Resources for Family, Friends & Community

Books For Kids

It's Okay to Ask

A children's book from Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare lets everyone know, It's Okay to Ask.  The book is for people without disabilities who might be hesitant to interact with someone who has a disability.  Featuring five children who have disabiities or complex medical conditions, It's Okay to Ask explains how we are more alike than different and that everyone wants to be included, make friends and have fun!  

Kit for Kids Guide

The Kid for Kids guide is designed to teach elementary and middle school students about their peers with autism.  It teaches children that students with autism may think differently or need some accommodations, but all students are of equal worth and should be treated as such.

The Five of Us

Angie, Ollie, Simona, Mario and Eric are five fantastic friends, each of whom has an unusual ability.  Disaster strikes on a day in the countryside, but by working together and combining their individual powers, the Fantastic Five save the day.  Teeming with Quentin Blake's characteristic sense of fun and exuberant illustrations, The Five of Us is a powerful though subtle reminder that the world is a better place when we focus on what we can do rather than what we can't.


Seven Things You Don't Know About A Special Needs Parent

From her personal experience, a parent shares thoughts about seven things you may not know about a parent raising a child with a disability.

Tools for Reporters

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) shares guidelines on disability etiquette, including person first language, along with other information useful to those reporting or writing about persons with disabilities.

Welcome to Holland

Written by Emily Perl Kingsley, this story describes what it is like and how it feels to raise a child with special needs.   

What Can I do When I Hear the R-word

This article gives ideas, tips and resources for you to answer the question: What can I do when I hear the R-word?


Abuse Prevention - Tips Case Managers Can Use 

People with disabilities are at far greater risk for abuse than people without disabilities and most abuse is unreported.  The Arc Greater Twin Cities has compiled a list of resources with information and resources for abuse prevention.

A.P.E.X. American Professional Exchange LLC -Pro AuPair

In June 2011, the US Department of State designated ProAupair with the first and only dedicated special needs Live-In Child Care AuPair Agency Program in the US allowing parents to hire European educated Special Needs Professionals.   

Budget Stretchers

A listing of resources and links to help with household expenses and reduced price memberships and admissions.

Capable Partners

The vision and mission of Capable Partners is to create a well known and respected Twin Cities based non-profit organization of sport persons whose mission is to volunteer their time and talents to provide hunting, fishing and related opportunities for individuals with physical challenges.

Changing the Face of Beauty

Changing the Face of Beauty is a nonprofit corporation that is committed to equal representation of people with disabilities in advertising and media worldwide.

Family Emergency Preparedness Kit - Autism Society of Minnesota

Designed for families with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families and caregivers, this kit provides tools and resources to plan, prepare and affectively handle emergency situations.

I Live with a Disability

I Live with a Disability is a social networking website place for people with disabilities and their loved ones to discuss sensitive issues that only other members with similar issues could relate with. The online community provides an avenue for self-expression, in which members can share success stories, brainstorm solutions to problems that they face, and share their battle for everlasting happiness.

Resource Guide for Teens, Parents and Other Caring Adults

The intent of this document is to provide youth, parents and caring adults with information about adolescent resources throughout Washington County.

Gift Guides -- Share With Friends and Family!

  • Creative Kidstuff - working in partnership with St. David's Center for Child & Family Development, staff have received training to assist customers in finding just the right gift!

The Role of Grandparents

Grandparents have a unique role and often share a special relationship with their grandchildren. This relationship, however, can become more complicated when their grandchild has a disability. It can be challenging as they grieve for themselves, for their child and also for their grandchild. Grandparents need to remember that there are resources to help them to understand the positive and supportive role they can play in the family, helping them to create a loving and special bond with their grandchild.

Information is important. If your grandchild has a diagnosis, learn as much as you can about the specific disability they have. There is a wealth of information on ConnectWC for parents and grandparents, too. You can learn information to become familiar with the process of obtaining services, including medical, school and financial programs.

Times have changed. Experiences you may have had with individuals with disabilities when you were younger are probably quite different than the environment your grandchild is living in now. There has been tremendous progress in attitudes, advocacy and inclusion. Unlike years ago, students with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate education and are often integrated into the classroom with their peers.

Ask how you can help. If you live nearby, spend time with your grandchild. Going along for doctor appointments can help you learn more about your grandchild's situation and an extra hand is often welcomed by parents! If you are comfortable,offer your services to see if they are needed.

Support your child. Respect their role and the decisions they are making for your grandchild. Offer ideas without telling them what to do. Sharing information that may be useful shows your family that you are interested, knowledable and want to be involved. Taking care of a child with special needs requires tremendous amounts time and energy – ask how you can help lighten the load.

Experience can be the best teacher. It is important to remember to look at your grandchild as a child who has disability and not as a disabled child. They may have special needs, but they also have special gifts. Help them become all they can be, but also enjoy who they are. The love of a grandparent for their grandchild is a wonderful thing!

Remember you don't need to do this alone. There are numerous resources for grandparents. Here are just a few:

PACER Center, Grandparent to Grandparent Program

The goals of the Grandparent to Grandparent program are: to support, inform and empower grandparents to act as effective advocates for their grandchildren with special needs; to meet other grandparents of children with special needs and share joy, concerns, grief and common interests; to learn helpful strategies that enable grandparents to be helpful to their children and families and to encourage communication between generations; to provide support, both physical and emotional, to our children -- the parents of children with disabilities, thus enhancing the grandparenting role; and to learn about resources available for children with disabilities and families.

Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota, Just For Grandparents

The Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota has devoted a page on their website just for grandparents.  It includes general information, articles, a photo gallery of grandparents and their grandchildren, and opportunities to get involved.

Rett Syndrome, IRSF Grandparents Network

This network is a primarily email based community that will strive to help grandparents understand Rett Syndrome better as well as how they can help their children cope with their diagnosed child.