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Oct
18

Benson workshop teaches putting individual perspective first

Glenis2017WkshpWEBThank you to the service providers, caregivers, educators, and individuals on the spectrum who attended the "People First! Planning from the Perspective of the Person with Autism" workshop at enVision Hotel today. Glenis Benson, PhD, shared strategies for putting an individual on the spectrum’s own perspective first and explored the concepts of executive functioning, sensory challenges, and other underlying reasons for seemingly confusing behaviors.

Join us for AuSM's upcoming workshops, "Caring for You: Practical Self-Care Tips to Nurture Well-Being" on Nov. 2 and "Practical Solutions for Autistic Living" on Dec. 7. Click on the links for more information and to register today.

Oct
15

October 2013 advocacy update

Town Hall Forum
AuSM cohosted a MN Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) town hall forum in St. Paul on Oct. 10. More than 80 people attended to speak with legislators and representatives about the link between poverty and disability

ASD Advisory Council
The MN Department of Human Services is re-convening the ASD Advisory Council that completed its work in January 2013. The initial meeting will be on Oct. 22 from 3-4:30 p.m. at the E.L. Anderson Building in downtown St. Paul. Guests are welcome to observe, but will not participate. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the new autism intervention benefit that was created during the last legislative session. Jean Bender will represent AuSM at this and future meetings. If you have questions, please contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Arc MN Conference
AuSM Board members Larry Moody and Jean Bender will present a workshop titled, “Autism Spectrum Disorder and Social Skills Development” at The Arc MN conference on Nov. 1-2. For more information about the conference focused on raising expectations and achieving goals and dreams, please click here.  

Oct
31

Polarn O. Pyret Shopping Program for Special Needs Families

PolarnOPyret

November 14 from 9-11 a.m.
Galleria in Edina

AuSM is partnering with Swedish children's wear company, Polarn O. Pyret, during the Galleria's Holiday Open House. On Friday, Nov. 14 from 9-11 a.m., Polarn O. Pyret will launch its private shopping program for families with special needs. The event will include presentations by Donna Erickson; a drawing for Children's Theatre Company tickets to the sensory-friendly performance of "Snowflake"; "Grandparenting a Child with Autism" author Sylvia Grubb; treats and much more. Click here for more information. We hope to see you there!

Oct
06

Twin Cities Film Fest - The Story of Luke

October 20, 2012 at 6 p.m.

The Twin Cities Film Fest (TCFF) is a Minneapolis–based 501(c)3 non–profit year-round arts organization that culminates in a major mainstream film festival in the fall each year at the ShowPlace ICON Theatre located in St. Louis Park, MN.

This year the Twin Cities Film Fest will include a film called "The Story of Luke", which is about a 25 year old Autistic man finding his way in the world. 

The Story of Luke Description
Starring Seth Green and Lou Taylor Pucci: Luke is a 25-year-old autistic man who has lived a sheltered life with his grandparents. But his world is turned upside down when his grandmother dies and he is forced to live with his dysfunctional relatives who have no patience for him or his senile grandfather, who they quickly force into a nursing home. Luke is left with his grandfather's final semi-coherent words: "Get a job. Find a girl. Live your own life. Be a man!" For the first time in his life, Luke has a mission. He is about to embark on a quest. Click here to view the trailer.

Click here for more information.

Oct
28

Couples class offered in early 2017

couplegroupweb"We're In This Together," a class for couples featuring strategies for supporting and celebrating neurodiverse relationships, will be offered at AuSM from 6-8 p.m. on five Mondays, Jan. 9-Feb. 13, 2017. This class will guide neurodiverse couples through understanding autism, family rules, arguing, non-verbal communication, parenting, and executive function in regards to priorities and time awareness. Learn about diagnosis disclosure and who needs to know about autism. Classes will follow curriculum from The Asperger’s Couples Workbook, and will be instructed by Beth Pitchford, MA, an AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services therapist. Click here for more information and to register.

Oct
31

Halloween tips and tricks from the Autism Society of America

puzzlepumpkinHappy Halloween from the Autism Society of Minnesota!

