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

A Note from Jonah Weinberg, Executive Director
Jonah's TOP NINE ways to participate with AuSM:
  1. Attend Sexuality: Breaking the Taboo and Learning How To Talk About It on Friday, Feb. 17.
  2. Register for Steps of Hope for Autism in Minnesota and plan to have an awesome morning at Southdale Center on March 5.
  3. Enter the Minnesota Educator Challenge or encourage an educator who has made a difference in your life to enter.
  4. Share your ideas with The Walker Art Center as they plan their upcoming autism-friendly programming.
  5. Participate in Disability Matters Day at the Capitol on Feb. 28.
  6. Register for an AuSM Summer Camp or Social Skills Class - they're filling quickly!
  7. Participate in the Life with Autism Series Newly Diagnosed class on Saturday, Feb. 18. 
  8. Register for the 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference.
  9. Keep reading this newsletter for more awesome ways to get involved with AuSM!
Have an AuSM day!

AuSM Executive Director
Sexuality: Breaking the Taboo and Learning How To Talk About It
This Friday!
Feb. 17 from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Join us for this collaborative workshop organized by AuSM, Minnesota Life College, and the University of St. Thomas.

Online registration will be open through today, Wednesday, Feb. 15. This innovative workshop presented by Melissa Keyes Di-Gioia, a Certified Sexuality Educator, will give parents and caregivers valuable strategies for conversing about sexuality, relationships, and values. It also will help educators learn how to talk with families about sharing information on sexuality, as well as how to seek permission for discussing this topic in the classroom. CEUs and certificates of attendance will be available for participants. Walk-in registration will be available on site, space permitting.

Workshop Location
University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus
O'Shaughnessy Educational Center (OEC)
2115 Summit Ave, St. Paul, MN 55105

Workshop Fee
AuSM Member: $85
Non-Member: $95
Person with ASD: $35
Student: $35

Group Registration Rate
A group rate of $10 off the member or non-member rate is available for 10 or more participants registering together with one form of payment. Call 651.647.1083 ext. 23 for the group rate.

Autism Heroes, Steps of Hope for Autism in Minnesota 2017 will be here soon
AuSM will present Steps of Hope, its 17th annual fundraiser and the state's largest autism resource fair, at Southdale Center on March 5, 2017 from 8:30-11a.m.  Dollars raised by individuals and walk teams directly support local families and individuals living with autism, from birth through retirement. Those who pre-register (Steps of Hope registration, including the autism resource fair, is free) and raise $100 or more will receive a free Steps of Hope 2017 T-shirt. To learn more, visit  www.SOHwalk.org .

Held from 9-9:15 a.m., the AuSM Flash Dash presented by Accra Care will make you feel like a superhero as you power walk, skip, roll, or mosey your way from start to finish on the short, indoor course. All ages, abilities, and mobilities can join in on the fun and earn a medal and bragging rights. Proudly let everyone know that you participated in a "race" for autism! 

Final Incentive Prize
Teams that raise $500 or more by the end of the day today will be entered into a drawing for an entertainment package including four tickets to Children's Theatre Company's sensory-friendly production of A Year with Frog and Toad, a K102 Prize Pack, and a $50 gift card for Dave & Busters. Register and raise dollars for the Minnesota autism community today!

Conference Registration is Open!

Click here for a detailed 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism 
Conference schedule. Click here to register!
Minnesota Educator Challenge
Hey, Minnesota educators! AuSM and special education teacher Chris Ulmer invite you to tell us how you encourage and motivate your students. Positive words, an upbeat dance, a personalized high-five - we want to know how you inspire and support your students each day.

Five educators who enter will be given free tickets to attend Chris Ulmer's state autism conference keynote presentation from 8:30-10:30 a.m. on April 29 and will share their tips or strategies with the audience. The 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference will take place April 26-29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Minneapolis Park Place.

Click here to enter. Smartphone or other amateur videos are not required but are encouraged. Submissions are due March 15, and winners will be notified April 1, 2017.  For more information, click here.
AuSM Annual Meeting Feb. 27
The Autism Society of Minnesota's annual meeting will be held Monday, Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at AuSM's office, 2380 Wycliff St. #102, St. Paul, MN 55114. During the meeting, we will review AuSM's 2016 accomplishments and discuss plans for 2017. The annual meeting is open to AuSM members who want to learn more. If you'd like to attend, please RSVP to  info@ausm.org  by Feb. 23 so we can plan for seating.
Do you know about the Family Support Grant?
Family Support Grant (FSG) is a MN State Grant administered by Lead Agencies. This program provides cash grants to families of children, under 21 years of age, who have been certified disabled, and reside in their family homes. The goal of the program is to prevent or delay the out-of-home placement of children and promote family health and social well-being by enabling access to family-centered services and supports. Click here for eligibility requirements and more information.
The Walker Art Center wants your opinion
The Walker Art Center, in collaboration with AuSM, is planning to launch a sensory-friendly program that will make the Walker an accessible place for people with sensory sensitivities. This program will most likely feature tours, art-making activities, and film screenings.

