Opportunities – July 2020

INFO & ASSISTANCE Minnesota STAR loans resume The Minnesota STAR has resumed its device loan program in the St. Paul […]

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Minnesota STAR loans resume

The Minnesota STAR has resumed its device loan program in the St. Paul office with some restrictions due to COVID-19. No-contact loans are offered. All devices will be shipped directly to the borrower and all returns are to be shipped via US Mail or another shipping provider. Ask about accommodations for device demonstrations. Check the Facebook page @MNSTARProgram for more program updates, technology news and information. FFI: 651-201-2640, 1-888-234-1267.

Mental health peer groups offered

NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) sponsors 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. When joining an online group, please add only your first name. Also, 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 more than 18 years old, etc. Find a complete listing of group meetings and how to join in by going to NAMI MN and clicking on “Support Groups” or go straight to the Support Groups page

NAMI Minnesota staff are very concerned about the mental health of the people served and the greater community.

  • Call the warm line at 651-288-0400 or text “Support” to 85511 or call 844-739-6369.
  • Call the local crisis team at **CRISIS or check the NAMI website for the county numbers.
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
  • Use the Crisis Lifeline by texting MN to 741741.
  • Call the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990

AuSM launches new website

Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) is pleased to announce the launch of a new, more user-friendly website. AuSM spent more than a year reviewing website needs, accessibility best practices, and listening to feedback from individuals and families to create a site that will better serve its mission of providing information and resources to the Minnesota autism community.

The new website will feature a site-wide footer that will serve as guidance for the site layout and easy navigation to specific areas of the site. Contact information and photos of AuSM team members on the staff are featured.

Though content throughout the site will be similar to AuSM’s current site, pages in the new site will look different. Each section is color-coded to serve as a visual reference, and together with top menus and sidebar navigation options, along with the site map footer, site guidance will be significantly easier.

The events section of the website will offer a new visual format by month. The calendar is searchable by keyword and location, and offerings within the calendar will have quick links to more information.

A highly visited section of our website, the AuSM Resource Directory has been retooled and will be searchable by content type, age group, and category of information. More general searches of the guide are available by key word, city, etc. with the new search feature.

FFI: 651-647-1083, [email protected]

PACER Center offers workshops

PACER Center offers many useful free or low-cost workshops and other resources for families of children with any disabilities. Workshops are available online. 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. Workshops are free but advance registration required. FFI: PACER, 952- 838-9000, 800-537-2237.

Appy Hour : Apps to Help Young Adults with Disabilities Learn About and Manage Their Money is 2-3 p.m. Wed, July 8. The “Appy Hour’ will showcase apps that help to develop money skills to support independent living. Apps will address the essential skills of counting money, planning a budget, and tracking money spent.

Tech for Teens Club: Coding Video Games is 10 a.m.-noon Sat, July 11. In Livestream Tech for Teens, participants will create their own custom video games using Scratch online software. Learn the basic concepts of coding and share games with friends and family. No coding experience is required. Math Tech: Tools to Support Secondary Students is 6-7:30 p.m. Wed, July 15. Avoid the “summer slide.” Learn about an array of apps and websites that help secondary student (grades 7th – 12th) develop their math skills. We will include information on tools for students with learning challenges. This livestream is designed for families and professionals.

Tech for Girls Club: Coding Music is 10-11 a.m. Sat, July 18. Attend a virtual musical coding session. Middle school girls of all abilities will use Scratch, an online coding program, to code a variety of instruments to make their own music. No coding experience is necessary. This event will be presented via Zoom. An email will be sent to registrants a few days before to access the event.

Self-advocacy work launched

The Arc Minnesota has launched a Self-Advocacy Page. Learn to advocate and connect while staying at home. Tips for communicating with support staff during COVID-19, how to use Zoom to talk to friends or participate in a meeting, videos with meditations and inspirational activities and much more are offered, with resources added weekly. FFI: 1-833-450-1494, [email protected]

Attend autism workshop

Join Autism Friendly Austin, the Autism Society of Minnesota, and the Hormel Historic Home Wed, July 29 for an informative, full-day workshop lead by Judy Endow, LCSW, author and international speaker on a variety of autism-related topics. During Autistically Thriving: Living a Self-Determined Life, Endow will enlighten participants about the shift in how autistic support is thought about and implemented. Understand who autistic people are and how they comfortably function, as well as key elements of taking in, processing, storing, and retrieving information along with autistic thinking style. FFI: www.ausm.org

Most of the groups that have listings in the Opportunities page have suspended activities, have gone to online services only or are offering limited services. Many offices are operating remotely, or with limited staff and hours. Please check with disability service provider websites to see what is offered, as offerings are continuing to change. 

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  • Wash your hands! Hands that look can still have icky germs!
  • Work with your care provider to stay healthy. Protect yourself. Vaccines are your best protection against being sick.

You are not alone. Minnesota Autism Resource Portal.