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

AuSM welcomes new therapist, Bjorn Walter
AuSM is excited to share that we have hired our seventh therapist specializing in autism and mental health. Bjorn Walter will be seeing clients full time at the AuSM office in St. Paul.

Bjorn Walter presently is working to obtain his license in marriage and family therapy (LMFT). He earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from Southwest Minnesota State University in 2013, and his master's degree in Adlerian psychotherapy and counseling with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from Adler Graduate School (AGS) in 2017. During his master's program, Walter interned at the Autism Society of Minnesota where he discovered his passion for working with individuals and families living with autism. Since graduating from AGS, Walter spent time working at a group home dedicated to adults with autism and schizophrenia near his hometown in Sweden.

Prepare for a Sensory Friendly 4th of July
With the 4th of July fast approaching, many families worry about the sensory overload that can come from crowds, parties, and fireworks. Our friends at the Autism Society of America have created a guide to managing the holiday

Some highlights:
  • Bright and loud, fireworks can be overwhelming for people with ASD. Provide him/her with a way to dampen the sound - headphones, for example. Note that not every person with ASD dislikes fireworks, but plan for the most difficult scenario.
  • Make sure he/she has an item from home, such as a magazine or favorite toy, which can provide a distraction in stressful situations.
  • Holding a small cookout the week before the real thing can be great practice for the Fourth.
Donate to AuSM July 1-Aug. 15 and receive a free cupcake from Wuollet Bakery
AuSM invites you to celebrate the person you love with autism by donating your age in dollars to support programs and services for the local autism community. Those donating $25 or more to AuSM from July 1-Aug. 15, 2018 will receive a coupon for a free cupcake from our cupcake partner, Wuollet Bakery! Not quite 25? Combine household ages to reach at least $25. Encourage your friends to match your donation of $25+ and enjoy your Wuollet Bakery cupcakes together! Donations above $25 are accepted and appreciated, too! 

Donate to AuSM and treat yourself!

Click here to donate to AuSM through our secure online donation page,  or send your donation to AuSM,   2380 Wycliff St. #102, St. Paul, MN 55114.

Wuollet Bakery cupcake coupons will be mailed to donors of $25 or more and can be redeemed at any Wuollet Bakery location including St. Paul, Minneapolis, Edina, Robbinsdale, and Wayzata. Limit one cupcake coupon per donation. Thank you for supporting the local autism community!
1st Annual AuSM Connections Jigsaw Puzzle Competition July 21 at Mall of America
Put your jigsaw puzzling passion to the test during the first annual AuSM Connections Jigsaw Puzzle Competition held at the Mall of America Rotunda on Saturday, July 21. Gather your friends and family into teams of four that will compete for the fastest puzzle completion time. Puzzle team divisions include Adult and Family. All experience levels are welcome! 

Adult Division (four players 18+; $50 per team; 1,000-piece puzzle)
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Family Division (encouraged to have at least one player under 18; $50 per team; 300-piece puzzle)
1-3 p.m.

Golf at Royal Golf Club to support the local autism community
Join the Autism Society of Minnesota and avid Minnesota golfers for the 23rd Annual AuSM Golf Classic, a fundraising event for the local autism community. Held Aug. 6 at its new location, the new Royal Golf Club course in Lake Elmo, Minn., this amazing golf classic is sure to be the best Monday of your summer!

Rolling hills, mature trees and abundant wildlife provide the scenic backdrop to the challenging, yet approachable 18-hole course. The front nine, or the Queen's Nine, was designed by Annika Sorenstam, and the back nine, known as the King's Nine, was designed by Arnold Palmer. Together, these golf legends envisioned a multi-generational golfing experience; a place where beginners would feel comfortable in learning, and where experienced players could test their skills.

Thank you to our 2018 sponsors, including Clubhouse Sponsor, Built on Bravery, an organization that focuses on health and fitness training for special needs athletes. Additional sponsors include: Allegra Downtown St. Paul; McNellis and Asato, Ltd.; Minnesota Autism Center; Marty Lass, PGA Professional; MJT & Associates, LLC Financial Advisor Group; Viewpoint; Family Innovations; Ken Peterson; and Fox Sports North. Sponsorships are available! Click here for more information.
AuSM Self-Advocacy Summit for adults on the spectrum registration open
The first annual AuSM Self-Advocacy Summit presented by Anime Twin Cities will take place Sept. 22, 2018 at the University of St. Thomas Minneapolis campus and will include a keynote presentation and nine breakout sessions featuring topics including mental health, executive functioning, sensory needs, employment, relationships, and more. This event is for adults with autism by adults with autism. In addition to gathering wisdom from life experiences by adults on the spectrum, collect resources from the AuSM Bookstore, network with peers, and visit with vendors who support adults on the spectrum.

