April 1, 2017        Connecting you with the Minnesota autism community.

A Note from Jonah Weinberg, Executive Director
Today is the start of Autism Awareness Month, and for the next 30 days, people and organizations across the nation will tell autism stories, both of accomplishments and challenges. 

We are grateful to see autism in the spotlight, but AuSM's mission extends far beyond blue lights and puzzle piece ribbons. We celebrate the diversity of the spectrum each day through the work we do for our local autism community.

Our mission of enhancing the lives of people affected by autism requires actions that touch real people. We do this through AuSM's Counseling and Consulting Services, AuSM Information and Resources, social skills classes, free support groups, summer camps, customized training for businesses and organizations, membership, the AuSM Lending LibraryAuSM Skillshops, Uniting the Community events, and the 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference.

AuSM's mission in action - this is what we are about every day of the year. We are here to serve the local autism community through programs and services that make a difference. In April and every day, together we celebrate awareness, acceptance, and appreciation of those affected by autism, and together we exist to make every day better.

Thank you for being AuSM, Minnesota autism community!

Have an AuSM day!

AuSM Executive Director
Register today for the state autism conference
The Autism Society of Minnesota invites you to participate in the 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference April 26-29, 2017. During this event, we will join our voices as a passionate community to inspire learning, hope, and innovation. Here experts, parents, caregivers, educators, paraprofessionals, mental health professionals, service providers, and individuals on the spectrum will have a platform to connect, collaborate, advocate, and educate. The conference will take place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place and will feature keynote speakers; 30+ cutting-edge breakout sessions delivered by autism experts; 40 exhibitors offering autism products and services; the AuSM Bookstore; and much more. Registrations are selling quickly and space is limited.

Note:  Temple Grandin's keynote presentation on April 27 is SOLD OUT as of March 29. We are no longer accepting registrations for Dr. Grandin's keynote presentation. Full conference and Thursday registrations purchased after March 29 will NOT include Dr. Grandin's presentation, and registration fees have been reduced to reflect this fact. Thank you for your excitement for this year's conference. We look forward to seeing you at the other information-packed conference sessions April 26-29.


2017 AuSM Educator Challenge winners
We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 AuSM Educator Challenge:
  • Courtney Hess, Forest Lake Project Search-Fairview Lakes, Forest Lake Public Schools
  • Heather Jacobs, White Bear Lake Area High School, White Bear Lake School District
  • Mary Jensen, Leaf River Academy, Freshwater Education District
  • Angie Young, Stevens Elementary, Dawson-Boyd
  • Linda Wagner, Willow River Elementary, School District of Hudson, Wis.
Educators in Minnesota and surrounding states were invited to share strategies on how they encourage and motivate their students. Winning teachers' tips included incorporating "brain breaks"; relating to students by learning about students' special interests; flexible seating options; incorporating a "refocusing zone"; and using optical illusions to show how our brain can sometimes trick us.

The five winning teachers will present their strategies during Chris Ulmer's keynote presentation at the 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference from 8:30-10:30 a.m. on April 28. Chris Ulmer is a special education teacher and motivational speaker who founded "Special Books By Special Kids", an organization that seeks to normalize the diversity of the human condition under the pillars of honesty, respect, mindfulness, positivity and collaboration.

Click here for a detailed 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism 
Conference schedule. Click here to register!
Oh, the AuSM Places We'll Go!
AuSM's 3rd Annual Gala Celebration
AuSM's third annual gala celebration will take place from 6-10 p.m. on April 28, 2017 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place and will feature an exciting evening of fantastic food, drinks, games of chance and mystery, and a silent auction.

2017 AuSM Gala Live Auction Item: Luxury Beach Getaway
"You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!"  - Dr. Seuss
A lucky bidder at the 2017 gala will win a week-long stay at "Water Colors", a luxury beach home in charming Anna Maria Island in southwest Florida. The home features four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a spacious living area, custom gourmet kitchen and dining area, large decks, a heated pool, a spa, an outdoor shower, and a cabana. Situated perfectly, "Water Colors" is just a few steps from Anna Maria's gorgeous beach. It is also an easy stroll to some of the island's favorite restaurants and shops. The package includes two tickets on Delta Air Lines to get you on your way.

Register today to celebrate with us on April 28!

An Introduction to Providing Patient-Centered Care to Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

May 23, 2017
8-10 a.m.

La Clinica Community Room
153 Cesar Chavez St.
St. Paul, MN 55107 

The Health Professions Autism Network asks you to invite the health care professionals in your life to a kick-off event that will offer networking and education on how to better serve our growing autism population.

