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Sep
17

To Graduation, and Beyond!

Planning for Success in Transition and Employment

BSmithMyles2015webThank you to AuSM's partnering organizations, Minnesota Life College and the University of St. Thomas (UST), and to participants who attended the "To Graduation, and Beyond" workshop on Nov. 6 at UST's Minneapolis campus. World-renowned researcher Brenda Smith Myles, PhD., shared a lot of valuable information for parents, caregivers, educators, and individuals with autism and other learning differences during the day-long workshop.

Click here to view the Hidden Curriculum presentation.

Click here to view Dr. Smith Myles's handouts. 

Sep
30

AuSM announces executive director, Ellie Wilson

EllieWilson2017webAuSM is pleased to announce the selection of Ellie Wilson as its new executive director.

“Ellie brings diverse strengths and experiences to AuSM,” said Jean Bender, AuSM’s Board of Directors President. “Her passion for the Minnesota autism community is evidenced by the great work she has done to support those affected by autism, and her drive and dedication will continue to propel AuSM’s programs and services forward.”

No stranger to AuSM and well known in the autism community, Wilson spent two years as AuSM’s Director of Education and Training before becoming an Education Research and Project Training Center Coordinator for the University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration. In addition to having led more than 200 professional development trainings in autism awareness and supportive strategies, Wilson has worked in home, recreational, clinical, and educational settings with children, teens, and adults with autism.

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Sep
15

Twin Cities Autism Foundation offers scholarship opportunities

TwinCitiesAutismFndtnlogoAuSM is pleased to partner with Twin Cities Autism Foundation, Inc., an organization that provides financial aid to help families affected by autism gain access to resources. As part of the partnership, Twin Cities Autism Foundation, Inc. will offer scholarships to families and individuals who apply for financial support for AuSM’s education programming, including social skills classes and AuSM summer camps.

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Sep
13

Vitals App launches with St. Paul Police Department

VITALSbeaconWEBVitals, a new technology service with two apps, is designed to create safer interactions between law enforcement and people with behavioral, mental health, and developmental disorders. A first of its kind, the Vitals first responder app is a non-intrusive, real-time service developed as a way to enhance policing, give families of vulnerable individuals more peace of mind, and improve the quality of life for people living with “invisible” disabilities.

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Sep
13

New free support group for parents and caregivers

therapyfamilyAuSM is hosting a new, free, monthly support group for parents and caregivers of school-aged kids with autism (ages 4-21). This group may be a good fit for you if you are dealing with a new ASD diagnosis or family crisis and want to hear from others who have blazed the trail before you; are navigating recurring or unchartered challenges and would like a safe space to vent and let go of your stress; are looking to develop and build meaningful relationships with other people who "get it”; or, all of the above! Regardless of your reason for wanting to connect with other parents and caregivers, we invite you to attend AuSM’s Caregivers of Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder Support Group. The group will be facilitated by AuSM's Counseling and Consulting Services therapist, Jennifer Reinke, PhD, LAMFT, CFLE. Participation is free, but registration is required. Childcare will not be provided. Click here for more information.

Sep
07

Help Texas autism families recovering from Hurricane Harvey

texasHarvey2017Category 4 Hurricane Harvey blew through Texas last week and dumped more than 50 inches of rain over the span of just a few days. Families are facing severe damage to their homes, and many are displaced in the wake of the catastrophic event. The Autism Society of Minnesota would like to help by sending Visa Gift Cards, small sensory items, and cards or drawings of encouragement to the Autism Society of Texas for distribution to their members. Imagine having to explain the destruction, figuring out replacement of favorite sensory items, finding a place to stay, working through the massive reconstruction process. Minnesotans have generous hearts, and we encourage you to help AuSM provide some love and care from Autism Society of Minnesota families to Autism Society of Texas families. Please bring or mail Visa Gift Cards, small sensory items, and cards of encouragement to AuSM's office, 2380 Wycliff St. #102, St. Paul, MN 55114 by Friday, Sept. 22. We will package all donations and send them to the Autism Society of Texas on Sept. 25. Thank you for your generosity!

Sep
23

2014 Autumn Autism Walk

Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 11 a.m.

OctAutismWalkwebLong Lake Regional Park
Meeting at the Shelter by the Beach

Contact: Rob Skundberg
651.795.1287
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information, click here.