Canvas Health presents Helping Kids Grow Through Challenges: Understanding Brains and Tailoring Treatments
On July 23, Canvas Health clinicians Andrew Ballew, PsyD and Jessica Miller, MA will present on treatment strategies for children with autism, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

At the workshop, participants will explore best interventions and supports for the child in your care, and how assessments identify factors such as IQ, memory, executive functioning, and learning capacity. Additionally, the presenters will address problems with coping, behavior problems, social skills, and adaptive skills and how family relationships, social supports, and culture can improve results and promote healthy development.

This workshop is open to clinicians, parents and educators. CEUs will be available.  The workshop will be held Monday, July 23, 7:30-10:30 a.m. at Dellwood Country Club in Dellwood, Minn. Click here for more information and to register.
Presented by adults on the spectrum.

What's one thing you wish people without autism knew about you?

O noted: " I wish that people knew that I can be a variety of things. I am not an either or. I am very capable and smart and social, but those things don't mean that being autistic doesn't create a lot of challenges or sometimes mean I have to work harder to do the same things others do. The stereotypes of being either debilitated or unaffected mean that I have a lot of pressure to work even harder to not show the world when I am struggling because of a constant fear that if I do, people will stop seeing me as successful and capable. My life will be easier when the world understands that I can be both strong and weak at the same time and it doesn't make me less than anyone else."

R agreed that the difference between inside and outside is hard: "What appears to be happening on the outside is usually vastly different than what's happening on the inside. I can seem very bland and one-dimensional when I first meet someone because I need to gauge who they are and how exactly they need to be interacted with. Figuring that out takes longer with some than others. I'm also constantly paying attention to all audible and visual stimulation around me. With an already slower than average auditory processing speed, plus having to filter all other sounds, plus trying to interpret a new person, having anything more than a basic conversation is almost impossible until I'm comfortable with them. Please don't think I'm stupid or boring. There's a real, unique person in here, it's just going to take some time for me to figure you out and slowly let the real me shine through."

T echoed both responses: "Sometimes I worry that people don't take me seriously when I say I'm autistic because I'm female, "functional", and independent. It's so easy to make assumptions about someone's abilities, both whether they can do something or whether they can't do something. People assume that I don't face challenges like other autistic people do. What they don't know is that I haven't been able to cook myself a meal in years, that picking up a phone and talking is one of my biggest fears, that I forget my mother's birthday every year, that I self-harmed for years. Autistics put on masks to cope in your world. Take the time to find out what we're like in our own."
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   education@ausm.org for more information. 

The following classes have just a few openings remaining:
Lowry Nature Center (ages 13-18)
Toneworks Art Camp (ages 10-21)
MNProv Summer Workshop for Teachers and Students
Improv can help students increase confidence, learn joint attention, take perspectives, and gain flexibility. MNProv is a four-day workshop to help teachers understand how to use improv to help students with autism. If you teach communication, social thinking, and emotion regulation skills, this class will help you build new strategies to reach your students and give you hands-on practice with students ages 10-18.

Have fun while learning how to respond to the unexpected, engage in reciprocal interactions, and support peers in moving a conversation forward. Each skill can be applied to everyday life as you learn to open yourself to creativity and new ideas, while having fun and making friends. No prior improv experience is necessary. MNProv will be training teachers in using improv for social skills, and this improv social skills class will be instructed by these teachers.

July 23-26, 2018
Teacher Instruction: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. 
Teacher-Led Improv with Students: 1:30-3 p.m.

2018 AuSM Summer Social Skills classes in Duluth 
AuSM is pleased to partner with the Lake Superior Zoo and the Great Lakes Aquarium to offer two exciting social skills classes for youth with autism. 

July 23-27, 2018 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

July 30-Aug. 2, 2018 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
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.

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

Oct. 16, 2018 from 7-9 p.m.
Special Needs & Special Sibs: A Family AuSM Skillshop
Presenter: Jennifer S. Reinke, PhD, LAMFT, CFLE
Location: St. David's Center

"Autism doesn't just affect my kid, it affects our whole family," a mother of an 8-year-old child with autism said. Explore the unique challenges, rewards, and dynamics experienced by families impacted by a variety of special needs. Special emphasis will be placed on the experiences and needs of siblings (ages 10+) who have a brother or sister with special needs. All family members are welcome at this AuSM Skillshop.


The 2018-2019 AuSM Skillshop line-up will be announced soon!
Autism Society of Minnesota supporters sustain the work that has helped so many in the Minnesota autism community. AuSM's drive for continuing this work is strong - we constantly look for ways to serve you even better. 100% of donations stay in the Minnesota autism community, and every dollar counts. We appreciate your generosity, and we look forward to continuing to be your resource for autism programs and services.

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