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

A Note from Ellie Wilson, Executive Director
My name is Ellie Wilson, and I am pleased to introduce myself as the new Executive Director of the Autism Society of Minnesota!

While I am thrilled to embrace this new role, AuSM has played an integral part in my personal and professional evolution for more than 13 years. As a young adult, I worked at Camp Hand in Hand, AuSM's camp that provides one on one support for those with ASD. I prepared my application for the ED position as I  sat in the dining hall of Camp Knutson this summer, and I was filled with incredible nostalgia and appreciation as staff trained and prepared for the camp session for adults. 

Though my professional experience since my early days at Hand in Hand has been diverse and multi-disciplinary, everything began there. AuSM granted me opportunities to inform my understanding of the ever-wide spectrum, to celebrate neurodiversity, to spark fascination and innovation, and to form life-long connections with a community of those with ASD, their families and caregivers, and those who share the energy and dedication to include and support them. These opportunities afforded by AuSM have changed my life; my passion for this field is a direct product of AuSM's mission to enhance the lives of those affected by autism.

Yet, meaningful impact requires passion AND purpose. Over time I have developed a sense of evolving vision for the community of those with autism and their advocates. My breadth of experience has helped me learn the potential of a multitude of stakeholders in issues that affect those with autism in all stages of the lifespan. My educational and professional history is intentionally diverse in setting and role, but focused in this mission. I am confident that this interdisciplinary expertise, combined with my intimate understanding of the capability and culture of AuSM, will help me guide the organization into its successful, adaptive, and indispensable niche in this evolving community.

The vision for AuSM is not mine alone. As Executive Director, I am hopeful that my leadership will be characterized by robust collaboration, energy, and the engagement of many dedicated and creative minds that work from within and outside of AuSM's office. We have much work to do, and it is my sincerest hope that the AuSM team can inspire new connections and new ideas, while continuing to celebrate those who have become the foundation of our mission of service.

I am excited for what the future holds for AuSM and this amazing community. Thank you for your warm reception. I cannot wait to get started!

Wilson will join the AuSM team tomorrow, Oct. 16.
AuSM workshop this Wednesday - Last chance to register!

People First! Planning from the Perspective of the Person with Autism
FULL DAY, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2017 from  8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Presented by Glenis Benson, PhD

enVision Hotel, South St. Paul

Service providers, caregivers, and educators often are urged to put the person first when creating goals and building supports. But what does it mean to put an individual on the spectrum's own perspective first? Obtain in-the-moment practices that will help you understand behaviors and explore the concepts of executive functioning, sensory challenges, and other underlying reasons for seemingly confusing behaviors.

Online registration will be open until noon on Tuesday, Oct. 17.


November AuSM workshop

Caring for You: Practical Self-Care Tools to Nurture Well-Being
HALF DAY, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 from 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Presented by Ricka Robb Kohnstamm

Royal Cliff Banquet & Conference Center

In caring for the well-being of an individual with autism, it is easy for parents, caregivers, educators, and other support professionals to lose sight of their own well-being.  Compassionate communication is a self-care tool that will help you, the caregiver, increase feelings of well-being. In this workshop, learn how to skillfully express your needs with this tool that can be learned and used by everyone.  Also explore creativity, progressive relaxation, movement, and other strategies for increasing well-being. 


Fall Autism Festival - AuSM and SPARK

Featuring a Support Group, a SPARK Research Sign-Up Opportunity, and Fun Games for the Kids

Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017
10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Join AuSM and SPARK researchers for a fun event held at AuSM in St. Paul on Nov. 11. The day will feature AuSM's FREE parent/caregiver of school-age children support group from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Childcare will be provided for those who RSVP. Following the support group, families can participate in the SPARK research study, and kids can play some fun games for prizes. Here are the details:

AuSM's Caregivers of Kids with Autism FREE Support Group 
10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Childcare will be provided during this November support group designed for parents and caregivers of school-age kids with autism ages 4-21. Let us know the ages of the children who will need childcare. RSVP with AuSM at  info@ausm.org or call AuSM at 651.647.1083.

SPARK Research Sign-Up Event 
12-5 p.m.
Click here to RSVP for your SPARK appointment during the event or call 612.624.0116. Supervised games and activities will be available for children while parents and caregivers complete the study information. The below registration link includes more information about SPARK.


2018 Minnesota Autism Conference Call for Papers  
The call for presentation proposals is open for the AuSM's 23rd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference, an event that will take place April 25-28, 2018. Be a part of this event of the year for the local autism community by submitting a topic for presentation.  The Minnesota Autism Conference Education Committee will evaluate proposals and those submitting proposals will be contacted by Dec. 22, 2017 regarding the status of proposals.  The deadline for proposal submission is Nov. 17, 2017. 
Autism up close and personal, a December workshop

Practical Solutions for Autistic Living
FULL DAY, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Presented by Judy Endow, MSW, LCSW

enVision Hotel, South St. Paul

Parents, caregivers, educators, professionals, and individuals with autism are invited to join autism expert Judy Endow as she shares personal stories highlighting three challenge areas related to her own autism: 1. sensory differences; 2. not always understanding the hidden curriculum in social situations; 3. when others think of her as "less than" because they do not understand autism.  Learn from Endow's experiences and obtain practical strategies for supporting youth and adults with autism.