To help make this program as effective as possible, the Walker has put together a short survey for our community. The Walker wants programming to be shaped directly by individuals with autism spectrum disorders and/or developmental disabilities, and their loved ones. Your feedback on this survey is greatly appreciated and will make a difference in what will be offered. Survey must be completed by March 1, 2017.  Click here to take the Walker survey.
Disability Matters Day at the Minnesota Capitol
On Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 10 a.m., join self-advocates, families, and allies to call on policy makers to support funding and services that make independent lives possible in the community. Your voice and presence that day are crucial. Check in at L'etoile du Nord Room in the State Capitol Basement at 10 a.m., and the rally in the Capitol Rotunda will take place at 11:30 a.m. For more information, contact Mike Gude at The Arc MN at 651.604.8066 or e-mail  mikeg@arcmn.org .
Artists wanted for Autism Awareness Month display
The Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank is seeking artwork created by artists with autism to feature in its gallery during Autism Awareness Month in April. Artists are welcome to submit a variety of different media, including photography, paintings, drawings, sculpture, and others. If the artwork is intended to be displayed on the wall, it should be provided in a format that is ready to be hung. If you or someone you know would like to submit art for display, AuSM will accept submissions, on behalf of the bank, at its office in St. Paul from Feb. 27-March 24. 

Artwork submitted for this display will be on display from April 3-26 and seen primarily by bank staff and visitors; because the bank is a secure facility, the general public will not have access to the gallery. However, artists whose work is being displayed will be invited to an optional special event at the bank on April 26 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Artists must make arrangements for their artwork to be picked up from the bank on April 26. For additional information, e-mail info@ausm.org or call Jillian Nelson at AuSM at 651.647.1083.
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.

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

Spring Break is the first week of April. Not sure what your student will do with an entire week of free time? AuSM and the Science Museum of Minnesota will offer two exciting classes, "Detective Science" for youth ages 8-12 and "Digital Flix" for teens ages 13-18. Dive into these exciting sessions that focus on learning new skills and spending time with peers! Space is limited; register today!

Social Skills Classes
Summer Camps (Day and Residential)
Summer activities abound - swimming, canoeing, arts and crafts, exploring nature, geocaching, science, filmmaking,  horseback riding, music, yoga, theater, bonfires, and more. Everyone deserves the chance to take advantage of  all summer has to offer. AuSM Social Skills classes and AuSM Camps provide these opportunities - each one  tailored to give 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 for classes and camps is open!


Twin Cities Summer Social Skills Classes

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


Newly Diagnosed (ages 18 mos.-10 yrs.)
Obtain information on topics including the definition of autism, parent feelings, neurological findings, therapies, communication strategies, teaching daily living skills, challenging behavior, sensory needs, visual supports, and using social stories.

IN THREE DAYS! One Session Class
Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (bring own lunch)

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

Adolescence and Transition (ages 11-21)
Obtain information on topics including parent emotions, the impact of autism on adolescents, independence in daily living skills, public social skills, reciprocal relationships, sexuality, privacy and safety, transitions into adult living and workplace issues, self-determination skills, behavior management, and emotions.

One Session Class 
Saturday, March 18, 2017 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (bring own lunch)

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

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

Feb. 21, 2017 from 7-9 p.m.
Special Needs & Special Sibs: A Family AuSM Skillshop
Presenter: Jen Reinke, PhD, LAMFT, CFLE
Location: Academy of Whole Learning

Explore the unique challenges, rewards, and dynamics experienced by families impacted by a variety of special needs. Special emphasis will be placed on the experiences and needs of siblings (ages 10+) who have a brother or sister with special needs.


March 23, 2017 from 7-9 p.m.
Electronic Addiction: How to Break Free From Battles Over Screens
Presenter: Barb Andrus, BS, CAPS
Location: St. David's Center

Have you ever tried to limit electronics but then given in because your child wouldn't stop badgering you? Do you feel guilty for sometimes giving in so your child is entertained rather than complaining? There is a real "addictive" quality to electronics and a proven, step-by-step protocol to restore health and harmony to families. Receive solutions from the Free Your Family From Electronic Addiction protocol that are key to having a calmer, more cooperative child with healthy boundaries around electronic usage.


April 13, 2017: Self-Regulation Through the Mind-Body Connection
May 9, 2017: Mindful Parenting: How to Stop the Fighting, Yelling, and Frustration

SPRING and SUMMER 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
Spring 2017 Session
Mondays from 6-9 p.m.
March 13, 20, 27 and April 3, 10, 2017

Summer 2017 Session
Mondays from 8:30-11:30 a.m.
June 12-16, 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.

Information and Resources
Uniting the Community event highlight:
Click, Clap, and Clunk Minnesota Percussion Trio
Feb. 18, 2017 at 11 a.m.

You are invited to enjoy "Click, Clap, and Klunk", a FREE concert offered by the Minnesota Percussion Trio on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 11 a.m. at the Landmark Center in St. Paul. Come listen to the wide world of percussion and learn to play an array of energetic rhythms. Music comes from the heart and then you find something to play it on! Using simple or found instruments such as 5-gallon buckets, claves, paper, tin cans and body percussion we can all unlock the musical possibilities of the things around us. During the Azure Family Concerts, kids or individuals with autism who vocalize, stim, and have anxieties are welcome without worry of being "shushed" or asked to leave. All are welcome to enjoy this morning of music!  Click here for more information and to register.
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