July 15, 2017        Connecting you with the Minnesota autism community.

A Note from Jonah Weinberg, Executive Director
Dear AuSM Friends:  
This note is my final message to you before I step down as AuSM's Executive Director. My departure at the end of July is bittersweet. I have loved working for AuSM and the Minnesota autism community during my four years in this position, but my husband and I are returning home to California to be closer to family. While this was always a longer-term goal of ours, a situation arose that caused us to move our plan forward, so now it is time for me to bid you farewell.
My time at AuSM has been extremely rewarding and educational. Although I began my career as a teacher, and then moved on to work in social services, autism was a new area for me. At AuSM, I have been fortunate to work with a dedicated and knowledgeable team of individuals on the spectrum, parents, family members of people with ASD, and other professionals who have worked in autism programs for many years; their insights and guidance helped me better understand the breadth and depth of the spectrum. And while I would never claim to be an autism "expert", I met many experts among the AuSM staff and our members, many of whom I've turned to for guidance over the years.
I'm proud of the growth we've seen in AuSM's programming and services across Minnesota. Historically, offering programming outside the Twin Cities metro region has been a challenge for AuSM, but this is our fourth year of summer social skills classes for families in and around Duluth, and we now bring workshops and trainings to dozens of underserved communities across the state. We also recently were awarded a grant that will allow us to offer live, interactive webinars and classes, which will reduce barriers for participation by people living in harder-to-reach communities. It's a great start on reaching communities in greater Minnesota, but of course there's still much more work to be done.
I'm confident that AuSM's dedicated staff and volunteers will continue to expand our reach and advocate for changes that will make our world as inclusive and welcoming for those affected by ASD as possible, and I hope you'll continue to support them in their efforts.

Have an AuSM day!

AuSM Executive Director
A note and invite from AuSM's Board of Directors
AuSM's Board of Directors is grateful for Jonah Weinberg's service to AuSM and the Minnesota autism community. As Jonah will be departing at the end of July, the Board's Executive Committee has begun planning for the transition to a new Executive Director.  Dawn Brasch, AuSM's Senior Director of Finance and Operations will serve as AuSM's Interim Executive Director. The Board will support Dawn as she leads AuSM while we search for the new Executive Director, and is grateful to Dawn for taking on this temporary role.

AuSM Open House and Farewell to Jonah
Aug. 10 from 5-7 p.m.
Before he leaves for sunny California, the AuSM staff and Board would like to celebrate Jonah by inviting our AuSM community to an OPEN HOUSE on Thursday, Aug. 10 from 5-7 p.m. In addition to wishing Jonah well, we invite you to tour our new AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services space as well as the recently renovated AuSM office. We will provide food and beverages, smiles and tours. Please plan to join us!

We look forward to seeing you on Aug. 10!

 - Jean Bender, AuSM Board of Directors Chair 
Autism Awareness Week at Valleyfair
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, the parent company of Minnesota's Valleyfair, is teaming up with the Autism Society of America (ASA) to offer an Autism Awareness Week at Valleyfair from July 24-30, 2017. During this special week at the amusement park, Valleyfair will offer sensory friendly shows; a special handout with accommodations and information (available at Guest Services); "Kid Track" available to help plan your day at the park; First Aid can store medications (refrigerator if needed); designated quiet areas; list of locations for gluten free options; list of locations that have strobe lighting during performances; and more. Donation jars will be located throughout the park, and donations in the jars will be given directly to ASA (not AuSM). If you would like to donate directly AuSM and benefit local families,  click here.

$5 for every ticket purchased for use during the 2017 season of Valleyfair through ASA's link will be donated to the Autism Society of Minnesota, your local ASA affiliate. Tickets may be used during the Autism Awareness Week or at any other time through October 2017. Cost: $36 per ticket; tickets are good through the end of October 2017.  Click here to order your tickets. Scroll to the Valleyfair ticket link. Only tickets purchased through this link will include a $5 per ticket donation to AuSM.
AuSM Adults with ASD at the Minnesota Zoo
AuSM is pleased to partner with the Minnesota Zoo to offer these three classes for adults with autism who live in Dakota and Ramsey Counties. These classes are made possible in part by the Dakota and Ramsey County Autism Grant.

These classes are designed for adults with autism who want a deeper understanding of building enrichments for animals, how zoo veterinarians keep the animals fit, and of how climate change effects Minnesota plants and animals. Classes are designed for individuals who do not need direct service professional supports or supervision. The class size maximum is 20 participants.

Enrichment in Action: Sunday, July 16 from 1-3 p.m. TOMORROW
Cost: $5 per person
In the zoo world, "enrichment" refers to the toys, treats, training, and more that keep zoo animals curious, active, and using their natural skills and behaviors. In this class we'll explore different types of enrichment, prepare some items, and then watch the animals enjoy them! 

Zoo Veterinarians: Sunday, Aug. 6 from 1-3 p.m.
Cost: $5 per person
Keeping our animals healthy and fit is our top priority! In this class, meet some of the animal health staff who work with our animals, and enjoy an extended behind-the-scenes tour of our animal health building and animal hospital. We'll try our hand at diagnosing animals based on their X-rays, check out the busy lab, and see how sometimes everyday objects can be repurposed to help with our animals.

