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November 2014

PACER e-news: Resources and information for children with disabilities and their families

NOV. 18 PACER OPEN HOUSE: CREATING COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH WITH MENTAL HEALTH AND BEHAVIORAL CHALLENGES

PACER’s Center for Children’s Mental Health and Emotional or Behavioral Disorders will host its first open house for families and teens on Tuesday, Nov. 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. at PACER Center. Providers of community-based resources, services, and supports will be on hand to offer information, and participants will have an opportunity to network with other parents, teens, and professionals. PACER’s Youth Advisory Board will do a presentation about their personal experiences as teens with mental health challenges. Register online or call (952) 838-9000.

FRIDAY, NOV. 21: “RAISE A GLASS – A TOAST TO PACER”

Salut! Skål! Cheers! No matter how you say it, you’ll want to attend “Raise a Glass – A Toast to PACER,” a beer and wine tasting event to support PACER’s Simon Technology Center, which works to make assistive technology more accessible to children and young adults with disabilities. This Friends of PACER event, organized by PACER’s Young Professionals Advisory Board, is Friday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m., at the Muse Event Center in Minneapolis. Tickets include a signature tasting glass and are $30 in advance, $35 at the door, or $15 for non-drinkers. Purchase tickets online or call (952) 838-9000. Attendees must be 21 or older.

MEET JOSEPH IN THE LATEST ‘AT IN ACTION’ VIDEO

Assistive Technology (AT) devices can be highly effective tools to help individuals with disabilities participate fully in school, at home, and in the community. The ‘AT in Action’ video series offers real-world examples of how AT is making a difference in the lives of children and young adults. Viewers will meet Joseph, an 11th grade student who has dyslexia and dysgraphia. He uses the audio book apps Read2Go and Learning Ally to more easily access books. This fully captioned video series, funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), is produced by PACER in conjunction with the Family Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD). Watch the video

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ISSUES NEW GUIDANCE ON BULLYING OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

As part of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Month in October, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued new guidance to schools reminding educators that bullying must not be tolerated, including bullying of America’s 6.5 million students with disabilities. The guidance was issued in the form of a letter detailing public schools’ responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. These federal laws require schools to take immediate and appropriate action to investigate the issue, stop the bullying, and prevent it from recurring. Learn more

MNSURE HEALTH PLAN OPEN ENROLLMENT IS NOW UNDERWAY

Minnesota families can enroll, renew, or change health care plans in the MNsure Marketplace from Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015. Families should carefully review all plans for changes to premiums, in-network providers, and benefits. The Department of Human Services (DHS) will contact individuals or families currently enrolled in Minnesota’s Medical Assistance (MA) program (Medicaid) by the end of 2014 if they need to renew. MNsure accepts Medical Assistance applications year-round for eligible individuals, including children with disabilities, and children may be eligible even if the parent is not. Visit mnsure.org for more information.

AND THE SURVEY SAYS… USE SURVEYMONKEY TO SUPPORT PACER

Helping PACER is as easy as taking simple surveys. More than 26,000 PACER supporters have signed up with SurveyMonkey Contribute to receive occasional e-mail questionnaires on a variety of interesting subjects. The web-based surveys are quick, easy, and all information is confidential. SurveyMonkey makes a donation to PACER for each survey completed. Sign up today!

U.S. ACCESS BOARD ISSUES GUIDANCE ON ACCESSIBLE PLAYGROUND SURFACES

The presence of physical barriers on the playground can prevent children with disabilities from participating with other children, and restrict parents with disabilities from interacting with their own children. The U.S. Access Board has issued new guidance for playground owners on selecting and installing playground surfaces. Developed by the National Center on Accessibility (NCA) at Indiana University, the guide outlines key considerations and steps in selecting, installing, and maintaining playground surfaces to ensure accessibility and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), and other standards.

PACER PUBLICATIONS

Newly revised: Children in Need of Surrogate Parents
This recently revised and updated administrator’s manual explains the procedures that Minnesota school districts must follow in establishing surrogate parent programs. It outlines three major requirements: identifying children in need of surrogate parents; recruiting individuals to serve in that capacity; and providing surrogate parents with training. Copies are $9 each, $6 each for orders of 10 or more. Call (952) 838-9000 or (800) 537-2237 and order item SP-3.

Updated: Families are Important! An Early Childhood Guidebook for Families of Young Children
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) recognizes the important role families play in their children’s lives. This recently updated book helps families of children with disabilities or developmental delays understand Minnesota's early intervention system and how to access services for their child. Copies are $7 each, $5 each for orders of 10 or more. Call (952) 838-9000 or (800) 537-2237 and order item PHP-a9.

GREAT HOLIDAY OPPORTUNITIES

Send best wishes this year with PACER’s holiday greeting cards
The holidays are almost here and what better way to send best wishes to family and friends than with the 2014 PACER greeting card, which features the winning design from PACER’S Ninth Annual Creative Kids Contest. “Big Pink Polar Bear!” is the name of the special creation by Dominic, a fun-loving 11-year-old who enjoys art, sports, and nature, and has been diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Click here to see the cards and order online, or call (952) 838-9000 to purchase a set of eight greeting cards for just $10. Proceeds support important PACER programs.

Shop Amazon this holiday season and throughout the year to support PACER!
Are you buying gifts from Amazon this holiday season? Begin your shopping trip at smile.amazon.com and you’ll be supporting PACER with every purchase! AmazonSmile is a wonderful charitable program that lets you donate a portion of the cost of your purchase to PACER. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know – same products, same prices, and the same service – but with a generous twist. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s a great way to support children and families this holiday season and beyond. Start shopping now

CONTACT PACER FOR ASSISTANCE AND INFORMATION

PACER Center is a Minnesota nonprofit organization that provides services to families of children and young adults with any disability, as well as resources to prevent bullying through PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. For assistance and information, please contact us via e-mail at [email protected] or call (952) 838-9000. Learn more

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