February 1, 2017        Connecting you with the Minnesota autism community.

A Note from Jonah Weinberg, Executive Director
AuSM wants to give parents, caregivers, and educators important strategies for talking about a topic that may cause anxiety for the one talking about it and also the one hearing about it: sexuality. During the upcoming Feb. 17 workshop presented in collaboration with Minnesota Life College and the University of St. Thomas, Certified Sexuality Instructor Melissa Keyes DiGioia will help caregivers and educators learn how to talk about sexuality with loved ones and students with autism, age and developmentally appropriate sexual behaviors, and more. I encourage you to register for this informative workshop as I know you will walk away with positive, healthy strategies for addressing sexuality. Register by Friday to get the lowest rate.
Registration for our summer social skills programs and the 40 th year of AuSM summer camps opened this week. Summer catalogs are dropping in mailboxes now. If you didn't receive a catalog or prefer to view the catalog online, click here. Camps and classes are filling quickly, so register as soon as possible. Your AuSM summer adventure awaits!
Steps of Hope for Autism in Minnesota is right around the corner. Are you registered? Join us on March 5 from 8:30-11 a.m. at Southdale Center where you can visit with more than 50 vendors in the state's largest autism resource fair, participate in the AuSM Flash Dash, and network with this great community. Families and individuals are welcome, and fundraising is encouraged. 100% the dollars raised during Steps of Hope will benefit our local autism community by funding programs and services that enhance the lives of those affected by autism in Minnesota.

I look forward to seeing you an an upcoming AuSM event soon! Have an AuSM day!

AuSM Executive Director
Sexuality: Breaking the Taboo and Learning How To Talk About It
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.

Parents and Caregivers:
Does the thought of talking about sex with your young loved one with autism or other learning differences make you uncomfortable? During this workshop, you will gain valuable strategies for conversing about sexuality, relationships, and values.

Educators and Professionals:
Are you unsure about how to address sexuality with your students with autism or other learning differences? 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. 

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

About the Speaker
Melissa Keyes DiGioia, CSE is a Certified Sexuality Educator by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. As co-founder and Director of Education, she facilitates professional development workshops and education sessions on varying sexuality and sexual health topics and specializes in program delivery for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Workshop Fee (on or before Feb. 3*)
AuSM Member: $75
Non-Member: $85
Person with ASD: $25
Student: $25

(*Workshop Fees increase by $10 after Feb. 3.)

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. 19 for the group rate.

Autism Heroes, it's time to register for Steps of Hope for Autism in Minnesota 2017
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! 

AuSM Flash Dash registrant Theresa Onstad is our lucky winner of the drawing for a free one night stay in a two room suite and breakfast at the Residence Inn Minneapolis Edina. Congratulations, Theresa!

Final Incentive Prize
Teams that raise $500 or more by Feb. 15 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!


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.
Technology pilot program application deadline extended to Friday, Feb. 3

AuSM is partnering with Aware Services, LLC and the St. Paul Police Department to offer a free pilot project that uses mobile technology to help individuals with autism and other "invisible" disabilities live more independently and securely in the community.

If you or someone you care for is age 15 or older and interested in participating in this pilot program, CLICK HERE to complete the VITALS Pilot Program Application. Aware Services, LLC will determine each candidate's eligibility, and will be in touch with those who are selected for the pilot by Feb. 15, 2017. Pilot program capacity is limited.

If you do not live in, work, or go to school in Ramsey County but are interested in having the VITALS service in your community, CLICK HERE to share your contact information so we can keep you informed as this program grows.

Pilot program applications are due Friday, Feb. 3.

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.

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 Offered in Winter and Spring 
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.

One Session Class Offered in Winter 
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 Offered in Spring 
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 Offered in Spring 
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. 7, 2017 from 7-9 p.m.
Social Safety: Strategies for Navigating Online and Offline
Presenter: Sara Pahl, MS, BCBA, NCC
Location: Lionsgate Academy, Minnetonka

In this session, learn about the most important issues of social and emotional safety for our pre-teen and teen loved ones. Common problems with discussed and strategies offered with regard to navigating the hidden curriculum, bullying, and online safety.


Feb. 9, 2017 from 7-9 p.m.
Poetry and Autism: Turning Perseveration Into Creativity
Presenter: Chris Martin
Location: University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis Campus, Opus Hall, Room 450

New research shows that the autistic brain is hardwired for metaphor, sensory detail, and studied attention to the materiality of language. In other words, children and adults with autism may be natural poets! Offered in partnership with the University of St. Thomas, this AuSM Skillshop will facilitate practical and dynamic pathways to expression for your students, your children, and yourself.


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: Electronic Addiction: How to Break Free From Battles Over Screens
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

Click here for a detailed 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism 
Conference schedule. Registration will open mid-February.
Uniting the Community event highlight:
An AuSM Night at the Science Museum
TOMORROW! February 2, 2017 from 5-9 p.m.

Science Museum of Minnesota
120 W Kellogg Blvd. 
St Paul, MN 55102

The Science Museum of Minnesota invites AuSM families to visit the museum for an evening of exploration. 

Cost: $18.95 adults; $12.95 ages 4-12; 3 and under free. Limited income discounts available from the Science Museum of Minnesota. 

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