Amazing Local Resource: PACER center

I have been working with special needs children in Minnesota for over a decade.  I have always been aware of the PACER center and have referred a number of families to them for a variety of services, but I never really knew exactly what they did, but I recently learned more.  Pacer is located in the south metro area, just off 494 in Bloomington, MN.

If you haven’t ever looked, check out their website: http://www.pacer.org/  Pacer center

Recently, I have had been using these services myself and have been very impressed with the quality of the services. I knew of a few of their programs, but the variety of program they offer is impressive.

 

 PACER programs

Huge range of program that are free, aimed at educating and empowering families of people with a variety of disabilities.  The website outlines their many programs, but a few highlights:

Parent education on special education– One of the primary services is assistance to families as with work with their local school districts and the special education process.  They have wonderful educational materials on numerous topics, but also are available to speak with parents about individual needs through their advocacy services.

Simon Technology Center– They are also leader in helping families explore how assistive technology can improve the participation and function of those with disabilities (they have a wonderful leaning library that allows families and professionals to explore options).  They offer a free consultation service as well to help families learn more about technology options.

Not only are most of the services free, the staff truly wants to help.  I have interacted with numerous staff and they have gone above and beyond my expectations.  They are an agency that seems to truly be passionate about carrying out their mission.

 PACER mission

“The mission of PACER Center (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) is to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children and young adults with disabilities and their families, based on the concept of parents helping parents. With assistance to individual families, workshops, materials for parents and professionals, and leadership in securing a free and appropriate public education for all children, PACER’s work affects and encourages families in Minnesota and across the nation.”

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Paige Hays is an occupational therapist who provides in-home, pediatric occupational therapy services in the south metro area of the Twin Cities, MN. She is a mother of 2 girls, avid DIYer, and a highly skilled and experienced OT. She specializes in working in pediatrics, with diverse expertise ranging from cognition and sensory issues to working with children with neuromuscular disabilities or complex medical needs.