March 15, 2020 News for the Minnesota autism community.
AuSM Featured Articles
AuSM responds to coronavirus pandemic
As of March 14, 2020:

AuSM values the health and well-being of our community. We actively are monitoring the Minnesota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for guidelines, guidance, and updates regarding COVID-19/coronavirus.

The CDC recommends that everyone, regardless of age or disability, take everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Precautions include washing your hands regularly and thoroughly and avoiding touching your face. The CDC also advises people to stay home if they feel sick and to avoid close contact with those who are sick.

On Friday, March 13, 2020, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz declared a peacetime state of emergency to be ready for what will unfold regarding the COVID-19. In this decree, Gov. Walz strongly discouraged gatherings of more than 250 people, or at any gatherings that bring people close together for extended periods, as well as "social distancing" at work and in public places. No timeframe was established with the declaration.

As communication from the Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC is updated daily, AuSM will continue to monitor the situation. AuSM encourages sensible precautions along with extra diligence to ensure safety within our community. The health and well-being of everyone who participates with AuSM is our priority, and we will continue to provide updates as things change and our staff and leadership make decisions regarding upcoming AuSM events and activities.

Coronavirus Resource
As a resource for our community, click here for a link to a Coronavirus Social Narrative from The Autism Educator website. This may be a useful tool for those who would like some help explaining or understanding the COVID-19 pandemic that has many of us feeling confused by messages in the news and on social media.
20th Anniversary of Steps for Autism in Minnesota a huge success
March 1 was a beautiful morning to bring our community together to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Steps for Autism in Minnesota! Hundreds met at Southdale Center to gather resources from our amazing sponsors; participate in the AuSM Flash Dash powered by Accra Care; take photos with Mudonna, Goldy Gopher, the Ghostbusters, Darth Vader and crew, Vikings cheerleaders, and all of those representing Costumers for a Cause; get their faces painted by Rainbow Party Arts; pet therapy animals; and walk through the Steps of Possibilities Gallery sponsored by Best Care. Thank you to our volunteers and sponsors, including Platinum sponsors, Caravel Autism Health, Minnesota Parent, and Anime Twin Cities, for supporting this event and for all you do for the local autism community! And, thank you, Minnesota autism community, for being a part of this event that celebrates the unique and wonderful gifts you bring that make our communities better places every day of the year. You are AWESOME!

And a huge thank you to all who fundraised for AuSM in support of Steps for Autism. The anonymous match of $20,000 was met and surpassed by the $21,000+ raised by participating individuals and teams who support the local autism community. Donations help AuSM build programs and services for people with autism in Minnesota. We are grateful!

If you weren't able to make it to Steps for Autism and would like to donate, please click here
25th Annual Minnesota Autism Conference registration is open
Registration for the 25th Annual Minnesota Autism Conference, to be held April 29-May 2 at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest, is open. Register now to be a part of this event where we will join our voices as a passionate community to inspire learning, hope, and innovation. Experts, parents, caregivers, educators, paraprofessionals, mental health professionals, service providers, and individuals on the spectrum will have a platform to connect, collaborate, advocate, and educate.

The conference will feature four prominent keynote speakers: Wednesday Evening: Haley Moss sponsored by Minnesota Independence College and Community; Thursday Morning: Kari Dunn Buron sponsored by St. David's Center; Thursday Evening: Dwayne Ballen sponsored by Lifeworks; and Friday Morning: Loui Lord-Nelson, PhD sponsored by MN LEND.

The event also will include our Steps of Possibilities Gallery where you can read positive stories and gain advice from autistic adults in our community. And, as part of our anniversary celebration, we will open the exhibit hall and AuSM Bookstore to our community for FREE access on Saturday, May 2 from 7:30-11 a.m. At 9 a.m., we will recognize our retiring Camp Hand in Hand directors, Wendy McNeil and Todd Schwartzberg. Autism Community Day is free, but registration is required (does not include Saturday breakout sessions).

