December 1, 2016        Connecting you with the Minnesota autism community.

A Note from Jonah Weinberg, Executive Director
They've been spotted at resource fairs. They hung out at community venues on Give to the Max Day. They relax on the reception desk at AuSM. They're taking over all available space in our office.

Who are those critters?

I'd like to introduce you to Dash the Dog and Flash the Cat, our hero mascots for Steps of Hope for Autism in Minnesota 2017. Donated to AuSM by our friends at PetSmart, the super soft Dash and Flash are helping us spread the word about our newest feature during our family-friendly fundraising walk to be held on March 5, 2017 - the AuSM Flash Dash. This fun addition to Steps of Hope will be a measured, short walk that will take place inside Southdale and kick-off the 2017 event. Everyone is invited to be a part of the AuSM Flash Dash!

Steps of Hope is an exciting fundraiser and community-building day for AuSM. I encourage you to register to participate, collect donations in support of AuSM's programs and services for our local community, and sign up for the new AuSM Flash Dash. The holiday season is the perfect time to invite you family, friends, colleagues, and others in your network to join you in supporting our AuSM community. March 5, 2017 is sure to be a day to remember!

Read on to learn about all of the great classes, programs, and events we have coming up in the coming weeks.

Have an AuSM day!

AuSM Executive Director
Autism Heroes, it's time to register for Steps of Hope
Activate your inner superhero! AuSM will present Steps of Hope for Autism in Minnesota, its 17th annual family fun walk and the state's largest autism resource fair at Southdale Center on March 5, 2017 from 8:30-11 a.m. Each participant is an autism hero, rallying for the 1 in 68 individuals living with autism in Minnesota. Registration to participate in Steps of Hope 2017 (including the autism resource fair) is free.

AuSM is pleased to announce that its inaugural 
AuSM Flash Dash  will kick off Steps of Hope for Autism in Minnesota 2017. Held from 9-9:15 a.m. on the first floor of Southdale Center, the AuSM Flash Dash is an all ages and abilities quick walk that will be done in a flash . Families and individuals who register for the AuSM Flash Dash will receive medals at the finish line and bragging rights for completion. Registration for the AuSM Flash Dash is $50 per family (includes four medals); $20 per adult (includes one medal); and $15 per child (includes one medal).

Following the AuSM Flash Dash, walkers will head up to Southdale's second floor for the state's largest annual autism resource fair, snacks, and fun activities. 

Steps of Hope dollars directly support local families and individuals living with autism, from birth through retirement. Donations stay in the community by funding AuSM's innovative programs and services. Those who pre-register and raise $100 or more will receive a free Steps of Hope 2017 T-shirt. To learn more, visit


Want a Steps of Hope Resource Table?
Your company or organization won't want to miss the opportunities a Steps of Hope for Autism in Minnesota 2017 resource table can provide. Click here to learn how you can share your programs and services with the Minnesota autism community on March 5, 2017.
Tech Tools and Apps for Students and Adults with Autism
Dec. 2, 2016 from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 
Royal Cliff Banquet & Conference Center in Eagan
iPads and tablets provide a wealth of possibilities for people with varying needs, including those with autism. With all of the apps available today, finding the good ones can be a challenge.  Join us for an AuSM workshop where tech guru, Mark Coppin, will teach us about awesome apps for youth and adults with autism and give us the opportunity to try apps that can help with communication, organization, planning, storytelling, reading, writing, and behavioral support. The cost is $75 per person or $55 per person for individuals with autism.

Online registration is closed, however, walk-in registrants are welcome. Lunch will not be provided for walk-in registrants.
AuSM's new large window sign helps visitors find us
Due to the generosity of Minnesota Wild Hockey fans who supported AuSM during a Split the Pot raffle last season, AuSM has purchased a large window decal that helps AuSM office visitors see exactly where our office is located. Next time you stop by AuSM, be sure to look up at the building windows, and you'll see that AuSM is here to serve you.
You are AuSM to the Max
You heard our call to raise $6,800 on Give to the Max Day, in honor of the 1 in 68 who is diagnosed with autism. You answered it! Thank you to everyone who donated in support of AuSM's programs and services. You helped us raise more than $13,000 for the Minnesota autism community!

Special thanks to the  Mud Rhythm Race Series for their generous $3,000 match that doubled donor dollars;  Bruegger's Bagels for inviting AuSM to spend the morning at their Gaviidae Commons location and for providing donation incentives;  Tin Whiskers Brewing Company for selecting AuSM to be their Pints for a Purpose recipient and inviting AuSM for a fun evening; and  612Brew for donating $1 per pour as AuSM visited with customers who raised their glasses in support of our community.

If you were not able to donate on Nov. 17 but would still like to, you can donate by clicking here. Donations are tax deductible and 100% will support the local autism community. Thank you so much for your generosity!!
Sensitive Santa is coming to town on Sunday, Dec. 4
A void lines and visit with Santa in a sensory-friendly, welcoming environment. Cost: Free (photo package purchase costs may apply); registration is required at specified locations. AuSM will be at all three locations handing out Flash the Cat and Dash the Dog to youth who come to visit Santa (quantities are limited).

Maplewood Mall, Dec. 4 (8-11 a.m.)
3001 White Bear Ave.
Maplewood, MN 55109
Click here to reserve your time.

Northtown Mall, Dec. 4 (8-10 a.m.)
398 Northtown Dr. N.E. 
Blaine, MN 55434
No reservation necessary.

Southdale Center, Dec. 4 (9:30-11 a.m.)
10 Southdale Center
Edina, MN 55435
Click here to reserve your time.
Couples class offered in early 2017
"We're In This Together," a class for neurodiverse couples, will be offered at AuSM from 6-8 p.m. on five Mondays, Jan. 9-Feb. 13, 2017. 

This class will guide neurodiverse couples through understanding autism, family rules, arguing, non-verbal communication, parenting, and executive function in regards to priorities and time awareness. Learn about diagnosis disclosure and who needs to know about autism. Classes will follow curriculum from The Asperger's Couples Workbook, and will be instructed by Beth Pitchford, MA, an AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services therapist. 

AuSM Social Skills Classes
Now is a great time to register for AuSM's winter social skills classes. Click on the links below for more information on or to register for a selected class. Registration for spring classes also is open.

Have you seen AuSM's newest education catalog? Click here to view the complete catalog.

WINTER 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
Winter 2017 Session
(Only a few spots remain.)
Jan. 21, 28, 2017 from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
and Feb. 4, 2017 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

AuSM Skillshops

Dec. 8, 2016
Driven to Drive: Getting Behind the Wheel
Presenters: Kathy Woods, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute; Emily Hageness, Minnesota licensed driver instructor
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Location: Lionsgate Academy, Minnetonka

Driving is looked at as a right of passage as we enter our mid  and late teens. This course will cover the critical skills needed for  driving and how autism characteristics may impact safe driving
behaviors. Assessment of driver readiness will be discussed along  with ideas for supports that can be initiated in the home or during  therapies to increase safe driver potential.

Jan. 10, 2017: Keeping Aggression in Check
Jan. 24, 2017: Communication Breakdown: How To Resolve Conflicts

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

Information and Resources
Uniting the Community Events and Fundraisers
Autism Society of Minnesota | 651.647.1083 | |

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