Mission Moments


Dan recently developed a newfound passion for painting. He has been working daily with a head-mounted paintbrush and adaptive easel. Dan has sought out different staff members to help him make his equipment work better for him to provide the most independent-possible painting experience. He has asked for a paint pallet that he can access independently, and has sought out help from the art team to help him develop his skills as a painter. He will be creating new work for an exhibition at The Show Gallery Lowertown in St. Paul.


It is important to and for Earl to have his voice heard. He meets with his representatives both locally and federally. Recently, Earl met with representatives from Al Franken’s office, speaking on topics such as more funding, transportation and person-centered planning. More funding for staff would allow for increased wages and cut down on turn over. Earl would like to find alternatives for transportation as current options can be too expensive or too lengthy in travel time. Earl likes person-centered planning because it provides him with opportunities like meeting with representatives, which ultimately, gives him a voice so he can ensure the issues that are important to him can be addressed.


Building peer relationships has been a challenge for Nidal during his time at MSS. To improve on this, he recently began “helping” staff with his peers and interacting with them, learning names and engaging in conversation. While Nidal typically requires prompting and staff assistance in order for peer interactions to be positive and successful, he recently approached Jessica on his own. Jessica is a peer he has been engaging with more frequently. Nidal reached out and took her by the hand, walked her to a table and asked for her to sit by him and work on a table top activity together. Nidal smiled from ear to ear and talked about his new friend Jessica the rest of the day.


Although limited in communication skills, Evan has been progressing during his 18 months with MSS. Although non-verbal, Evan uses images to follow a schedule and has been working on building trust with his staff, so they can help meet his needs. Prior to starting this journey of learning, Evan’s main form of communication was challenging unless he was offered an iPad. Now, Evan can transition between program rooms while following a picture-based schedule of activities before getting the iPad. Staff members have proven to him they are consistent and he can count on them, which has led to special bonds with many of them.



Max was sitting front and center in the performance space, proudly waiting for his dance video to play. As soon as he saw his hands on the screen, he gasped with pride and his hands shot up, just like in the video. He continued to dance along with the video, and told everyone sitting near him that it was indeed him they were watching. When the set changed to the one that he and the other artists made, he again beamed with pride. When the performance ended, there were audience members looking at the art. He ran up to them, excited to tell them which one of his friends had worked on each part of the design. The audience members were happy to meet one of the artists.

Whether it’s a chance to create art, a program to manage autism anxiety, or an opportunity to be productive in the working world, Midwest Special Services sees possibility for every one who crosses our threshold. See what we mean.
Did you Know Our Spring 2017 Newsletter is out!
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