In Our Element 6th Annual AuSM Gala
When: Friday, May 1, 2020 from 6-10 p.m.

Where: Marriott Minneapolis Southwest, Minnetonka

Tickets: $85/individual ($45 tax deductible); $800/table of 10 ($480 tax deductible)

Attire: Cocktail Casual (Mad scientist looks admired!)

Hypothesis: A gala to benefit the Autism Society of Minnesota will bring our community together with a big bang.

Materials: Ingestible liquids and solids, including gluten-free and vegetarian.

Methodology: Experiment with probability through games and silent and live auctions.

Catalyst: Stories, information, and entertainment about the work of AuSM.

Expected Conclusion: We'll have the perfect chemistry to inspire hope and generosity.

Register online by April 17 or call Mark Fangmeier at 651.647.1083 ext. 19 to register by phone.
Partner with us as we celebrate Autism Acceptance Month 2020
With a national prevalence rate of 1 in 59 and Minnesota's prevalence rate of 1 in 42, autism is the fastest growing disability. Everyone knows someone who is touched by autism. Since 1971, AuSM has been committed to enhancing the lives of individuals and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. AuSM serves Minnesotans, throughout their lives, with a fundamental commitment to advocacy, education, support, collaboration, and community building. Every dollar raised for AuSM directly benefits the Minnesota autism community through programs and services tailored to the needs of families, individuals, educators, professionals and beyond. AuSM is a 501(c)(3) organization, and donations are tax-deductible.

What can you do?
April is National Autism Acceptance Month, a special opportunity for businesses and organizations to show their support for the autism community. AuSM invites businesses and organizations to partner with us in April to increase autism acceptance.

Registration is open for 3rd Annual AuSM Connections Jigsaw Puzzle Competition July 11
Join AuSM for a fun day of puzzling and community during the 3rd Annual AuSM Connections Jigsaw Puzzle Competition held July 11 in the TCF Rotunda at Mall of America. Teams of up to four people will compete in the 500-Piece and 1,000-Piece competition divisions. All ages and abilities are welcome to puzzle with us! $50 team registration fees support programs and services for the local autism community. New in 2020 will be an added autism resource fair held in the Mall of America's Northeast Court from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Plan to gather resources and have fun during the puzzle competition! Puzzles for the 2020 competition will be provided by PuzzleTwist.

AuSM Summer Social Skills Classes and Camps
AuSM Education
Life with Autism and Understanding Autism classes
Life with Autism Series

Understanding Autism and Best Strategic Practices

Due to a generous sponsorship from Best Care , these sessions are being offered for FREE. Registration is required.
  • May 4, 2020 from 6-8 p.m.
  • June 23, 2020 from 2-4 p.m.
  • Aug. 17, 2020 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Learn with AuSM Skillshops and Certification

March 31, 2020
Understanding Special Education (SPED)
Location: Autism Society of Minnesota
Also available as Livestream

May 19, 2020
How to Find the Right Therapist for You
Location: Autism Society of Minnesota
Also available as Livestream

AuSM’s Autism Direct Support Certification Program is designed for professionals who work with individuals with autism or those who want to better provide support to people on the spectrum. This in-depth, 15-hour course will give practical solutions for working with people on the spectrum.

Summer 2020 Session
Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
June 8-12, 2020

AuSM Resources, Counseling, and Consulting
AuSM Counseling
and Consulting Services
The AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services team works in partnership with you to develop a plan based on your needs. For many, working with mental heath service providers is a new experience; we want you to feel comfortable and knowledgeable as we strive for positive, individual-focused goals.
Uniting the Community Events

Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a priority of keeping our community safe, many of our sensory-friendly partners are postponing events for the remainder of March and into early April. Please visit business/organization websites to determine whether or not an event/activity will take place. AuSM will update our Uniting the Community Events pa as we receive notice from partnering businesses and organizations.