Jan. 15, 2020 News for the Minnesota autism community.
AuSM Featured Articles
Best Care sponsors Understanding Autism and Best Strategic Practices classes in 2020
Due to a generous sponsorship from Best Care, AuSM's Understanding Autism and Best Strategic Practices class will be offered FREE in 2020! Learn common characteristics of individuals with autism and sensory processing disorders. Obtain valuable insight on evidenced-based best practices to support people with autism and sensory processing sensitivities. Register today for the Jan. 20, March 14, May 4, June 23, or Aug. 17 session. *Note, this is a single-session class. Content is the same for all sessions. AuSM offers these sessions at different times to accommodate as many schedules as possible. When registering, select the session that works best for you. Click here for more information and to register.  
Autistic adults, share your stories
Steps for Autism in Minnesota, formerly Steps of Hope, began as an event where individuals and families could gather resources and connect with each other in order to build a stronger community. 

In honor of the 20th anniversary of this important event, AuSM wants to continue to inspire and celebrate our community by highlighting positive stories from autistic adults. Stories may highlight experiences at home, school, work, in the community, or personal triumphs that have made an impact in your life.

Selected stories and photos will be included on posters displayed during Steps for Autism 2020. Posters also may be displayed at additional AuSM events in 2020, through AuSM's social media outlets, and on the AuSM website.

We ask that submitted stories are first-person accounts from autistic adults; however, caregivers or Direct Support Professionals may help with the story and photo submission as needed. If you're interested in sharing a positive story, please complete the below form and e-mail a photo of yourself as a child and a current photo to kthomalla@ausm.org. Submissions are due Jan. 28, 2020. Click here for more information and to submit your story.
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.

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.
Registration is open for 3rd annual Super Fest
Join AuSM and other community partners while you experience the fun of the Super Bowl in an accessible atmosphere during the Third Annual Super Fest held at Life Time Sport Winter Park from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on Feb. 1, 2020. This inclusive cheerleading and football clinic is open for youth aged 5-22 with and without disabilities to learn from local coaches and players. Registration is open and is limited.  Click here for more information and to register.
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 PREVIEW
AuSM Summer Camps
Registration for AuSM's 2020 summer camp season opens in Jan 27, 2020 at 8 a.m. Register early as all camp sessions will fill quickly.

To expedite the registration process, consider joining AuSM or renewing your membership prior to the registration open date. Click here to join AuSM or renew your membership.

AuSM camps are tailored for youth and adults with autism. Parents and caregivers can rest assured knowing that their campers are being cared for by highly trained, experienced staff, while campers make memories that last a lifetime.

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.

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 Education
AuSM's social skills classes promote friendships and growth
AuSM is committed to making your class experience positive and rewarding. Click on the below links for more information and to register.

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.
  • Jan. 20, 2020 from 2-4 p.m. 
  • March 14, 2020 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. 
  • 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

Jan. 28, 2020
Suicidality and ASD
Location: Lionsgate Academy, Shoreview

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
In collaboration with community partners, AuSM is pleased to offer opportunities for families and individuals with autism to come together and enjoy fun activities in supportive, welcoming environments. Events and activities submitted by community partners are subject to change. AuSM encourages you to visit the websites provided at least one month prior to attending an event or activity as many require advance registration and some have limited capacity. An event or activity may be postponed or canceled without notice. AuSM does not endorse events and activities included in these listings. We look forward to seeing you out and about in our great community! 


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

Jan. 18: Sensory Friendly Saturday, Bell Museum 
Jan. 18: Sensory-Friendly Saturdays, Wentworth Library 
Jan. 19: Sensory Friendly Sundays, Science Museum of Minnesota 
Jan. 21: Pizza Ranch Gathering, Autism Allies
Jan. 25: Sensory-Friendly Saturdays, Wescott Library 
Jan. 26: Sensory Friendly Sundays French Regional Park, Three Rivers Park District 
Jan. 26: Sensory Friendly Family Night, REM5 VR Laboratory
Jan. 26: Sensory-Friendly Sunday, Mill City Museum 
Jan. 28: Sensory Friendly Saturday, Bell Museum 
Jan. 30: Snacks & Cinema: Men in Black International, Reach for Resources 
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