PACER’s Annual Symposium
The PACER Annual Symposium is 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Tue, Aug. 16 at Minneapolis Convention Center. Registration is required and space is limited, $40 registration fee Includes lunch
The symposium is designed to enhance awareness and identify strategies for responding to mental health and learning disabilities in children and young adults, from the perspective of teachers and parents. Keynote speaker Anne Gearity, who has a mental health practice in Minneapolis, is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, and consults with many school districts, will speak on restoring students’ well-being after COVID, and the benefits and challenges of being at school. It also features a variety of workshops, breakout sessions, and speakers. CEU clock hours are available. FFI: PACER, 952-838-9000, 800-537-2237, www.pacer.org
Children and families
Parent Leadership Training
PACER Center seeks applicants for parent leader training, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Fri, Aug. 5 and Sat, Aug. 6. Learn about the influence of parent leadership in the history of special education, and build capacity to advocate for improved supports and services for children with disabilities and their families with the power of personal experience, Learn about parent leadership opportunities in Minnesota from the school district to the state level. Set personal goals and develop a Parent Leadership Action Plan and network with other Minnesota parents of children with disabilities. The training is free. Applicants must be available to actively participate in the entire training and be the parent of child or young adult with a disability who is 5 — 20 years old and currently receiving special education services on an IEP in Minnesota. Apply by Fri, July 15. FFI: PACER, 952-838-9000, 800-537-2237, www.pacer.org
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.
Tech for Teens Club : LEGO Stop-Motion Videos is 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Sat, Aug. 13. Using just a mobile phone and LEGO brand toys, learn how to create stop-motion style videos to share with family and friends. Learn the techniques to create smooth animation using the Stop Motion Studio app (iPhone & Android). Then create your own stories and bring characters to life! Requirements: one mobile device with camera (iOS or Android), Stop Motion Studio app installed, and the students choice of movable figures or objects such as LEGO brand toys.
Understanding Special Education : Part 1 – IDEA: The Big Picture is 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tue, Aug. 16. Prepare for back to school with a three-part workshop series. Participants will gain an overall understanding of special education, its purpose, and the process. At the end of the presentation, participants will understand the big picture of special education, the steps in the process, and how to go about obtaining an educational evaluation.
Video Game Accessibility is 2-3:15 p.m. Wed, Aug. 17. Video games provide an opportunity for social inclusion with an individual’s peers, but it can be difficult when a lack of accessibility creates barriers. The workshop will showcase a variety of ways video games can be made accessible. Features covered will include Closed Captions and different adaptive devices.
Understanding Special Education : Part 2 – IEP: Access to Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tue, Aug. 23. Learn how a child is determined to be eligible for special education, the next steps after a finding of eligibility, the required parts of the Individualized Education Program (IEP), and important action steps for parents after receiving an IEP.
No workshops are on the schedule for July. FFI: PACER, 952-838-9000, 800-537-2237, www.pacer.org
Info & Assistance
Vision loss group makes changes
As its new offices in Little Canada near completion, Vision Loss Resources has found more two locations in the wider metro area to hold meetings and activities. The new locations are Wilder Center, 451 Lexington Pkwy, St. Paul and the Eden Prairie Senior Center, 8950 Eden Prairie Rd, Eden Prairie are served by Metro Mobility to the front doors. Many new classes and activities include an emotional well-being brown bag series start in the weeks ahead. FFI: 612-843-3439, 612-871-2222, firstname.lastname@example.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/.
Classes offered online
NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has set up a wide variety of free and in-person online mental health classes. Choices include Hope for Recovery, Transitions, Ending the Silence, Understanding Early Episode Psychosis for Families, In Our Own Voice, Family to Family, Positive Psychology, Creating Caring Communities, smoking cessation, a suicide prevention class called QPR – Question, Persuade and Refer, a special QPR class for Agricultural Communities and many more.
The classes are designed for family members and caregivers, persons living with a mental illness, service providers, and also the general public. Find a complete listing of these classes and how to join in by going to namimn.org and clicking on “Classes” or go straight to https://namimn.org/education-public-awareness/classes/scheduled/.