May 1, 2018  News and events for the Minnesota autism community.

The 23rd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference a place for connecting
Held April 25-28 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Minneapolis - Park Place, the 23rd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference was filled with amazing keynote presentations, breakout sessions, an information-packed exhibit hall, and many opportunities for networking with fellow autism community members.

Special thanks to the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration for taking the time to share information about the Centers for Disease Control's release of the new autism prevalence rates and data associated with their findings during the conference.

Julia's AuSM Autism Celebration was a fun family-focused addition to conference activities on April 25. Held just prior to the opening keynote presentation, the event featured fun activities offered by sponsors and the opportunity for participants to meet Walkaround Julia, the newest Sesame Street character with autism.

AuSM is filled with gratitude to our many participants, volunteers, and supporters including Sesame Workshop; keynote speakers, Frank Campagna; Jed Baker, PhD; Stephen Shore, PhD; and Leah Kuypers, MA Ed, OTR/L; sponsors: Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, Accra, Autism Advocacy & Law Center, Fraser, Minnesota Life College, Optum, Rosenberg Center, St. David's Center for Child and Family Development, and The Therapy Place; and our many valuable exhibitors.
AuSM gala provides entertainment and support
The Celebrate the Magic Within AuSM gala was a fantastical success on April 27 as many from the autism community came out to have fun, recognize inspirations, and support individuals with autism in Minnesota. AuSM was proud to recognize individuals who have gone above and beyond in their dedication to our community, and this year honored Laroye "Lynn" Stansberry Brusnahan; Minnesota LEND Program University of Minnesota; Kim Norton; Robert Waltz; and Officer Robert Zink of the St. Paul Police Care Program. Special thanks to AuSM Board member Shannan Paul for emceeing the event; to Heather Thelen for sharing her personal thoughts on being an autism mom; to Gage Cook and My Buan for sharing a beautiful rendition of "True Colors"; and to all of our sponsors, participants, volunteers, and the organizing committee for the magical evening designed to raise dollars in support of our local autism community.
CDC announces new national autism prevalence rate of 1 in 59; 1 in 42 in Minnesota
The Centers for Disease Control's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network reported last week that one in 59 U.S. children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This reflects a 13.2 percent increase over the previous report of one in 68 prevalence rate (previous study: 1.5% population with ASD; newest study: 1.7% population with ASD). Boys also are 4.6 times more likely to be identified with ASD than girls.

The ADDM Network, the largest population-based program to monitor autism and the only autism tracking system that examines health and education records, provides estimates of the prevalence and characteristics of ASD among more than 300,000 8-year-old children in data collection sites throughout the country, including Minnesota as a first-time data collection site.

In Minnesota, the prevalence rate for autism is one in 42, the second highest rate of the 11 data collection sites throughout the country. Minnesota data was collected from Hennepin and Ramsey Counties only, which is where nearly one-third of Minnesota's population base lies.

Sensory Friendly Sundays at the Walker
Sensory Friendly Sunday is a new, free monthly event for kids, teens, and adults with sensory processing differences or autism and their families, offering the opportunity to make art together, explore the galleries, watch a short film, or just hang out in a different setting. The galleries will be closed to all other visitors, allowing guests to enjoy the museum in a calm environment where accommodations such as quiet spaces, noise-canceling headphones, and fidgets are provided. 

Dates: May 6, June 3, July 8, Aug. 5, Sept. 2, Oct. 7
Time: 8-11 a.m.

Cost: FREE, but registration is encouraged.  Click here to register.
Flint Hills Family Festival and Panda's Home Sensory Friendly Performance
On June 1-2, join the Ordway for the 2018 Flint Hills Family Festival. Plan a day of excitement with your friends and family, featuring the best international performing artists from around the globe! This festival will include a sensory-friendly performance of Panda's Home on June 2 at 10 a.m. Our smallest Festival-goers will embark on an immersive theater experience that follows a panda on an imaginary journey through China's stories, traditions, and culture. Through the use of dance, sound, interactive projected images and play, the dancers and students alike will encounter bamboo forests, monsters, fireworks, and kites as they explore the five elements of Wu Xing-wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Presented by Compagnia TPO (Italy) in co-production with China's TONG Production and Teatro Metastasio Di Prato.   Click here to order your tickets today.
Major League Baseball and Minnesota Twins Autism Awareness Day at Target Field June 3
Join AuSM for a fun day at Target Field as Major League Baseball and the Minnesota Twins celebrate Autism Awareness Day on June 3. Those purchasing game tickets through AuSM's unique link will have the opportunity to participate in an on-field parade before watching the Twins take on the Cleveland Indians. Ticket purchase through AuSM's link includes the pre-game parade, a seat at the game, and a $3 donation to the Autism Society of Minnesota. Cheer for the Twins while supporting those you love with autism! Tickets are $22 each and must be purchased by May 13, 2018.  Click here to order your tickets today.
Make 2018 a summer to remember during Camp Hand in Hand
AuSM's 2018 summer camps are full, and that means we need a full staff, too! Have you been curious about what it takes to be an AuSM camp counselor? We'd love to tell you more!   Click here for more information about participating in this rewarding summer experience, or contact AuSM's director of camp programming, Terri Borowick, at or 651.647.1083. 

We're also searching for a registered nurse to help during session 3 of Camp Hand in Hand. Click here for a position description, and contact Terri for more info.
2018 AuSM Summer Activities Catalog 
AuSM classes and activities offer low-stress, accepting environments that promote learning and growth while celebrating neurodiversity. AuSM programs are conducive to youth and adults who fall within the wide range of the autism spectrum. Call 651.647.1083 ext. 22 or e-mail for more information. 

CAST Summer Showtime (ages 10-17)
Minnesota Zoo Classes (ages 8-19)
Lowry Nature Center (ages 13-18)
AuSM Artists at Mia (ages 11-18)
Toneworks Art Camp (ages 10-21)
AuSM On the Town (ages 14-26)  - FULL
AuSM On the Town Adventure (ages 14-26) - FULL
Art on the Town (ages 18+) - FULL
AuSM Autism Direct Support Certification
AuSM's Autism Direct Support Certification Program is designed for professionals and caregivers who work with or support individuals with autism and want to provide better service and care. This in-depth, 15-hour course will give practical solutions for working with people on the spectrum. Class includes final case study and test.

June 11-14, 2018
9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Sept. 14, 21, 28; Oct. 5, 12, 2018
9 a.m.-12 p.m.
AuSM Skillshops

May 15, 2018 from 7-9 p.m.
Managing Screen Addiction and Cyber Safety
Presenter: Sara Pahl, MS, BCBA, NCC
Location: Lionsgate, North St. Paul

It is easy to get sucked in and to spend hours playing a game, on social media, or exploring all technology has to offer. While technology and screens can be great tools, sometimes we become too reliant on them. Learn strategies for setting boundaries, time management, and staying safe on the internet.


Upcoming AuSM Skillshops include:
Special Needs and Special Sibs: A Family AuSM Skillshop on Oct. 16.
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