr., Sauk Rapids, offers
many groups and classes, for free or a small fee. New in 2019 is free
adult coloring and conversation, 3-4 p.m. Tue, March 19. Bring supplies
or use those at the center. Also new is the Adult Social Activity, with snacks, crafts and bingo, 1-3 p.m. on the fourth Wed of each month. Advocates for Independence meet 2-4 p.m. first and third Wed, for persons with disabilities who wish to increase leadership and assertiveness skills. Learn self-dense and improve fitness with a free one-month introductory classes, for both adapted martial arts and Tae Guk Known Do. Wear loose clothing and bring a bottle of water. Scott Ridlon is instructor. FFI: 320-267-7717 The center offers additional activities. FFI: 320-281-2042

Mental health support offered

In the Twin Cities NAMI has about two dozen family support groups, more than 20 support groups for people living with a mental illness, anxiety support groups, groups for veterans and other groups. Led by trained facilitators, groups provide help and support. Parent resource groups are facilitated by a parent who has a child with a mental illness and who has been trained to lead support groups. A group meets 6:30-8 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday at Eagle Brook Church, 2401 East Buffalo St., White Bear Lake. FFI: Jody Lyons 651-645-2948 x109. 

Family support groups help families who have a relative with a mental illness. A group meets at 6:30 p.m. the second and fourth Wed at Centennial United Methodist Church, 1524 Co. Rd. C-2 West, Roseville. FFI: Anne Mae. 651-484-0599. 

Open Door Anxiety and Panic support groups help people cope with anxiety disorders. One group meets 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. the second and fourth Thu in Room 104, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul. Another group meets 6:30-8 p.m. the first and third Thu at Woodland Hills Church, 1740 Van Dyke St., St. Paul. 

A peer support group is offered for LGBTQ adults living with a mental illness. The group meets 1-2:30 p.m. Sat, Living Table United Church of Christ, 3805 E. 40th St, Mpls. FFI: David, 612-920-3925, 651-645-2948. 

Young Adult NAMI Connection is a free support group for persons ages 16-20. One group meets 7-8:30 the first and third Thu at Friends Meeting House, 1725 Grand Ave., St. Paul. A group also meets 7-8:30 p.m. on the first and third Thu at Dental Office of Dr. Crandall & Associates, 2300 East Highway 96, White Bear Lake. The group is facilitated by young adults who live with mental illnesses and are doing well in recovery. A full calendar of all events is offered online. FFI: 651-645-2948,

Vision loss group offers activities

Vision Loss Resources provides free and low-cost activities in the Twin Cities for people who are blind or visually impaired. Life skills classes for those with low vision; card games, craft classes, book clubs, walking groups, dinners out, special outings and technology classes are among the offerings. Participants need to RVSP to participate, at least three working days prior to an event. The calendar is also available on the Vision Loss Resources website and as a printable large-print PDF document for those who wish to print their own or additional copies. FFI: RSVP hotline, 612-843-3439; activity line and audio calendar, 612- 253-5155,

St. Cloud Area Parkinson’s Disease group

St. Cloud Area Parkinson’s Disease Support Group typically meets 1-2 p.m. third Mon of each month at ILICIL Independent Lifestyles, 215 N. Benton
Dr., Sauk Rapids. Next meeting is Mon, April. Meetings are open to those diagnosed with Parkinson’s, their families, caregivers and the general public. The free group provides support, education, and awareness about the disease. FFI: 320-529-9000

MCIL hosts classes and activities

The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living provides many life skills classes as well as fun outings and events for people with disabilities. MCIL is at 530 N. Robert Street, St Paul and most activities are there or start there. Classes and events are listed on the website, Click on “Classes Groups and Sessions” for 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. The People of Color with disabilities group meets 5:30-8 p.m. the third Thu of each month. FFI: 651-603-2030

Hope for Recovery workshop

NAMI Minnesota offers Hope for Recovery workshops, six hours of resources and help for family and friends of a teen or adult living with a mental illness. Next workshop is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat, April 13 in St. Paul. The workshops are also helpful for people living with a mental illness who are doing well in their recovery. Obtain information about mental illnesses, treatments, crisis management, suicide prevention, the mental health system and local resources along with practical strategies for helping a loved one or friend. This includes learning the LEAP strategy for improving communication: Listen, Empathize, Agree-on what you can, and Partner. Preregistration required. Bring a bag lunch. FF:

Adult support groups offered

AuSM offers free support groups for adults with autism spectrum disorder. Groups include those for adult family members, women with autism spectrum disorders and independent adults with autism. Check the website for upcoming groups. Groups meet at the AuSM offices at 2380 Wycliff St. FFI: 651-647-1083 ext. 10,

Depression in older adults

Join NAMI Minnesota for a free class 10-11:30 a.m. Sat, April 27 at Guardian Angels Catholic Church, 8260 4th St. N., Oakdale. Talk about risk factors, warning signs, stigma, treatment, recovery and resources for depression in older adults. FFI: 651-738-2223,

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