Presentation learning outcomes include: Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) across the lifespan; identifing challenges in the health care setting for individuals with ASD and their families; and strategizing methods to provide patient-centered care in the attendee's own health setting. Presenters: Laurie "Chet" Tschetter, Education Program Manager, and Lucas Scott, Education Specialist, Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM). Cost: $30 - Health Professionals; $15 - Federally Qualified Health Center Employees, Autism Society of Minnesota Members, and Students.  Click here to download a flyer to invite your health care professionals to attend.

I am Autistic
Written by Gene Rossum

You see me and you say hello,
I do not respond, I just look on,
I cannot speak, so I go on my way,
You shake my hand and I offer mine,
I look past you as if I don't see you,
That is who I am, I am autistic.

You come to my house for a visit,
Then I disappear to be by myself,
I don't like the bustle so I find a quiet spot,
To do what is familiar away from the crowd,
I do this because it gives me comfort,
That is who I am, I am autistic.

When I come to your house, all is strange to me,
It takes some time for me to know what is there,
Once I know that, I will never forget,
I may be impatient because I am stressed,
I may want things that are not mine,
That is who I am, I am autistic.

I have some obsessions you may see,
They are not understood by others,
Calendars and newspapers are just two,
That I struggle with day after day,
Controlling them can be very hard,
That is who I am, I am autistic.

Things need to be the same all the time,
I repeat and play videos over and over,
I don't know why, but it is what I do,
I am different than you and that is true,
That is a fact and will always be so,
That is who I am, I am autistic.

I do the best I can, but I am unique,
I don't intend to hurt or do harm,
But I react to some things in an aggressive way,
I am who I am, God made me that way,
I hope you accept me just as I am,
I am who I am, I am autistic.
Production Company Recruits Neurodiverse Job Seekers
Optomen Productions, the TV production company behind Employable Me on BBC2, is looking for neurodiverse job seekers to be involved in a new production of Employable Me in the U.S. Employable Me is the series where extraordinary job seekers aim to prove that neurological differences should be viewed as an asset rather than an obstacle in the workplace. With the help of experts who serve as mentors, these neurodiverse candidates unlock their hidden talents and find the job that best suits their unique skill sets and strengths. Optomen Productions is actively seeking individuals on the autism spectrum who have struggled to find employment, and wish to be involved in the U.S. program. If you're interested in being part of the show or learning more about the project, please contact Sarah Glaser at Optomen Productions at casting@optomenusa.com. Contact Glaser by Friday, April 7.
Become an AuSM Autism Awareness Month Partner in April
April is National Autism Awareness Month, a special opportunity to show your support for the autism community. AuSM invites your business or organization to partner with us this month to raise awareness about autism. Click here for more information and to sign on as an AuSM Autism Awareness Month Partner. 
Autism Awareness Day with the Minnesota Twins: April 23, 2017
Major League Baseball, the Minnesota Twins, and AuSM are teaming up to offer discounted tickets to Twins versus the Detroit Tigers game on April 23 at 1:10 p.m. Join us to cheer on the Twins with your family and friends. All ticket purchasers are invited to take part in a special pre-game parade (arrival by 12 p.m.) to increase awareness of autism in Twins Territory. Cost: U.S. Bank Home Run Porch View: $11 (normally $12); $3 per ticket will support Autism Awareness and AuSM. Click here to order your tickets.
Experiences with health care professionals: sharing your story
Carrie Dickson, MS, APRN, CNM, CNE, a doctor of nursing practice student from Minnesota State University in Mankato, is working with AuSM to gather personal stories from people with autism on their experiences with health care professionals. From now through April 15, Dickson is seeking stories from self-advocates with autism, parents, caregivers, and direct support staff about positive and negative interactions within the general health care system, including, but not limited to, emergency room visits, clinics, dentist offices, paramedics, hospitals, ophthalmologist offices, etc.

UW Research Study: Caregiver Quality of Life
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin - Madison are conducting a study about caregiver and family quality of life for caregivers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The study will look at caregiver roles and how they impact caregiver relationship satisfaction and caregiver mastery. We want to understand how these factors impact the quality of life for the caregiver and how the caregiver perceives they impact their family's quality of life. Click here to learn more and to participate in the study.

Social Skills Classes
Summer Camps (Day and Residential)
AuSM Social Skills classes and AuSM Camps provide  youth and adults with autism a fun, safe, and exciting experience while they increase self-esteem,
expand knowledge, and build friendships that last a lifetime. AuSM also welcomes individuals with other learning  differences who can benefit from skills including sensory integration, executive functioning, theory of mind, self-regulation,  and emotional regulation.

Registration is open!


Twin Cities Summer Social Skills Classes

Duluth Summer Social Skills Classes

AuSM SUMMER CAMPS (must be an AuSM Member to register and participate)

Wahode (ages 6-12, day)  Both sessions have openings.
Hand in Hand (ages 9+, residential)  All sessions are FULL.
Discovery (ages 10-25, residential)  Session 2 has openings.
Life with Autism Series 
AuSM's Life with Autism Series offers information and strategies to parents, family members, relatives, caregivers of individuals with autism, educators, and the community through engaging, age-focused classes led by autism experts and parent speakers. Participants also learn about available services and resources. 

