A Note from Jonah Weinberg, Executive Director
I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to the volunteers, sponsors, exhibitors, board members, and staff members who made last week's annual state autism conference and gala a success. Pulling off these two critical events is a feat that requires time and efforts from many. The conference experienced record-breaking attendance, and every seat at the gala was filled with an eager supporter of our community. I especially want to acknowledge the AuSM staff for putting in extra hours to fill in for colleagues who weren't able to attend the events this year. The dedication of this team is inspiring, and the work they accomplish benefits all in our community.
As we move from "conference mode" back to our important days of mission fulfillment, I see that the health care debate appears to be revving back up in Washington, D.C., and news outlets are reporting that a new bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act could come up for consideration as soon as this week. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Autism Society of Minnesota cannot and does not engage in political debate. However, we make every effort to stay informed about legislative and policy issues that affect our autism community, whether they are local or on a national level, and we use this information to advocate for the families and individuals we serve.
I don't think anyone disagrees that the Affordable Care Act is an imperfect law, and AuSM fully supports fixes that would improve it. However, we opposed the recently-failed repeal and replace effort because it would have reduced coverage and options for people with autism or other disabilities. A new legislative proposal being considered also fails to meet standards for equitable coverage and would allow insurers to significantly increase premiums for people with pre-existing conditions. Autism is, by definition, a pre-existing condition, which would put affordable health insurance well beyond the budget ability for many. AuSM and our national partner, the Autism Society of America, also oppose changes to Medicaid (known as Medical Assistance in Minnesota), which would cap funds and shift them to states to fund the balance; this could result in thousands of low-income seniors and younger people with disabilities being unable to access needed healthcare and mental health services.
If this issue concerns you, what can you do? One thing you can do is contact your legislators and let them know your opinion. Even if you think your legislator supports your viewpoint, it is helpful for them to hear from you and their other constituents. I suggest calls or e-mails to legislative offices; letters sent via mail can take several weeks to clear federal mail security processes. Even a few dozen calls and e-mails can help influence a legislator who may be on the fence about an issue; tell them your story and how the issue will affect you or your loved one. If you don't know who your legislators are, you can find that information
If you want to stay informed about legislative issues that impact our community, you can sign up for AuSM's Advocacy Alert e-mails
. If you have time to get more involved, we welcome you to
join AuSM's Advocacy Committee
AuSM is working to ensure that every person affected by autism has access to the resources and supports they need to ensure equity and accessibility, and we hope you'll join us in making your voices heard as well.
Have an AuSM day!
22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference features collaboration and education for all participants
The 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference came to a close on Saturday after four days of learning, networking, story-telling, and information sharing. A record-breaking crowd enjoyed keynote presentations from Steve Silberman, Dr. Temple Grandin, Kerry Magro, and Chris Ulmer; 32 breakout sessions on important autism topics; visiting the AuSM Bookstore and exhibitors; and so much more. We are grateful to our sponsors, volunteers, speakers, and staff who worked so hard to support organizing this important event for our community. And we are grateful to all who participated.
New York Times
best-selling author Steve Silberman shares information on why "Great Minds Don't Always Think Alike" during his conference opening keynote presentation.
Dr. Temple Grandin speaks to a sold-out crowd of 650+ on Thursday morning.
Special Books by Special Kids founder Chris Ulmer poses with the winners of the 2017 AuSM Educator Challenge before his keynote presentation Friday morning.
Oh, the AuSM Places We'll Go!
AuSM's 3rd annual gala celebration was a fun evening in support of the Minnesota autis community. Congrats to all of our AuSM community honorees including Chris and Marna Bame, Navigating MSP Airport, Jill Pring, Larry Moody, and Molly Mulvehill Steinke. Special thanks to Miss Shannan Paul, the evening's emcee; the ComedySportz AuSM Improv Troupe; Jillian Nelson for sharing her personal reflections; the gala planning committee; AuSM staff; and all of those who participated and support the work we do for this amazing community.
The ComedySportz/AuSM Improv Troupe opened the gala with a skit led by Jonah Weinberg. They had the audience in stitches as they answered questions as different characters.
