Dec. 1, 2018 News for the Minnesota autism community.
AuSM Featured Articles
Meet AuSM's new Director of Camp Programs
AuSM is pleased to introduce you to Ben Urbanek, AuSM's new Director of Camp Programs. Urbanek was introduced to the amazing world of camp as a staff member at one of AuSM's partner camps, Camp Knutson.

"I worked there for two summers as a program staff and I can honestly say those were two of the best summers of my life," he said.

Urbanek has worked at a variety of camps, and has spent the past three years as the Regional Branch Manager for EscapeMSP.

"When the amazing opportunity to get back into the camp world presented itself, I took it! I could not be more excited to join such a great organization while working on something that is so important to me and close to my heart."

Save the date! Registration for AuSM's 2019 Summer Camp opens at 8 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. More information about AuSM 2019 Summer Camp programs will be available soon.
Please support AuSM during this season of giving
The holidays and the season of giving are upon us. Please consider supporting the local autism community by thinking of AuSM in your acts of generosity.

Giving to AuSM can include end-of-year  donations of money  to support AuSM's programs and services,  volunteering your time  for 2019 AuSM events,  fundraising for AuSM , and a new option of shopping for items on the  AuSM Summer Camp Wish List on Amazon

AuSM's camp directors have created a list of items to help improve the camp experience and better serve campers during the 2019 AuSM Summer Camp season. Wish list items range from $6 and up and can be shipped directly to AuSM. If you would like a tax form for your purchased wish list item, please provide your e-mail address in the gift memo field when you are purchasing. Also, when shopping on Amazon (for wish list items or otherwise!), please be sure to select AuSM as your Amazon Smile charity, and Amazon will give a percentage of your purchase to support our local autism community.

Your generosity means so much to us and this amazing community we serve. Thank you! 
Register for Steps for Autism in Minnesota
Steps of Hope is taking on a new name and rallying some new excitement in 2019.  Steps for Autism in Minnesota, AuSM's 19th annual family fun walk and the state’s largest autism resource fair, will take place at Southdale Center on March 3, 2019. Each participant is an autism hero, rallying for the 1 in 42 individuals living with autism in Minnesota. Steps for Autism will begin with the third annual  AuSM Flash Dash presented by Accra , an all ages and abilities quick walk from 9-9:15 a.m. that will be done in a flash. Families and individuals who register for the AuSM Flash Dash will receive medals at the finish line and bragging rights for completion. Steps for Autism dollars directly support local families and individuals living with autism, from birth through retirement. Donations stay in the community by funding AuSM's innovative programs and services. 

Thank you for giving to AuSM on Nov. 15
On Nov. 15, Give to the Max Day 2018, supporters of the Autism Society of Minnesota and those affected by autism in Minnesota came together and helped AuSM exceed its donation goal for the state-wide day of generosity. Community members, businesses, board members, and staff members raised a record-shattering $32,576! Thank you to those who donated, including our match donors: Pentair Foundation; Andre Best, Best Home Care; Joan and Jeff Hamiel; Dorothy Waltz; and members of the AuSM Board of Directors. 100% of all Give to the Max Day donations will stay local, supporting advocacy, education, and collaboration in our communities.

Thanks also to our community partners: 612 Brew, Blush Salon, Bruegger's Bagel Bakery, Cheap Skate, Community Alliance, Home Depot, Pet Smart, Pryes Brewing, Wabasha Brewing Company, and Wuollet Bakery. You, our members, partners, and donors, make this community strong. We are grateful.

If you were not able to donate yesterday and would like to contribute dollars in support of the local autism community,  please click here .
AuSM Education
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory Adult Classes
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in St. Paul will hold four single-session classes for adults with autism, ages 18+, over the next few months:

Arctic on Dec. 15
Africa on Jan. 5
Tropical Rain Forests on Jan. 26
Adaptations on Feb. 16

Adults with autism are invited to explore Como and learn from their education specialists. Sessions have limited space; participants are encouraged to register early. The cost is $25 per session for AuSM members and $30 per session for non-members. Register for a single session or multiple sessions. 

Upcoming AuSM social skills classes
AuSM classes and activities offer low-stress, accepting environments that promote learning and growth while celebrating neurodiversity.

Life with Autism Series
AuSM's Life with Autism Series offers information and strategies through engaging, age-focused classes led by autism experts and parent speakers. Participants also learn about available services and resources while contributing to the direction of topics covered. Classes are held at AuSM. Cost: AuSM Members: $50 for one or two individuals/family members/caregivers; Non-Members $75.

FREE Class: Understanding Autism and Best Strategic Practices
Learn common characteristics of individuals with autism and sensory processing disorders. Obtain valuable insight on best practices to support people with autism and related disabilities. Thanks to the Hennepin County Autism Grant, these classes are offered FREE of charge at AuSM. Registration is required.

Learn with AuSM Skillshops and Certification

Autism and Co-Occuring Mental Health Disorders
Dec. 11, 2018 from 7-9 p.m.
Autism Society of Minnesota

A Picture of Success: Improving Reading and Language Comprehension
Jan. 8, 2019
Lindamood-Bell, Edina

Suicidality and Suicide Prevention
Jan. 22, 2019
Lionsgate Academy, Minnetonka

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.

Saturdays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Jan. 12, 19, 26, 2019

Mondays, 6-9 p.m.
March 4, 11, 18, 25; April 1, 2019
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 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.  

Holiday Highlight
Several local organizations will offer sensory Santa and other holiday-related experiences during this season. Experiences may include access to Santa without typical mall hour lines, lowered lighting, reduced sound, and options for things to do while waiting for one-on-one time with Santa. Click on the below links to learn more about these opportunities; some require reservations.