Sep
12

Form and Function: The Hidden Curriculum and Executive Functioning

JonahBensonAmywebNearly 200 educators, parents and professionals participated in the Form and Function workshop presented by AuSM, Minnesota Life College and the University of St. Thomas today at UST's Minneapolis campus. Thank you to all eager participants and to our presenters: Glenis Benson, Kim Busse, Amy Reid, Chrissy Cleveland and L. Lynn Stansberry Brusnahan. Click here for more information on AuSM's workshop that will bring in the new year: Exercise is the Gateway to Fitness, Self-Esteem and Relationships on Jan. 23, 2015.

Sep
04

The Arc Minnesota Statewide Conference

Person-Centered Thinking: Putting You in Charge

November 14, 2014

Shoreview Community Center
4580 Victoria St. N.
Shoreview, MN 55126

Learn more about how you can take charge of your life and your services. For more information, contact The Arc Minnesota at 651.604.8066 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sep
28

Surviving and Thriving with Autism Spectrum Disorders

This event for children with autism and their families will take place at Apple Valley's Galaxie Library on Oct. 6, 2012 from 10:30-11:30 a.m.
 
SurvivalGuideKidswithASDsJoin us as Elizabeth Verdick shares information and strategies from her new book, The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Free Spirit Publishing), written just for kids on the autism spectrum. Not another dusty reference book for adults, Verdick wrote this book to help the kids themselves understand what ASD is and how to thrive at school and in life. This book is close to her heart, as Verdick is a parent to a child with autism and a passionate advocate for kids and parents in the autism community. 
 
Verdick and her coauthor, Elizabeth Reeve, MD, are excited to meet with families (especially kids!) in Apple Valley to talk about ways to improve communication, find answers to the big questions about ASD, and help all families rest assured that children with autism certainly DO succeed in life. 
Sep
29

Adalyn's Clare Release Party

adalynsThe Claddagh Coffee Shop (459 W. 7th St., St. Paul) will be hosting a release party for Kari Dunn Buron's newest children's fiction book, Adalyn's Clare on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 4-7 p.m. at the Claddagh Coffee Shop. At the release party, Dunn Buron will sell and sign books and refreshments will be available to participants.

Sep
26

Jonathan's AuSM Harvest

JonathanPumpkinJoin Jonathan and his grandparents as they sell the fruits of their harvest on Friday, Oct. 3 from 3-6 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 4 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. All money raised will be donated to building AuSM's programs and services. Find them at 3678 Commonwealth Draw, Woodbury, MN 55125. Be sure to tell them you're a friend of AuSM!

Sep
28

Chaska dog biscuit company employs adults with disabilities

AuSM members Angie Gamades and Kyle Gallus create employment opportunities for adults with autism and other learning differences.

FinleysBarkeryTeamwebA new business in Chaska, Minn. hopes to send the unemployment rate for people with disabilities straight to the dogs.

With a model that includes baking, bagging, and distributing all natural dog treats online and at events, Finley’s Barkery helps young adults with autism and other disabilities find employment, grow socially, and use their talents to contribute.

Finley’s Barkery co-founders Angie Gamades and Kyle Gallus created this business model because they believe in investing in human potential. “We want to make the community aware of the incredible capabilities of our employees,” Gamades said.

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Sep
18

Let's Play Unified fun for families, officers

PlayUnified2016photoThank you to the Minneapolis Police Department and Special Olympics Minnesota for a fantastic fall fun day. Let's Play Unified, held at the Police Special Operations Center yesterday, allowed families affected by autism to meet, build relationships with local emergency responders, try a new sport with Special Olympics Minnesota, and access resources from AuSM. 

Visit AuSM's Uniting the Community Events page to find more fun activities to participate in over the coming months, including Skatesville's sensory friendly skating, Second Saturday's at TPT, the AuSM Pumpkin Patch Trolley, and more.

Sep
28

Chris Ulmer to present at state autism conference

ChrisUlmerwebAuSM is pleased to announce Chris Ulmer, special education teacher, motivational speaker, and founder of Special Books by Special Kids, will be the Friday, April 28, 2017 keynote presenter at the 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference. Ulmer completes the event's expert-packed keynote line-up that includes autism community icon Temple Grandin, PhD; Steve Silberman, author of Neurotribes; and Kerry Magro, award-winning disability advocate. Click here for more information and to view conference pricing. Registration will open in early 2017.

Call for Papers
Want to be included as a speaker at this important conference? AuSM is accepting presentation proposals through Nov. 14. Click here for more information.

Sep
01

Pokemon Go: making the community and social interaction accessible

pokemon go logoBattling Blastoise for control. Running to capture Dragonite. Going a distance to evolve a Pidgey. All of these actions are motivation to get off the couch and out of the house.

