Opportunities -- March 2021

Conferences

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: https://ausm.org/

Memberships

Join MNCCD

The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (MNCCD) has introduced individual membership. MNCCD is a broad based coalition of advocates working to change public policy to create a more equitable society for people who have disabilities. MNCCD does this work by building awareness, providing education and engaging the community. Minnesotans who have disabilities, their family members, and allies can be individual members of MNCCD if they share its mission, vision, and values. People who already work with MNCCD through a member organization aren’t eligible for individual membership. Employees of an organization that would qualify for membership are generally not eligible for an individual membership. Additional details are included in the application form. FFI: https://www.mnccd.org/members.html

Children and families

PACER offers workshops

PACER Center offers many useful free or low-cost workshops and other resources for families of children with any disabilities. Workshops are online at this time. Advance registration is required for all workshops. At least 48 hours’ notice is needed for interpretation. 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.

Taking Care of Yourself: A Workshop for Parents is 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tue, March 9, Join in a chat with other parents of children with special health care needs for a reminder of the importance of self-care.

Lunch and Learn: Sensory Supports for Children is noon-1 p.m. Tue, March 9. The workshop explores what “sensory processing” means and will demonstrate assistive technology to support children’s sensory needs when they become overwhelmed.

Educating Your Child with Mental Health Needs: Special Education is 6:30-8 p.m. Tue, March 16. Children with mental health needs may experience challenges with transitioning between multiple learning models, including in-person, and distance or hybrid learning. The workshop offers strategies for using the IEP to provide support.

Tech for Girls Club: Koding with Kodu is 10-11 a.m. Sat, March 20. Come learn how to code with Kodu, a visual programming language created by Microsoft. Middle school girls with disabilities will use their coding skills to create their own game! Kodu is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. Zoom access links for this workshop will be emailed to participants the week of the virtual meeting. FFI: PACER, 952-838-9000, 800-537-2237, pacer.org

Info & Assistance

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/

Healthcare for heroes

NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) in collaboration with McCubbin Training and LeadingAge Minnesota has created a free, online training on Healthcare for Heroes – Self-Care Training for Senior Workers. The training helps caregivers develop personal strategies for managing stress and practicing self-care as they continue to provide care for others. It includes a salute from Gov. Walz, is targeted for caregivers to older adults living in care centers, assisted living homes, their own home, or adult foster care settings. It is about 20 minutes long and can be viewed on a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. To access the training go to namimn.org and see Self-Care Training for Senior Workers. FFI:  651-645-2948.