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Sensory Santa events in Minnesota make Santa accessible

smilewithSantawebFor many families and individuals, meeting and getting a photo with Santa is on holiday wish lists. However, the long lines, crowds, bright lights, and loud music often found at malls and community events make these sort of encounters stressful, leaving that wish list item unchecked. However, malls and organizations throughout Minnesota are taking notice and an increasing number of locations are offering sensory-friendly Santa events where families and individuals can register in advance to avoid lines, the environment is set up with lower lights and sound, and time is allotted to ensure everyone can have a special Santa moment and photo. 

Click on the following links to learn more about sensory-friendly Santa events near you:

Maplewood Mall - Nov. 26, Dec. 3
Northtown Mall - Dec. 3
Southdale Center - Dec. 3
Grand Arbor, Alexandria - Dec. 3 


Thank you for your generosity on Give to the Max 2017

ThankYouMax2017Due to the generosity of this amazing community, AuSM is pleased to report a record-shattering donation total of $23,543.93 for Give to the Max Day 2017! We are so grateful to all of you who gave to AuSM Nov. 1-16, including our $11,580 matching fund donors: AuSM's Board of Directors; community donors; Associated Bank; the Minnesota Association of Financial Aid Planners; Design Pandemonium; the Outing Chamber of Commerce; and RSP Architects, Ltd. You helped us match every dollar, and 100% of the total donations will stay local to support programs and services for the autism community. 

We also thank our community partners who supported AuSM through special fundraising events: Bruegger's Bagel Bakery, Wabasha Brewing Company, 612Brew, Tin Whiskers Brewing Co., and Wander North Distillery.

If you did not have a chance to donate to AuSM on Give to the Max Day but still would like to, please click here.


Kick up your heels at the AuSM Swing Fling 2017

SwingFling2017WEBYou’re invited to join AuSM and the Minnesota swing dancing community on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at the Landmark Center for a night of music, drinks, food, and fun. Kick up your heels with a dance lesson for dancers of all skill levels to the music of Midwest Sound, and watch a swing dancing demonstration by the University of Minnesota Ballroom Dance Club. Cut a rug to the sounds of Patty and the Buttons live and participate in the Follow the Leader competition, a fun event in which leads and follows are randomly paired for a social dancing extravaganza! Individuals under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. All proceeds support AuSM's programs and services for our local autism community. Click here for more information and to get registered today.


Learn from personal autism experience in December

judyendowPicOn Dec. 7, Judy Endow, MSW, LCSW, will present "Practical Solutions for Autistic Living", a workshop where she will share personal stories highlighting three challenge areas related to her own autism: 1. sensory differences; 2. not always understanding the hidden curriculum in social situations; 3. when others think of her as “less than” because they do not understand autism. Endow is an autism parent, serves the mental health needs of clients with autism, and is on the spectrum herself. Her keen perspective will be relatable and she will offer valuable insight to participants. This workshop will be held at enVision Hotel in South St. Paul. Click here for more information and to register.


Polar bear event for adults with autism at Como Zoo

comopolarbearsWEBAdults with autism, ages 18+, are invited to join us on Dec. 9 from 8:30-10 a.m. at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory for a Polar Bear Enrichment event. Participants will meet a polar bear zookeeper to learn how they train these white giants, prepare and observe polar bear enrichment, and explore the award-winning Polar Bear Odyssey exhibit without the crowds. As a bonus, the Como Zoo polar bears Buzz and Neil are celebrating their 22nd birthdays on Dec. 9! Class participants are able to enjoy the zoo after the class. This class is designed for individuals who do not need direct service professional supports or supervision. The cost is $5 for residents of ramsey and Dakota Counties and $15 for residents of all other counties. The discount fee is made possible for residents of Ramsey and Dakota County though the Dakota and Ramsey County Autism Grant. Space is limited. Click here for more information and to register.


2018 state autism conference keynote speakers announced


The 23rd Annual Minnesota State Autism Conference will take place April 25-28, 2018 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Minneapolis Park Place. This event is designed to bring our community together to learn, network, and gather resources that can make a difference in the lives of those with autism. We are pleased to announce our 2018 keynote speakers for this important event: Wednesday, April 25 from 7-9 p.m., Frank Campagna (Autism Daddy), "Things No One Ever Told Me After My Son Was Diagnosed With Autism". Thursday, April 26, from 8-10 a.m. and continued session during breakouts, Jed Baker, PhD, sponsored by the Rosenberg Center, title to be announced. Thursday, April 26 from 7-9 p.m., Stephen Shore, PhD, sponsored by Minnesota Life College, "Developing an Understanding of the Hidden Curriculum for Learners on the Autism Spectrum: A Lifespan Approach". Friday April 27 from 8-10 a.m., Leah Kuypers sponsored by St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development, "Zones of Regulation". Click here for more details about the conference and the keynote speakers.