Intro to Autism
Develop an understanding of the basics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), resource options, and positive behavior supports. Learn how families, schools, and the medical community can work together to educate and support those with ASD. Get practical tips on helping individuals with ASD meet their potential.

One Session Class 
Thursday, April 20, 2017 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Cost Per Individual 
AuSM Member: $25; Non-Member: $40


Adults (ages 18+)
Obtain information on topics such as impact of autism on adults, independence in daily living skills, social skills across settings including the workplace, reciprocal relationships, sexuality, privacy and safety, transitions into adult living, workplace issues, self-determination skills, behavior management, and emotions.

One Session Class 
Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (bring own lunch)

Cost for Two Family Members/Caregivers 
AuSM Member: $50; Non-Member: $75

AuSM Skillshops

April 13, 2017 from 7-9 p.m.
Self-Regulation Through the Mind-Body Connection
Presenter: Kathy Flaminio, MSW, LGSW, E-RYT-200
Location: St. David's Center

Through lecture, hands-on learning, reflection, and discussion, learn breathing exercises, simple yoga-based movement, and social/emotional skill development activities for use in school and at home. Develop practical research-based interventions to assist with self-regulation, focus, de-escalation, community connection, and overall well-being. Obtain movement routines for calming, releasing, energizing, centering, focusing, and transition.


May 9, 2017: Mindful Parenting: How to Stop the Fighting, Yelling, and Frustration
May 16, 2017: Guardianship: Do We Need It?
June 6, 2017: Helping Your Child with ASD Learn to Ride a Bike (limited space)

SUMMER and FALL Autism Direct Support Certification
AuSM's Autism Direct Support Certification Program is designed for professionals who work with individuals with autism or who want to better provide service to those with autism spectrum disorder. This in-depth, 15-hour course will give practical solutions for working with people on the spectrum. 

Who should participate?
  • Job Coaches
  • Support Staff
  • Personal Care Attendants (PCAs)
  • EIDBI Tier 3 Providers
  • Educational Aides
  • Direct Support Personnel
  • Group Home Staff
  • Day Training and Habilitation Professionals
  • Anyone who works directly with individuals with autism
Summer 2017 Session
Mondays from 8:30-11:30 a.m.
June 12-16, 2017

Fall 2017 Session
Fridays from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Sept. 15, 22, 29, and Oct. 6, 13, 2017

Therapy and Support
With more than 80 years of combined experience with individuals with autism, AuSM's team of highly trained and licensed therapists wants you to feel comfortable and knowledgeable as we undertake this journey together, striving for positive, individual-focused goals. 

AuSM sends out a monthly "Ask the Therapist" e-mail where AuSM's therapists answer questions submitted by the Minnesota autism community.  Click here  to read the "Ask the Therapist" archive. To submit a question, e-mail  info@ausm.org.

New AuSM Support Group
LGBT-QIA Adults with Autism Support Group
For: Adults with autism spectrum disorder who identify as LGBT-QIA.

Time: This group meets the fourth Thursday of each month from 6-6:50 p.m.
2017 Schedule: April 20, May 25, June 22, July 27, Aug. 24, Sept. 28, Oct. 26, Nov. 16 (3rd Thursday due to Thanksgiving), Dec. 28
Cost: FREE
Location: AuSM Office. No cost to attend. Call 651.647.1083 to RSVP. If you do not RSVP, the meeting may be cancelled without notice.
Information and Resources
April Event Highlight:PBS Sensory-Friendly Saturday with Nature Cat

Join Twin Cities PBS for their sensory-friendly Second Saturdays on April 8 from 1:15-2:15 p.m. Nature Cat cartoons will fill the big screen, meet Fred the house cat, and participate in activities that encourage outdoor exploration. Representatives from the Bell Museum will bring a little critter for the kiddos to meet, and SciGirls, accompanied by representatives from Mounds Park Academy, will be on site to lead activities and inspire diving into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Families and all ages are welcome. The event is free and space is limited; register today. 
Uniting the Community Events
In partnership with area businesses and organizations, AuSM is pleased to offer monthly opportunities for families and individuals with autism to come together and enjoy fun activities in supportive, welcoming environments. 

Autism Society of Minnesota | 651.647.1083 | info@ausm.org |   www.ausm.org

Established in 1971, the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to education, advocacy and support designed to enhance the lives of those affected by autism from birth through retirement. AuSM does not sell or share the contact information of our members, volunteers, donors or supporters.

Autism Society of Minnesota, 2380 Wycliff St. #102,  St. Paul, MN 55114