For some individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the thrill of the Pokemon Go chase and the rewards of character collection and evolution are perfect incentives for getting out of their comfort zone.

Pokemon Go, a virtual reality game that lets players use their smart phones to capture Pokemon and battle for gyms in real world spaces, requires players to leave the house, walk long distances, and explore their communities. The game often puts players in contact with other players searching for the same PokeStops, Pokemon, and Gyms.

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Sep
01

AuSM hires two new therapists

AmyCarrisonwebJenCroppedwebIn order to meet demand for counseling services, AuSM is pleased to announce an expansion of its AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services (ACCS) team.

“Nearly every day we hear from families and individuals who are looking for a mental health professionals who understand autism,” AuSM executive director Jonah Weinberg said. “While there are quite a few providers who are experienced working with younger children, many are at a loss when it comes to working with adolescents and adults.”

The demand for diagnosis, testing, and counseling services has grown significantly in recent years. Weinberg said AuSM is responding to this need by hiring additional mental health providers.

“We’ve recently added two qualified, dedicated therapists who make it possible for us to serve more clients and offer new services, while maintaining the levels of care and compassion for which AuSM therapists have set the standard.”

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Sep
29

What's so special about special education?

MplsPublicSchools15In collaboration with AuSM, Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) will host a presentation on the changing landscape of special education policy in Minnesota from 6-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 6. Jean Bender, AuSM Board Vice President and the Chair of AuSM’s Advocacy Committee, will walk through the changes occurring at the state and federal level. Following that, Sara Stack and Amy Johnson of MPS will explain how those changes impact students at the local level. The presentation will take place at the North Regional Public Library, 1315 Lowry Ave. N., Minneapolis. Click here for more information.

AuSM's role in this meeting is to provide information about current happenings at the federal and state levels regarding special education. AuSM will not be advocating for or against any particular program, but rather will share information relevant for families, students, and educators.

Sep
22

AuSM's fall classes begin soon: Are you registered?

ZooSkillsrainforestwebAuSM social skills classes foster confidence and self-esteem while participants learn how to make friends, fit into a group, take part in conversations, ask appropriate questions, and have fun. Register for these classes that take place in a low-stress, accepting environment.

Como Zoo Skills
Saturdays, began Sept. 26
Creatures of the Night (elementary, ages 8-12)
Exhibit Design (teen, ages 13-18)

Ocean Commotion at the Minnesota Zoo
Sundays, began Oct. 4

Fidgety Fairy Tales: Beauty and the Beast
Theater opportunity with the Minnesota Association for Children's Mental Health
Rehearsals begin Nov. 1
(ages 13-18)

AuSM Aquarium Camp at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, Minn.
Saturdays, began Oct. 3

Sep
21

Your donations to AuSM benefit the local community

biggive2015ASAwebThank you, Minnesota autism community members, for donating in support of AuSM during the Autism Society of America's Big Give for Autism. 

If you did not participate in The Big Give for Autism but would like to donate in support of AuSM's programs and services in our local community, click here.

Sep
22

October AuSM Skillshop focus on executive function

discoveryfamilyThe Oct. 6 AuSM Skillshop, held at Lionsgate Academy in Crystal, Minn. from 7-9 p.m., will focus on executive functions, a variety of “higher-order” mental processes and behaviors that help the brain organize and act on information. These skills enable a person to plan, organize, remember things, prioritize, pay attention, and get started on tasks. In this AuSM Skillshop presented by Mary Beth Kelley, learn strategies and interventions for the different executive functioning areas. The focus will be on students in grades K-12. Kelley, a professional who oversees the Learning Disability Association’s assessment program, has been in the field of special education since 1990, serving in a variety of roles in public schools as well as non-profit settings. Click here for more information and to register.

Sep
14

The Big Give for Autism is Thursday, Sept. 17

biggive2015ASAwebOn Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, AuSM will join the Autism Society of America (ASA) and more than 100 communities across the country for The Big Give for Autism, a 24-hour crowd-funding event celebrating 50 years of ASA.

A portion of donations made by Minnesota donors on The Big Give for Autism day will benefit AuSM. Click here to donate on Sept. 17.

