Spotlight on Resources You Should Know About

ConnectWC provides information and links on a large variety of resources to help individuals with I/DD live full and productive lives.  In the coming months, we will be highlighting a variety of these resources. Some you may have heard of and others may be new. Our hope is you will find some good information that you will find useful.

  • Have you been putting off planning for the future for your son or daughter? The Arc Greater Twin Cities is an advocacy organization that has provided assistance to individuals with I/DD and their families for many years. One of the services they offer is the FutureLife Options for families who realize their loved one is likely to outlive them and who want help planning for the future. They offer support in developing a lifelong plan and provide legal and financial planning. Disability Planning Specialists provides one stop comprehensive life planning to families of persons with disabilities.
  • The ConnectWC Advocacy & Support page provides an extensive list of advocacy organizations covering a wide variety of disabilities. But what if your child has a rare disorder, and you're struggling to find answers and support? The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), may offer some guidance. Their Patient Information Center has staff available to offer resources, information on clinical trials and more. They have a database of over 1,200 rare diseases.
  • Ever heard of an Ombudsman? If you are ever in need of assistance in resolving a complaint against a government agency, they may be able to help. The Office of Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (OMHDD) can assist with questions about rights, concerns about services, health and safety, interpreting laws, and will moderate or advocate on behalf of a client. There is an OMHDD representative in every county in Minnesota.
  • There are some wonderful publications that cover disability-related news and information. You can find a list on the Disability Publications page on ConnectWC of publications covering general topics as well as those specializing in a specific condition. Locally, Access Press is one of only twelve disability-focused newspapers published in the United States and distributes 12,000 copies each month. The University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration's Impact Newsletter provides practical information useful to professionals in a variety of fields, including educators, community service providers, policymakers, and advocates, as well as persons with disabilities and their families.  We encourage you to peruse the back issues of these publications to see if any particular topics may be of interest to you.
  • Want to learn more about your rights and responsibilities around special education, but find traveling to attend a workshop or class a challenge? PACER Center can help you learn right at home via their webinars. Established in 1977, PACER provides information, support, workshops, and referrals to both families and professionals. They offer dozens of archived webinars covering a variety of topics. Check out current offerings as well as upcoming webinars.
  • Accessibility is an ongoing challenge for persons with disabilities. Bookshare is an online library of digital books for people with print disabilities. It operates under an exception to the U.S. copyright law which allows copyrighted digital books to be made available to people with qualifying disabilities. Through an award from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Bookshare offers free memberships to U.S. schools and qualifying U.S. students.
  • Thinking about employment? If your son or daughter needs assistance in finding a job, the State of Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program (VRS) may be able to help. There is no charge for counseling, job placement, and many other VRS services for those that qualify. They can help people with disabilities find work in the regular labor market for a competitive wage.  A VRS counselor is assigned to every high school in Minnesota to assist transition-aged studentsMinnesota Life College is a vocational and life skills training program for young adults with learning differences and autism spectrum disorders.