Jill Pring, AuSM camp director and social skills educator, was one of the evening's honorees for her dedicated service to this community.
Social Skills Classes
(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!
AuSM SUMMER SOCIAL SKILLS
Twin Cities Summer Social Skills Classes
Duluth Summer Social Skills Classes
AuSM SUMMER CAMPS (must be an AuSM Member to register and participate)
AuSM summer camps need YOU!
AuSM is looking for camp counselors interested in getting direct support experience, learning and practicing strategies, and gaining awareness of the unique challenges that individuals with autism experience each day. If you are interested in a career in the healthcare field, in education, or in working with individuals on the spectrum (e.g. nursing, education, special ed., speech therapy, music therapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, and more), this is a great opportunity for you.
Counselors are needed for the following sessions:
- Session 1: June 25-30, 2017 (Males 19-21, Females 18+) *Training June 23-24
- Session 2: July 30-Aug. 4, 2017 (Males 15-18) *Training July 28-29
- Session 3: Aug. 6-11, 2017 (Males 22+) *Training Aug. 4-5
- Session 4: Aug. 13-18, 2017 (Males 9-14, Females 9-17) *Training Aug. 11-12
Hand in Hand nurse needed
AuSM is seeking a nurse who is an RN and certified in CPR for two sessions of Camp Hand in Hand, a camp that provides 1:1 staff-to-camper ratio for youth and adults ages 9+ with autism. Location: Camp Knutson, north of Brainerd, near Crosslake, Minn. The nurse can work one or both weeks.
A nurse is needed for the following sessions:
- Session 1: June 23-30
- Session 2: July 28-Aug 4
If you are interested in serving as a nurse for one or both of these sessions of Hand in Hand, please contact AuSM's director of camp programs at 651.647.1083 or e-mail
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. Click here for more information and to register today.
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.
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
Mindful Parenting: How to Stop the Fighting, Yelling, and Frustration
Presenter: Samantha Moe, MA, SLP
Are you stressed out and exhausted? Tired of your child's poor listening, lack of self-control, and defiant behavior? Discover why children with autism push your limits and try to control everything, and how you can transform your home into an enjoyable space rather than a war zone. In this interactive presentation, receive solutions from the Mad to Glad Blueprint™ that are key to having a calmer, more cooperative child and restoring your sanity.
May 16, 2017
Guardianship: Do We Need It?
Presenter: Jason Schellack, Esq.
Location: Lionsgate Academy, North St. Paul
At age 18, a child is legally considered an adult. Some kids, however, aren't yet ready for all of the responsibilities of adulthood. Many children with ASD will continue to need assistance with their IEPs, transition services, making medical decisions, and applying for government benefits. To have legal authority to assist their adult children in these important areas, many parents and caregivers choose to establish legal guardianship. Learn about the legal process for obtaining guardianship and how you can qualify for free legal assistance. Also understand the powers and responsibilities guardians have under Minnesota law, and how successor guardians are chosen and appointed.
June 6, 2017: Helping Your Child with ASD Learn to Ride a Bike (limited space)
Sept. 19, 2017: Law & Order: ASD
Sept. 26, 2017: My Child Has Autism: Do I?
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
June 12-16, 2017
Summer 2017 Session
Mondays from 8:30-11:30 a.m.
Fall 2017 Session
Fridays from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Sept. 15, 22, 29, and Oct. 6, 13, 2017
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.
to read the "Ask the Therapist" archive. To submit a question, e-mail
An Introduction to Providing Patient-Centered Care to Individuals on the Autism Spectrum
May 23, 2017
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.
Event Highlight: Arts 4 Autism
May 6, 2017 from
9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Stages Theatre Company
Hopkins, MN 55343
Join Stages Theatre Company for this hands on theatre art workshop that will include: adaptive dance classes with River Valley Dance Academy; hands-on music classes with Minnesota Sinfonia; hands-on art classes with Articulture; a sensory-Friendly performance of Stone Soup; a community resource fair including AuSM; and keynote speakers Maci Spica, MN Dept. of Ed. Autism Specialist and Ellie Wilson, Institiue of Community Integration. Cost: Free.
Click here for more information.
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.
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