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Detailed Conference Schedule

16 03 28 MN Autism Conf v4The Autism Society of Minnesota invites you to participate in the 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference. During this event, we will join our voices as a passionate community to inspire learning, hope, and innovation. Here experts, parents, caregivers, educators, paraprofessionals, mental health professionals, service providers, and individuals on the spectrum will have a platform to connect, collaborate, advocate, and educate.

Conference participants will be issued certificates of attendance at the conference. AuSM is working with several licensing boards to secure Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for applicable sessions. Additional information will be available soon on www.ausm.org.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

6-7 p.m. Registration and AuSM Bookstore Open

7-9 p.m. Keynote Presentation Sponsored by Minnesota Life College

Steve Silberman
Great Minds Don't Always Think Alike
During this presentation, take a deep look at the hidden history of autism and the promise of a future in which everyone is given the support needed to reach maximum potential.


Steve Silberman is an award-winning science writer and author of the New York Times
best-selling NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, which unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who first became famous for discovering it, while also uncovering surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years.

9-10 p.m. Steve Silberman Book Signing

Thursday, April 27, 2017

7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Registration, AuSM Bookstore, Exhibits Open

8:30-10:30 a.m. Keynote Presentation Sponsored by St. David's Center for Child & Family Development

Temple Grandin, PhD
Autism and My Path Through Life
Dr. Grandin, one of the world’s most accomplished and well-known adults with autism, will talk about how her mind works, sharing her ability to “think in pictures”, which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. Her presentation topics will include sensory problems, how people with autism think, and careers.

RWTemplewebTemple Grandin, PhD, is a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University where she researches and teaches. Dr. Grandin’s popular books include Thinking in Pictures, Emergence Labeled Autistic, The Way I See It, and The Autistic Brain. Dr. Grandin is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America. In 2010, Dr. Grandin was honored on Time Magazine’s list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” In 2012, she was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.

10:30 a.m. Break – AuSM Bookstore and Exhibits Open, Dr. Temple Grandin Book Signing in the AuSM Bookstore

11 a.m.-12 p.m. Breakout Sessions I

1. Neurotypical Syndrome 101: Jillian Nelson, Lucas Scott

2. Understanding Executive Functioning: Amy Carrison, PsyD

3. The Social Times: Using Systems, Narratives, and Fun to Teach Social Information: Kari Dunn Buron, MS

4. Alexithymia and ASD: Eric Ringgenberg, BS

12-1 p.m. Lunch – AuSM Bookstore and Exhibits Open

1-2 p.m. Breakout Sessions II

1. Circles of Comfort: A Framework to Support Anxiety in ASD: Connie Persike, MS, SLP-CCC; Jessica Nichols, BA

2. The Imagery-Language Connection: Improving Comprehension for Children with Autism: Dana Kernik

3. From Chaos to Calm: Yoga-Based Interventions for Peace: Chrissy Mignogna, RYT

4. Positive Parenting Strategies for Individuals with Autism: Mitch Lepicello, MSW, LICSW

2 p.m. Break – AuSM Bookstore and Exhibits Open

2:30-3:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions III

1. Requests and Protests: Understanding Behavior as Communication: Glenis Benson, PhD

2. 8 Pillars of Parenting for Peace at Home: Samantha Moe, MA, SLP

3. How Does Personality Type Affect Autism?: Nellie Moore

6-7 p.m. Registration and AuSM Bookstore Open

7-9 p.m. Keynote Presentation

Kerry Magro
I Used to Be Bullied for Having Autism: Here's When It Stopped
Obtain a first-hand account of a young man on the autism spectrum who was bullied as he grew up. Magro will share the difficulties of having autism and not being able to express and defend himself. Learn about the causes and effects of bullying on our community and in our schools, as well as which behaviors are considered bullying, including in cyberspace. Self-advocates, families, and professionals, obtain a seven-step plan for taking a stand against bullying.

KerryMagrowebKerry Magro, is an award-winning disability advocate, best-selling author of two books (Defining Autism From The Heart, Autism and Falling in Love); movie consultant, non-profit founder that has given more than 30 college scholarships to students with autism, and is a full-time employee at Autism Speaks. Magro was completely non-verbal until the age of 2 and was diagnosed with autism at 4 years old. He travels around the country as a motivational speaker and disability advocate. In the past six years, Magro has spoken at more than 600 events about his journey on the autism spectrum.

9-10 p.m. Kerry Magro Book Signing

Friday, April 28, 2017

7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Registration, AuSM Bookstore, Exhibits Open

8:30-10:30 a.m. Keynote Presentation Sponsored by Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes

Chris Ulmer
Unlocking Student Potential Through Empowerment
Learn to embrace each day in your classroom with fresh enthusiasm and a dedication to making it a great day for each student. Meet students where they are, empowering them and motivating them by acknowledging what makes them unique and appreciated. Ulmer will invite several local teachers to share how they make their learning environments positive and supportive.