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Sep
11

Autism in Business will feature inclusion strategies

Autism-in-Business-v5dOn Oct. 22, AuSM will bring together Minnesota’s top corporate leaders, business professionals, state agencies, and autism advocates for Autism in Business, a forum focused on providing positive strategies for employing and retaining individuals with autism. Held at TIES in St. Paul, the event aims to help businesses and employers learn more about the autism community’s untapped talent pool. 

clicktoregister

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Sep
03

The Mighty highlights AuSM's Duluth social skills

zoogroupwebAuSM's social skills programming received national attention when a reporter from The Mighty contacted us to learn more about last week's AuSM Zoo Keeper Camp at the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth. This program was partially funded by a grant from the Lone Wolf Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. We are proud of our participants and are thrilled to share this story! Click here to read the story and view photos from the class.

Click here to learn more about registering your son or daughter for AuSM's Social Skills programs for the upcoming school year.

Sep
29

Emergency app for individuals with autism

5pointscaleThe Autism 5-Point Scale Emergency app helps individuals with ASD communicate with family, caregivers, first responders and other personnel in emergency situations. It is free and downloadable through the iTunes store for iPods and iPads and for Android devices from Google Play and Amazon. Click on the following links to add the emergency app to your device of choice.

iTunes Store for iPods and iPads.

Google Play for Phone and Tablet

Amazon App Store for Kindle Fire and Fire Phone

Sep
25

Grant will bring Life with Autism series to Aitkin

MLECgrantSept2014web

A huge thank you to Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative for awarding AuSM a grant to bring the Life with Autism Series to Aitkin and surrounding areas. AuSM looks forward to sharing stories, strategies and resources with this great community. Click here for more information about the Life with Autism series.

Sep
25

It's harvest time!

JonathanPumpkinJoin Jonathan and his grandparents as they sell the fruits of their harvest on Friday, Oct. 3 from 3-6 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 4 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. All money raised will be donated to building AuSM's programs and services. Find them at 3678 Commonwealth Draw, Woodbury, MN 55125. Be sure to tell them you're a friend of AuSM!

Sep
22

Looking for a job

transition“I’m looking for a job. I’ve already applied to a couple of places,” this young man tells me. He is 18 years old and determined. He is very articulate with good social skills. Except for a few social quirks, you wouldn’t be able to tell he has autism.

Click here to read Kim Kang's report from a recent "Let's Talk About Transition" community conversation. These events are funded by a Bush Foundation Community Innovations Grant and will continue on various dates and locations this fall. Click here for more information and to participate.

Sep
19

Minneapolis transition conversation held tomorrow

adolescenseParents of middle school-age and older students, educators, school administrators, higher education professionals, business leaders, organizations, service providers, and students with disabilities are encouraged to participate in the "Let's Talk About Transition" community conversations throughout Minnesota this fall. Share your thoughts on improving transition services, employment, and post-secondary education opportunities for students with all disabilities

In partnership with Upstream Arts and Legal Aid, the next dialog will take place on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at Upstream Arts in Minneapolis. Click here for more information about the Minneapolis event and future conversations and to register.

Sep
17

AuSM presents at MEA workshop on Oct. 16

EducationMNLogoIf you are an educator, plan to participate in AuSM's presentation at the Education Minnesota 2014 Professional Conference Workshop: "Inclusive Strategies for Success with ASD Students" on Thursday, Oct. 16 from 2:50-3:50 p.m. in Ballroom G at the St. Paul River Center. Learn practical ideas for supporting students with autism in general education classrooms. Topics will include defining ASD, social skills and communication supports, ideas for listening to those on the spectrum and making accommodations in the classroom. Resources such as apps, books and visual supports will be included.

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Sep
14

Families enjoy fun and sun

JonahNatewebA special thank you to Minneapolis Police, Special Olympics Minnesota, volunteers and participants at the second annual Fun & Fitness Academy on Sept. 13. The sun was bright and kids participated in bocce ball, basketball and more. Families also collected autism resources and enjoyed lunch together. High five for fun!

Sep
12

Form and Function November workshop

iStock 000014432495SmallAuSM is pleased to partner with Minnesota Life College and the University of St. Thomas to offer Form and Function: The Hidden Curriculum and Executive Functioning, a workshop for parents, educators, and autism professionals on Nov. 14 at UST's Minneapolis campus. Learn about the hidden curriculum and executive functioning skills for young adult and transition-age individuals with mild to moderate autism spectrum disorder. Learn how these skills impact home, school, and work environments. Discussion will include case study examples, missteps, challenges, and how to apply and resolve ongoing challenges. The workshop will be instructed by Dr. Glenis Benson and will feature breakout sessions facilitated by Dr. L. Lynn Stansberry Brusnahan, Chrissy Cleveland and Dawn Brasch. Click here for more information and to register.

