Feb. 1, 2020 News for the Minnesota autism community.
AuSM Featured Articles
Register for and celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Steps for Autism in Minnesota
Register today to join us for the 20th Annual Steps for Autism in Minnesota, a community fundraiser featuring the state’s largest annual autism resource fair and the 4th annual AuSM Flash Dash powered by Accra. Steps for Autism will be held at Southdale Center from 8:30-11 a.m. on Sunday, March 1, 2020.

Steps for Autism in Minnesota 2020 fundraising incentive prizes include an AuSM Logo Mug, an AuSM Scarf, an AuSM Cribbage Board, and Faribault Woolen Mill Winter Mittens. 100% of dollars raised through Steps for Autism are tax deductible, stay local, and support programs and services that allow people affected by autism in Minnesota to grow and thrive.

NEW ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to a generous autism community supporter, individual and team donations collected for Steps for Autism will be matched up to $20,000! Double dollars=double support!

Plan now to participate in this exciting event for our local autism community on March 1. The event will culminate in an awesome dance party led by AuSM summer camp staff, princesses, and other costumed characters. Registration is required. Click here to register for Steps for Autism 2020 and the AuSM Flash Dash.
AuSM Summer Camps celebrate retiring directors and welcome new staff
A team of dedicated camp directors and staff ensure that AuSM Summer Camps afford youth and adults with autism safe, fun, and rewarding summer camp experiences.

The 2020 AuSM Summer Camp season will see some changes as AuSM bids farewell to two of the seasoned Camp Hand in Hand directors, Wendy McNeil and Edward Todd Schwartzberg, M.Ed., MT-BC.

Sexual health programming interest survey
In alignment with our mission to enhance the lives of individuals and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), we want to address ongoing member requests for programming tailored to issues of sexuality and healthy relationships. AuSM is partnering with Lutheran Social Service and Mad Hatter Wellness to adapt the acclaimed Sexuality for All Abilities curriculum, a comprehensive sexual health and sexuality education program, to meet the needs of our AuSM community.

We value your input. If this program is of interest, please answer the following questions about yourself or someone you support (child/dependent). If you have questions about this survey, please contact Robyn DeCourcy, AuSM Education Specialist, at rdecourcy@ausm.org or call 651.647.1083 ext. 22. Survey responses are due by Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.

AuSM Annual Meeting Feb. 26
AuSM's Annual Meeting will take place at AuSM from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26. The Annual Meeting is open to all community members.

The Annual Meeting agenda will be as follows, including elections for Board of Directors officer positions:

6:30 p.m.  
  • Check-in/Meet and Greet

7 p.m.  
  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Secretary’s Report, Jenna Matteson-Laabs, Secretary, Board of Directors
  • State of AuSM Report, Ellie Wilson, Executive Director
  • President’s Report, Paul D’Arco, President, Board of Directors
  • Treasurer’s Report, Kyle Bloch, Treasurer, Board of Directors
  • Election of Officers - Nominees:
  • John Skillings, Treasurer (2-year term)
  • Jenna Matteson-Laabs, Secretary (2-year term)
  • Keith Guggenberger, Vice President (1-year term following resignation of former VP)
  • New Business
  • Questions and Open Discussion
  • Announcements

8 p.m.
  • Adjourn
2020 SUMMER ADVENTURES
AuSM Summer Social Skills Classes and Camps
AuSM will offer a wide variety of social skills classes and camps this summer in low-stress, accepting environments that promote learning and growth while celebrating neurodiversity. Classes are tailored for youth and adults with autism and will take place in venues with community partners. Click on the below links for more information. Registration for summer programming opens on Jan. 27 at 8 a.m.


AuSM camps are available for individuals ages 6 and up who are AuSM members. Camp offerings include a day camp where campers arrive each morning and leave each afternoon, and two residential camps where campers stay several days and nights. Camp activities are subject to change. Due to the high demand for residential camps, campers may attend only one week of residential camp. Campers may attend one or both sessions of Wahode Day Camp. Click on the below links to learn more about each camp.

A walk with Enzo: AuSM Camp Hand in Hand counselor recounts his time with his camper
Envision a symphony, reaching its crescendo, conductor swinging their arms fervently about pushing the body of commotion to its peak. Now strip it back, remove first the drums, the bass, the rhythm section that keeps the metronome of your heartbeat in time. Next to go is the brass section, bright punches of horn fade followed in succession by the winds, dimmer still as the waves of flutes and oboes calm to a motionless silence. Last to be peeled away are the strings, as the arms of the violinists move in a flurry, the rhythmic beauty of their sounds dissipate into the air and you are left feeling only the gentle cushion of the seat beneath you.

You can see it all playing out, in your mind’s eye you envision what each musician is trying so passionately to communicate and yet no matter the motions that ensue, you are left with only your best guess as to what they wish to convey.

Welcome to a walk with Enzo.


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.
  • March 14, 2020 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (THIS SESSION IS FULL)
  • 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

Feb. 18, 2020
Preventing & Recovering from Burnout: Real World Self-Care
Location: AuSM, St. Paul
Livestream Purchase Available

March 10, 2020
Supplemental Needs Trust Planning
Location: Minnesota Independence College & Community, Richfield


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.

Spring 2020 Session
Mondays from 6-9 p.m.
March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 2020

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

Below is a highlight of upcoming events; more details about these and additional events and activities are available at the above link.

Feb. 1: 3rd Annual Super Fest
Feb. 1: Navigating MSP Airport, MSP Airport 
Feb. 2: Sensory and Family Friendly Worship, Cross of Peace Lutheran Church 
Feb. 2: Sensory Sensitive Sunday, Chuck E. Cheese’s
Feb. 3: Sensory-Friendly Time, Build-A-Bear Workshop
Feb. 4: Sensory Friendly Night, Cheap Skate Coon Rapids 
Feb. 5: Family Sensory Friendly Movie Night, Washington County Library–Park Grove 
Feb. 8: Sensory-Friendly Family Concert: Copper Street Bass, Schubert Club 
Feb. 9, 12: Autism Friendly Early Entry, Como Park Zoo & Conservatory 
Feb. 9: Sensory-Friendly Early Open, Heritage Library 
Feb. 9: Sensory Friendy Sundays, The Bakken Museum 
Feb. 9: Sensory Friendy Sunday, Walker Art Center
Feb. 9: Relaxed Family Concert: Pictures at an Exhibition, Minnesota Orchestra 
Feb. 9: Sensory Jump, Urban Air Adventure Park 
Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day Dance (ages 13+), Reach for Resources 
Feb. 15: Sensory-Friendly Saturdays, Wescott Library 
Feb. 15: Snow Tubing at Powder Ridge Winter Recreation Center, Autism Allies  
Feb. 15: Sensory Friendly Saturday, Bell Museum