January 15, 2017        Connecting you with the Minnesota autism community.

A Note from Jonah Weinberg, Executive Director
It's only mid-January, but already there are a lot of exciting things happening in our community. The 17 th annual Steps of Hope for Autism in Minnesota is just around the corner. The fundraising fun walk will include the state's largest annual autism resource fair and the new AuSM Flash Dash. Register today for a morning full of fun activities for all ages and abilities!
I'm also very proud to share a new project that AuSM is helping develop, along with input from families and individuals on the spectrum. In partnership with Aware Services and the St. Paul Police Department, we'll be piloting a new service called the "Vulnerable Individuals Technology Assisted Location Service", or VITALS. This service allows people with "invisible" disabilities like autism to voluntarily electronically share their diagnosis with emergency responders (e.g. police, fire, EMT, etc.) within a fixed radius, to help inform how they engage, and to avoid misunderstandings or negative interactions. For the pilot program, we're looking for individuals, ages 15+ who spend time in and around Ramsey County without continual supervision by a parent or caregiver. Application for the pilot program will open on Tuesday, Jan. 17. Visit our website homepage for more information and to apply.
And, despite the snow on the ground, we're gearing up for summer 2017. New AuSM Summer Activities catalogs will arrive in mailboxes soon, and registration for our summer social skills programs and the 40 th year of AuSM summer camps will open Jan. 30. 
Whether you're looking for information about resources in your community, classes to better understand autism and disability issues, recreational programs, mental health services, or something else completely, we at AuSM are here to help you at every stage of your autism journey. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us and learn how we can be of service.

Have an AuSM day!

AuSM Executive Director
Autism Day is Jan. 17 at the Minnesota state capitol
The The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities and AuSM are partnering to offer Autism Day at the Minnesota capitol from 9:30-11 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17. This is your opportunity to meet with legislators and policy-makers, and provide them with information about issues that impact the lives of Minnesota's autism community. The event will take place in the MN Department of Transportation cafeteria at 395 John Ireland Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155. For planning purposes, please RSVP to the MN CCD office:  952.818.8719, e-mail  jo@mnccd.org.
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! After you get the wiggles out during the AuSM Flash Dash, head up to the second floor for the state's largest annual autism resource fair, snacks, and fun activities. Register today to be a part of this exciting addition to Steps of Hope 2017!

Register for the AuSM Flash Dash by Jan. 31, 2017 and your name will be entered into a drawing for a free one night stay (March 4) in a two room suite at the Residence Inn Minneapolis Edina. Prize includes a superhero breakfast on March 5! The winner will be announced on Jan. 31. Register 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 service pilot program to increase safety  and independence for people with autism

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.

Many conditions like autism, traumatic brain injury, mental health challenges, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, epilepsy, and others are referred to as "invisible" disabilities, because there are no physical indicators that others can see that might inform them of the disability. The invisibility of these disabilities can put the individuals at risk, because they often exhibit behaviors and traits that emergency responders can misinterpret as being intoxicated, uncooperative, or evasive.

A new technology-based project called the "Vulnerable Individuals Technology Assisted Location Service" - or VITALS - helps make the invisible visible. VITALS uses a transmitter, or beacon, and a mobile app that allow individuals with an "invisible" disability to voluntarily disclose their diagnosis to emergency responders within a 30-50 foot radius.

Click here to read the complete article. The electronic pilot program application will be available on Tuesday, Jan. 17. A link will be available on AuSM's website.
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.

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.

The 2017 AuSM Summer Activities Catalog will be available soon and registration for AuSM's summer social skills classes will open on Jan. 30!

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.

Click on the below links to learn more about AuSM's summer social skills classes and camps. Registration for classes and camps opens Jan. 30.


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 
Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. 
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

Jan. 24, 2017
Communication Breakdown: How To Resolve Conflicts
Presenter: Beth Pitchford, MA 
Date: Jan. 24, 2017 from 7-9 p.m. 
Location: Autism Society of Minnesota

During a conflict, tempers may flare, words can have hidden meanings, and body language often is confusing. Thought processes may be emotionally charged and not logical. Teens and adults with autism, learn the difference between a disagreement and a conflict and obtain helpful techniques for listening, reading body language, and using assertive communication to resolve conflicts.


Feb. 7: Social Safety: Strategies for Navigating Online and Offline
Feb. 9: Poetry and Autism: Turning Perseveration into Creativity
Feb. 21: Special Needs & Special Sibs: A Family AuSM Skillshop
March 23: Electronic Addiction: How to Break Free From Battles Over Screens

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

Uniting the Community event highlight:
An AuSM Night at the Science Museum
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
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 | 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