Learn more about Vitals
Vitals is a new technology service with two apps, designed to create safer interactions between law enforcement and people with behavioral, mental health, and developmental disorders. A first of its kind, the Vitals first responder app is a non-intrusive, real-time service developed as a way to enhance policing, give families of vulnerable individuals more peace of mind, and improve the quality of life for people living with "invisible" disabilities.  In October, the Vitals team will be available at AuSM's office to meet members of the community, share information about Vitals, and assist in registering for the service. You are welcome to stop by AuSM's office, meet the Vitals team, and learn more on these dates:
  • Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2-4 p.m. 
  • Thursday, Oct. 19, 2-4 p.m.
  • Monday, Oct. 23, 2-4 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 26, 2-4 p.m.
AuSM Social Skills Classes 
for Youth and Young Adults
Led by autism experts, AuSM social skills classes foster confidence and self-esteem while participants learn how to make friends, interact with a group, practice socializing, and have fun - all while educators encourage participants to be themselves. Classes offer low-stress, accepting environments that promote learning and growth while celebrating neurodiversity.

AuSM adult opportunity at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Polar Bear Enrichment
Ages 18+
December 9, 2017 from 8:30-10 a.m.

Polar bears can weigh 1,000 pounds or more. Meet a polar bear zookeeper to learn how they train these white giants, prepare and observe polar bear enrichment, and explore the award-winning Polar Bear Odyssey exhibit without the crowds. As a bonus, the Como Zoo polar bears Buzz and Neil are celebrating their 22nd birthdays on Dec. 9!  Class participants are able to enjoy the zoo after the class. This class is designed for individuals who do not need direct service professional supports or supervision. 

$5 for Residents of Ramsey and Dakota County 
$15 for Residents of all other counties
The discount fee is made possible for residents of Ramsey and Dakota County though the Dakota and Ramsey Counties Autism Grant.


Additional Opportunities for Adults with Autism

AuSM Book Club at Wescott Library (Now-December 2018)
AuSM Classes for Caregivers
AuSM is pleased to introduce two new classes to assist caregivers of those with autism. Classes will provide information and strategies that can be used immediately, enhancing the lives of caregivers and those who receive care.

Dates: Nov. 18
Single session class: $25 for members, $40 for non-members


Dates: Nov. 15, May 9
Single session class: $25 for members, $40 for non-members

AuSM 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 course will give practical solutions for working with people on the spectrum

Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2018
9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Mar. 5-Apr. 2, 2018
6-9 p.m.

June 11-15, 2018
9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Life With Autism Series
AuSM's Life with Autism Series offers information and strategies to parents, caregivers, family members, relatives, educators, and the community through engaging, age-focused classes led by autism experts and parent speakers. Participants also learn about available services and resources.

Dates: Oct. 23, Jan. 13
Cost: $25 for members, $40 for non-members

Dates: Nov. 4, Feb. 24
Cost for one or two participants: $50 for members, $75 for non-members

Dates: Oct. 28, Feb. 10
Cost for one or two participants: $50 for members, $75 for non-members

Dates: Nov. 11, Mar. 10
Cost for one or two participants: $50 for members, $75 for non-members

Click on this button to register for a Life with Autism Series class.

AuSM Skillshops

Oct. 17, 2017
7-9 p.m.
Social Anxiety and ASD
Presenter: Barb Luskin, PhD, LP
Location: AuSM in St. Paul

It's common for adults with autism to have anxiety and/or depression. Learn how to cope with stressors and gather resources for reducing anxiety. Learn about social stressors and techniques for feeling more comfortable in social situations.


Me mbership Bonus:   
AuSM Members save $15 per AuSM Skillshop and receive a certificate to attend one AuSM Skillshop for FREE!
NEW Caregiver Support Group
AuSM is excited to announce a new, free support group for caregivers of school-age kids offered on the second Saturday of each month. Meet fellow caregivers and parents, share problems, receive tips from others who can relate to you, and create community.

2017 Schedule: Oct. 14; Nov. 11 (also the Autism Fall Festival; see above article)
Cost: FREE
Location: AuSM Office. Child care is NOT available. 

Information and Resources
AuSM Swing Fling 2017 Fundraiser Event 


Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017
6-10:30 p.m.

Landmark Center
75 W 5th St.
St Paul, MN 55102

You're invited to join AuSM and the Minnesota swing dancing community for a night of music, drinks, food, and fun, all supporting the Minnesota autism community.  Kick up your heels with a dance lesson for dancers of all skill levels to the music of Midwest Sound, and watch a swing dancing demonstration by the University of Minnesota Ballroom Dance Club. Cut a rug to the sounds of Patty and the Buttons live and participate in the Follow the Leader competition, a fun event in which leads and follows are randomly paired for a social dancing extravaganza!

AuSM Member: $30 in advance, $35 at the door 
Non-Member: $35 in advance, $40 at the door 
Individual with ASD: $25 in advance, $30 at the door

Individuals under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. All proceeds support AuSM's programs and services for our local autism community.

Uniting the Community Events
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