Opportunities -- June 2021

Conferences

Speakers sought for summit

Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) seeks speakers for the fourth annual AuSM Autistic Community Summit, to be held virtually on Sept. 18. The event centers autistics, allowing them to share wisdom they’ve gained through lived experiences. In the process, it builds leaders and advocates.

AuSM is seeking autistic speakers to apply to present a breakout session during the virtual event. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to literature and arts from autistics; navigating and self-directing support services; managing interactions with medical providers; how to write a waiver; meaningful inclusion, especially for those with higher support needs; hiring and training staff; person-centered planning across the lifespan; autism and mental health; autistic pride/self-acceptance; shutdowns and meltdowns; emotion regulation; masking; managing medical interactions; executive function and autism and intersectionality, including race, age, gender, sexuality, etc. Assistance with the application and the opportunity to discuss other topics.

To apply to present, visit www.ausm.org. Applications are due Friday, July 2, and will be reviewed by the Autistic Community Summit committee. Applicants will be notified by July 31. FFI: Zephyr James, AuSM’s Community Engagement Specialist, at 651-647-1083 ext. 23 or e-mail zjames@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.

The Keys to Job Success: Tools to Support Executive Function is 2-3:15 p.m. Wed, June 9. The workshop will explore technology to support executive function at work. Topics will include managing time, staying organized, completing tasks, and maintaining focus. Demonstrations will include devices and mobile apps.

Tech for Girls Club : Oil Spill Clean-up Challenge is 10-11 a.m. Sat, June 19. Join the virtual Tech for Girls workshop to be an environmental engineer. Use household items to create an oil spill and experiment with different methods for cleaning it up. FFI: PACER, 952-838-9000, 800-537-2237, www.pacer.org

Sign up for camp

PACER Center offers EX.I.T.E. Camp, EXploring Interests in Technology and Engineering, for middle school girls. The five-day camp is August is for girls with disabilities who are entering grades 6-9 in the fall. Camp is free and will be held virtually, but participants need to register by Sat, June 11. Do amazing experiments, make friends that will last a lifetime, discover how science, technology, engineering and math can be cool and exciting. 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

Online course is updated

The Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities has updated and revised  its popular Partners in Making Your Case online course. Partners in Making Your Case introduces learners to the important role advocacy plays in changing public policies that affect people with developmental disabilities.

The course reinforces that everyone, including people with developmental disabilities, has the right to make their case to policymakers. The course explores key social movements that helped to further the rights of people with developmental disabilities, how public policy is made at the local, state and federal levels and key elements of the advocacy process. It reinforces the connection between personal stories and systems change, and introduces ways to make your case in writing and in person.

The course also introduces ways you can build and maintain momentum by partnering with others who share a similar vision. The course is free and takes approximately four hours to complete. FFI: https://partnersonlinecourses.com/partners-in-making-your-case/

Call the help desk

The Arc Minnesota Help Desk offers a direct link to information an assistance. call and an Arc Minnesota staff member will answer. Callers can discuss a personal situation goals, options, and a way forward. If staff is unable to help with a situation directly, callers will be connected with a partner agency.
If no one can take a call, leave a message for a call back.

The help desk is presented as a way to be helpful and equitable. The public can still use the website’s Ask an Advocate form or use the Frequently Asked Questions to quickly find resources. FFI: 952-920-1480, www.arcminnesota.org

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 the website. 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/.

Learn about programs

The Minnesota STAR Program is now partnering with the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library (MBTBL) in spreading the word about the braille and talking book program to people who are eligible, including those who are blind or have low vision. The library offers reading materials in a variety of formats: in braille, audio or large print format, mailed to patrons for free, or instantly downloadable online or through a mobile app. 

The program now has an institution account with MBTBL and can assist people in registering for these free library services. FFI: 651-201-2640, star.program@state.mn.us

Classes offered online

NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has set up a wide variety of free 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, 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/

Volunteer

The St. Cloud Area Parkinson’s Disease Support Group is looking for a volunteer facilitator. More than 150 participants need a leader to organize and conduct our meetings (virtual and soon in-person meetings). Independent Lifestyles, the supporting organization, will continue to work with the facilitator to recruit guest speakers, coordinate sponsorships, house the members’ library, and solicit free materials. FFI: Pam, 320-529-9000, pamt@independentlifestyles.org