ChrisUlmerwebChris Ulmer began his career as a special education teacher in Jacksonville, Fla. After spending three years with the same students, he observed a disconnect between his pupils and society. For this reason, Ulmer started Special Books by Special Kids (SBSK), a multi-media non-profit that is spearheading a worldwide acceptance movement. Chris dedicates his time to traveling around the world and teaching others about neurodiversity, performing speaking engagements, and interviewing neurodiverse individuals for feature on SBSK.

10:30 a.m. Break – AuSM Bookstore, Exhibits Open; Chris Ulmer Meet and Greet

11 a.m.-12 p.m. Breakout Sessions I

1. Engaging Students in Their Individuals Education Programs: Allana Walsh, MA; Jessica Metke, MA

2. There’s a Crocodile in the Corner! Tales of Terror and Heroism in the Classroom: Erin Dilley-Jones, MSW, LISW

3. Maximizing the Potential of Shared Book Reading with Young Children with Autism: Maria Lemler Hugh; Andrea Boh, MS, CCC-SLP; Kelsey Young, MA; Veronica Fleury, PhD, BCBA-D

4. Building Self-Determination: Adults with Autism Mentoring High School Students with Autism: Kelly Kautz, MS, ED; Dianna Michels, MS, ED

12-1 p.m. Lunch Sponsored by Autism Advocacy & Law Center, LLC - AuSM Bookstore and Exhibits Open 

1-2 p.m. Breakout Sessions II 

1. Using ABA to Improve Quality of Life in Home and School Environments: L. Lynn Stansberry-Brusnahan, PhD; Erin Farrell, MA, BCaBA; Hamad Al Arbi

2. Maximizing the Learning Potential: Michael Zaccariello, PhD, LP; Katherine Nickels, MD

3. Supporting the Sexual Health of People with Disabilities in the Classroom: Katie Thune, MA, ED

4. Understanding the Parent Perspective: Theresa Namie, Parent, ANSWER Founder

2 p.m. Break - AuSM Bookstore and Exhibits Open 

2:30-3:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions III 

1. Executive Functioning for Teachers: Amy Carrison, PsyD

2. Success in Life Through Self-Management: Teaching Students to Manage Their Learning and Behavior: Michele Glynn, MA; Kathy Healy, MA

3. A Collaborative Approach to Sensory Integration in Physical Education and Recreation Activities: Sue Tarr, PhD; Marge Shoger, MA; Sheryl Butler, MA, OTR-L

4. Career Planning and Person Centered Practices: Promoting Valued Social Roles: Joe Timmons, MSW

6-10 p.m. Oh, the AuSM Places We'll Go! AuSM Gala Celebration

Join AuSM for an exciting evening bringing the community together for fantastic food, drinks, games, prizes, a silent auction, and a celebration of those serving as true inspirations to individuals affected by autism. Click here for more information.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

7:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Registration, AuSM Bookstore and Exhibits Open 

8:30-9:30 a.m. Breakout Sessions I 

1. Developing Individualized, Thorough, and Effective Transition Plans: Maria McGinley, JD, MST

2. Secure Your Own Mask First: Self-Care, a Necessary Part of Transition: Nina Johnson, BS, ED; Gretchen Peck, BA

3. In-Home Positive Behavior Support: Functional Communication for Children Via Telehealth: Joe Reichle, PhD; Jessica Simacek, PhD; Adele Dimian, MA; Quannah Parker McGowan, PhD; Marianne Elmquist, BA

9:30 a.m. Break - AuSM Bookstore and Exhibits Open 

9:45-10:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions II 

1. Supporting the Sexual Health of Young Adults with ASD: Katie Thune, MA ED

2. Autistic Darwinism: Mitch Potter

3. EIDBI: Navigating Your Minnesota State Health Benefits: Sirad Shirdon, Nicole Berning, Britannia Martinez-Dixon, Linda Monchamp

10:45 a.m. Break - AuSM Bookstore and Exhibits Open 

11 a.m.-12 p.m. Breakout Sessions III 

1. Finding Best Fit Colleges for Students with Autism: Kristin Edwards, MAT

2. Common Mental Health Challenges: Barb Luskin, PhD

3. Future Planning for Special Needs: Understanding Supplemental Needs Trusts: Jason Schellack, Esq.

The 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference is sponsored by Autism Advocacy & Law Center, LLC; Lindamood-Bell Processes; the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities; Minnesota Life College; and St. David's Center for Child & Family Development.

Conference Registration Policy 
Registrations will not be accepted without payment or purchase order. Registration confirmations will be sent via e-mail by April 19, 2017. Please include your e-mail address on the registration form. Refunds less a $10 processing fee will be given for cancellations received in writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. seven business days prior to the conference. Following this date, no refunds will be given. Requests for transfers of registration to another individual will be considered on a case-by-case basis.