Sep
04

FREE Fun & Fitness event

funfit2014webOrganized by Minneapolis Police, Special Olympics Minnesota, and AuSM, the second annual Fun & Fitness Academy event will take place on Sept. 13, 2014 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Minneapolis Police Special Operations Center. Families touched by autism will meet other families, build relationships with local police, play sports facilitated by Special Olympics staff, enjoy a free lunch, and access community autism resources. Registration is required and will be open until Sept. 8. Click here to register.

Sep
08

Visit AuSM on Facebook

LikeimageAuSM has 4,002 Facebook page likes and counting! If you haven't visited, please take a moment and see what we're up to on AuSM's Facebook page - you'll find inspiring stories, AuSM happenings, legislative updates and more. Thank you for supporting AuSM and our social media shares with the Minnesota autism community.

Sep
27

The Journal of Best Practices author highlighted on NBC

David Finch, author of The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husband" will be highlighted on Rock Center with Brian Williams on NBC tonight, Sept. 27, at 9 p.m. Click here for a clip of the story.

Meet David Finch on Oct. 11 at Common Good Books when he reads from his book and signs copies. A portion of the book's sales during the event will benefit AuSM. For more information, click here. Location: Common Good Books, 38 S. Snelling Ave., St. Paul, MN.

Sep
24

Support your child's future

AElogoHelp pave the way for your child’s future employment by encouraging your employer to become educated about autism in the workplace. Your employer’s management and HR department can learn more about the Autism and Employment Forum 2012 by clicking here. We encourage you to send these individuals a personal invitation to learn more about the gifts of autism.

Sep
17

Employers, what contributes to the success of Minnesota's top companies?

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in Minnesota, making it more important now than ever to reach out and work together to foster education, change, acceptance and investment. 

Workers on the spectrum excel in many areas employers desire in their top employees - singular focus, loyalty, high productivity and innovative thinking. With adaptations, you can create an environment that supports all employees while welcoming the gifts of the autism spectrum into your workplace.

Leaders from Best Buy, 3M, Medtronic and Wells Fargo will be highlighted at the Autism & Employment Forum on Oct. 9. Be there to learn how these large companies have reaped the rewards of success through employing individuals with autism.

Click here for more information and to register today.

Sep
30

Thanks to everyone who came out to bounce for autism

skyzonewebThank you to all of the families who joined us at Sky Zone's Oakdale and Plymouth locations yesterday for the Jump for AuSM! fundraiser. A percentage of passes sold will go directly back to AuSM, supporting AuSM's services and programs for individuals touched by autism. 

Sep
29

So My Client Has Autism ... Why Should I Care?

LuskinBookCvrweb"So My Client Has Autism... Why Should I Care?" is a newly published traning manual for those working with someone who has autism. Written by Dr. Barb Luskin, the book is available for individual or bulk purchase directly from AuSM for $17.95 plus tax each. For more information, contact AuSM at 651.647.1083 ext. 10. 

Dr. Luskin is a licensed psychologist who has worked closely with children and adults with ASD for more than 30 years in both professional and home settings. She specializes in providing both assessments and counseling to individuals with ASD and those who support them. Click here for more information.

Sep
25

AuSM ASD Certification Training fall session is full

AuSM ASD CertTraining p10Designed for professionals who work with individuals with autism, AuSM ASD Certification Training is an intensive five-session course that gives participants an in-depth understanding of how to support individuals with autism. The Fall 2013 course is full. Please consider registering for the Spring 2014 course that begins in February 2014. Click here for more information.

AuSM ASD Certification Training also is available for groups of 15 or more at your specified location. Contact Nora Slawik, AuSM Director of Education at 651.647.1083 ext. 20 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sep
17

Thanks volunteers and ticket purchasers

twinslogoA big thank you to everyone who participated in Saturday's Split the Pot raffle at the Minnesota Twins game. Even the rain couldn't dampen the spirits of our AuSM volunteers or the generosity of those who purchased tickets. Thank you for your time and for your support of AuSM.

Sep
05

Thanks to Little Pete's for refreshments

LittlePeteswebThank you to Little Pete's Bakery and Cafe for providing refreshments for last night's AuSM Skillshop participants. Those attending enjoyed croissants, doughnuts and other delicious goodies. Click here to register today to join us for the October Skillshops: Sensory Power: Engage Your Child for Language and Learning and Job Searching Strategies on the Spectrum. Located in Edina, Little Pete's is the official refreshment sponsor of the 2013-2014 AuSM Skillshops.