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

A Note from Dawn Brasch, Interim Executive Director
August arrives with an urgency to soak up the sun and to participate in exciting adventures in the remaining days of summer. What have you done to enjoy the season? What do you want to do?

AuSM has many plans for our community in the coming weeks, including our final few summer social skills classes featuring fun at the MN Zoo, music opportunities, and outdoor adventures;  uniting the community events including a sensory-friendly performance at the Walker, Touch-A-Truck at Northtown Mall, the Really Big Game with our friends at Highland Friendship Club, and more; and our AuSM Open House and Farewell to Jonah on Aug. 10

The AuSM Open House and Farewell to Jonah is your opportunity to visit AuSM's office, take a tour, and say hello to AuSM staff members in person. We'll also recognize Jonah Weinberg, AuSM's out-going executive director, for his accomplishments over the past four years at AuSM. Please RSVP to attend - we look forward to seeing you next week!

I encourage you to skim through this newsletter and click through the links to learn more about how you can have some amazing experiences as you round out your summer! 

Have an AuSM day!

AuSM Interim Executive Director
A note and invite from AuSM's Board of Directors
AuSM's Board of Directors is grateful for Jonah Weinberg's service to AuSM and the Minnesota autism community. As Jonah will be departing at the end of July, the Board's Executive Committee has begun planning for the transition to a new Executive Director.  Dawn Brasch, AuSM's Senior Director of Finance and Operations will serve as AuSM's Interim Executive Director. The Board will support Dawn as she leads AuSM while we search for the new Executive Director, and is grateful to Dawn for taking on this temporary role.

AuSM Open House and Farewell to Jonah
Aug. 10 from 5-7 p.m.
Before he leaves for sunny California, the AuSM staff and Board would like to celebrate Jonah by inviting our AuSM community to an OPEN HOUSE next Thursday, Aug. 10 from 5-7 p.m. In addition to wishing Jonah well, we invite you to tour our new AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services space as well as the recently renovated AuSM office. We will provide food and beverages, smiles and tours. Please plan to join us!

We look forward to seeing you on Aug. 10!

 - Jean Bender, AuSM Board of Directors Chair 
Summer isn't over yet!
A few openings remain in AuSM social skills classes
AuSM Social Skills classes 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. Register today to make some final summer memories to last a lifetime!
AuSM Adults with ASD at the Minnesota Zoo
AuSM is pleased to partner with the Minnesota Zoo to offer these classes for adults with autism who live in Dakota and Ramsey Counties. These classes are made possible in part by the Dakota and Ramsey County Autism Grant.

These classes are designed for adults with autism who want a deeper understanding of building enrichments for animals, how zoo veterinarians keep the animals fit, and of how climate change effects Minnesota plants and animals. Classes are designed for individuals who do not need direct service professional supports or supervision. The class size maximum is 20 participants.

Zoo Veterinarians: Sunday, Aug. 6 from 1-3 p.m.
Cost: $5 per person
Keeping our animals healthy and fit is our top priority! In this class, meet some of the animal health staff who work with our animals, and enjoy an extended behind-the-scenes tour of our animal health building and animal hospital. We'll try our hand at diagnosing animals based on their X-rays, check out the busy lab, and see how sometimes everyday objects can be repurposed to help with our animals.

Climate Change and Minnesota's Wildlife: Sunday, Sept. 17 from 1-3 p.m.
Cost: $5 per person
Climate change is already affecting Minnesota's plants and animals. Meet some Minnesota animals and learn all about our native ecosystems, ongoing research, how to get involved, and what scientists already are learning about how climate change will affect our natural heritage.
AuSM offers new Book Clubs in Ramsey and Dakota Counties
AuSM is pleased to partner with the Ramsey County Library in Shoreview and the Dakota County Library in Eagan to offer AuSM Book Clubs for individuals with autism, other disabilities, and neurotypical individuals ages 14-35 who live in Dakota and Ramsey Counties. The AuSM Book Clubs are made possible in part by the Dakota and Ramsey Counties Autism Grant.

Share the joy of reading with others by joining this book club. During the first meetings of the groups, the groups will develop the guidelines and choose the first book. The cost to participate is free, but registration is required. Click on the following links for more info and to register.

AuSM Book Club at the Ramsey County Library in Shoreview
Sensory Friendly Ants Performance at the Walker Art Center 

Sensory-Friendly Performance: Ants
Friday, August 4 at 11 a.m.

Walker Art Center
725 Vineland Place
Minneapolis, MN

Discover the power of collaborative play with the interactive roving performance of Ants by Australia-based Polyglot Theatre. This task-oriented performance is a delight to see unfold, as children work hard to communicate with the Ants and each other to help search for crumbs. The crumbs, hundreds of them, form beautiful wavering lines, transforming a space with constantly changing patterns. Ants is an enchanting investigation into the nature of work and children's relationship with their environment. (Photo: "Ants by Polyglot Theatre" by William Hall)

Join us at the Walker Art Center for a free sensory-friendly performance of Ants. To create a supportive performance for families and children with sensory sensitivities, the sensory-friendly Ants performance will include: lowered noises and sounds; performers have training and prior experience working with children with sensory sensitivities; extra staff support; and participants are welcome to talk and move around as much as they please. Cost: FREE.  Click here for more information.
TPT Back to School Party with Cat in the Hat 

Aug. 12, 2017
10-11 a.m.

Twin Cities PBS - Street Space
172 East 4th St.
St. Paul, Minnesota 55101

Before the kids head back to school, come back to TPT for one last summertime hurrah with some Sensory-Friendly Second Saturdays fun and games, and a meet and greet with Cat in the Hat! What to expect: PBS Kids shows on the big screen; back-to-school games; scientific art projects with SciGirls; lower volumes, lighting, and crowds; instead of standing in line, Cat in the Hat will roam the room to say 'hello'. As part of August's Second Saturdays event, we're partnering with Keystone Community Services to host a school supplies drive. Help kids in our community prepare for the new school year by donating school supplies like: pencil bags/boxes, notebooks, pocket folders, pencil sharpeners, pencils, pens, glue, scissors, and markers. Cost: FREE, but registration is required.  Click here for more information and to register.
AuSM Skillshops

Sept. 19, 2017
7-9 p.m.
Law & Order: ASD
Presenter: Barb Luskin, PhD, LP
Location: AuSM in St. Paul

Studies show that people with autism are seven to 12 times more likely to interface with law enforcement and the criminal justice system than their neurotypical peers. Social and communication challenges can lead to misunderstandings. Whether it's a misunderstanding or not, having positive response strategies is imperative. Learn about common scenarios involving individuals with autism and how to advocate and support them through the legal process.


Sept. 26, 2017
7-9 p.m.
My Child Has Autism: Do I?
Presenter: Beth Pitchford, MA
Location: AuSM in St. Paul

Your child was diagnosed with autism, and you recognize some of his or her traits reflected in yourself. Do you wonder if you, too, could be on the autism spectrum? Is it important to get a formal diagnosis? :earn about the heritabilty of autism, adult diagnosis, parent with autism, and the importance of understanding your needs as a parent.


The 2017-2018 AuSM Skillshop schedule will be announced in August.
FALL Autism Direct Support Certification registration open
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
Fall 2017 Session
Fridays from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Sept. 15, 22, 29, and Oct. 6, 13, 2017

Ask the Therapist monthly e-mail from AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services
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
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 | |

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