Climate Change and Minnesota's Wildlife: Sunday, Sept. 17 from 1-3 p.m.
Cost: $5 per person
Climate change is already affecting Minnesota's plants and animals. Meet some Minnesota animals and learn all about our native ecosystems, ongoing research, how to get involved, and what scientists already are learning about how climate change will affect our natural heritage.
AuSM, Toneworks, and Mia offer 
free summer class on July 27
Youth and young adults ages 11-20 with
 autism, intellectual, or other disabilities are invited to participate in a free day of fun on July 27 at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia). "A Musical Day with Mia" will run from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and will include a tour of Mia, including the  Migrations  and  Now Where Were We?  exhibits. Participants also will play music games with Toneworks Music Therapy and make their own art creation with a Mia instructor. This class is funded in part by a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. Space is limited. 

AuSM offers new Book Clubs in Ramsey and Dakota Counties
AuSM is pleased to partner with the Ramsey County Library in Shoreview and the Dakota County Library in Eagan to offer six session AuSM Book Clubs for individuals with autism, other disabilities, and neurotypical individuals ages 14-35 who live in Dakota and Ramsey Counties. The AuSM Book Clubs are made possible in part by the Dakota and Ramsey Counties Autism Grant.

Share the joy of reading with others by joining this book club. During the first meetings of the groups, the groups will develop the guidelines and choose the first book. The cost to participate is free, but registration is required. Click on the following links for more info and to register.

AuSM Book Club at the Ramsey County Library in Shoreview
SUMMER  Social Skills Classes 
AuSM Social Skills classes 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.

Challenge the greens during the 
22nd Annual AuSM Golf Classic
Participate in the 22nd Annual AuSM Golf Classic at Troy Burne Golf Club in Hudson, Wis. on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Take a break from the humdrum of a regular Monday and have fun hitting the links in support of AuSM's mission of enhancing the lives of individuals touched by autism in Minnesota. Golfing foursomes will enjoy 18 holes of golf on the pristine Troy Burne course; a complimentary cart (one per two golfers); entry into contests and games; lunch; and an awards dinner. AuSM also welcomes golfers who would like to register 1-3 participants. To register less than four, please contact Vanessa Coates at vcoates@ausm.org or 651.647.1083. Click here for more information and to register your foursome today.
9th Annual Ride for Hope 
The 9th Annual Ride for Hope will take place on Saturday, July 29, 2017 and will begin at 8 a.m. at the American Legion in Zimmerman, Minn. Ride for Hope is an annual motorcycle ride started by Chris & Marna Bame, owners of Lube-Tech, Inc., and Robin and Ray Baker, Lube-Tech employees. 100% of funds raised go to the Autism Society of Minnesota. Activities throughout the ride include a silent auction, mystery bags, and scavenger hunt. Rider registration and breakfast from 8-9:15 a.m.; kick stands up at 9:30 a.m. Cost: $35 per bike/vehicle, and $15 per passenger. Click here for more information and to register.
Sensory Friendly Ants Performance at the Walker Art Center 

Sensory-Friendly Performance: Ants
Friday, August 4 at 11 a.m.

Walker Art Center
725 Vineland Place
Minneapolis, MN

Discover the power of collaborative play with the interactive roving performance of Ants by Australia-based Polyglot Theatre. This task-oriented performance is a delight to see unfold, as children work hard to communicate with the Ants and each other to help search for crumbs. The crumbs, hundreds of them, form beautiful wavering lines, transforming a space with constantly changing patterns. Ants is an enchanting investigation into the nature of work and children's relationship with their environment. (Photo: "Ants by Polyglot Theatre" by William Hall)

Join us at the Walker Art Center for a free sensory-friendly performance of Ants. To create a supportive performance for families and children with sensory sensitivities, the sensory-friendly Ants performance will include: lowered noises and sounds; performers have training and prior experience working with children with sensory sensitivities; extra staff support; and participants are welcome to talk and move around as much as they please. Cost: FREE.  Click here for more information.
AuSM Skillshops

Sept. 19, 2017
7-9 p.m.
Law & Order: ASD
Presenter: Barb Luskin, PhD, LP
Location: AuSM in St. Paul

Studies show that people with autism are seven to 12 times more likely to interface with law enforcement and the criminal justice system than their neurotypical peers. Social and communication challenges can lead to misunderstandings. Whether it's a misunderstanding or not, having positive response strategies is imperative. Learn about common scenarios involving individuals with autism and how to advocate and support them through the legal process.


Sept. 26, 2017
7-9 p.m.
My Child Has Autism: Do I?
Presenter: Beth Pitchford, MA
Location: AuSM in St. Paul

Your child was diagnosed with autism, and you recognize some of his or her traits reflected in yourself. Do you wonder if you, too, could be on the autism spectrum? Is it important to get a formal diagnosis? :earn about the heritabilty of autism, adult diagnosis, parent with autism, and the importance of understanding your needs as a parent.


The 2017-2018 AuSM Skillshop schedule will be announced in August.
FALL Autism Direct Support Certification registration open
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
Fall 2017 Session
Fridays from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Sept. 15, 22, 29, and Oct. 6, 13, 2017

Ask the Therapist monthly e-mail from AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services
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 .

Information and Resources
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