Halloween can be a wonderful and exciting event, but the lack of routine and hidden faces may be among the stressors that make Halloween less fun for our loved ones on the autism spectrum. With the spooky night creeping up on us, the Autism Society of America has compiled a few tips and tricks you can use to help make Halloween fun for the whole family! Click here to read the complete article.

Oct
20

Sold-out Attwood workshop brings learning and laughter

Tonyweb16More than 300 parents, educators, therapists, direct support staff, and other professionals filled the Schulze Grand Atrium on the University of St. Thomas Minneapolis campus Oct. 19 and learned and laughed as Dr. Tony Attwood presented "An Aspie's Guide to Life's Challenges".

We extend a heartfelt thank you to all who participated in this exciting educational opportunity. Special thanks to our sponsors: Hampshire Country School, the Sundance Family Foundation, Minnesota Life College, Autism Advocacy & Law Center, LLC, the Focus In Neurodevelopment - FIND Network, Plymouth Psych Group, and AuSM Board Member Larry Moody.

TonyCrowdweb16AuSM has more exciting workshops coming up in November in December, with locations including Duluth and St. Cloud. Click here for more information.

Oct
18

AuSM offers Beyond Sex Ed class for adolescents with autism

couplesgroupwebIn AuSM’s Beyond Sex Ed course, students with autism ages 13-18 will learn how to manage privacy, boundaries, and infatuations to help them live healthy, create positive relationships, and be safe. Topics will include puberty, private versus public, unwanted affection, intimacy and dating, body boundaries, and consent. Instructors will tackle nuanced and complex issues by building upon more simple, concrete concepts. Classes will run for six Mondays beginning Nov. 7 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at AuSM's office in St. Paul.

Prior to registering their son or daughter for Beyond Sex Ed, parents/caregivers should contact AuSM's education department at 651.647.1083 to learn more about the class and to determine if it is the right fit for their child. If the class is a good fit, AuSM's education department will provide a registration link.

Oct
12

Kindling Workshop for Entrepreneurs Nov. 12

KindlingWkshp2016On Nov. 12 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., join AuSM, Autism Works, and Celebrate Edu for a fun, interactive workshop that introduces the idea of entrepreneurship and teaches the basics of starting a business. During this workshop for individuals with autism ages 18+, meet a local entrepreneur, discover your entrepreneurial traits, and understand the key elements of a business venture. Also work in small groups to design a popcorn business, determining customers, competitors, and competitive advantage. The workshop, held at AuSM in St. Paul, is $15 per participant and includes lunch. Click here for more information and to register today.

Oct
10

Registration open for Minnesota Special Hockey

MNSpecHockey2016Minnesota Special Hockey is an adapted ice hockey program for players of all ages with developmental disabilities. This organization exists to enrich the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities through increasing their personal development and self-confidence on and off the ice by: having fun, learning team work, gaining friendships, and increasing physical activity.

The program for boys and girls of all ages supports more than 180 hockey players on 10 teams across Minnesota (Alexandria, Blaine, Burnsville, Duluth, Edina, Moorhead, New Hope, Plymouth, Rogers, Woodbury). No previous hockey experience required, and Minnesota Special Hockey offers scholarships and can help find donated gear. The season begins Nov. 6 and all practices and games are on Sundays (during the day) through the end of February. Click here for more information and to register.

Oct
26

Sensory friendly "The Jungle Book" Nov. 13

CTCJungleBook2015AuSM is partnering with the Children's Theatre Company (CTC) in their offering of sensory-friendly programming to the Minnesota autism community this season. CTC will offer a sensory friendly performance of The Jungle Book on Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. Join us for this fun evening of following Mowgli, a rambunctious and curious, scrappy, and silly boy who is lost in the Indian jungle. Mowgli is adopted by Baloo the bear, Bagheera the panther, and all the beasts who call the mysterious wilderness home. Click here for more information and to order your tickets today.

Oct
19

Harvest sale brings smiles and dollars for AuSM

JonathanFriendswebAuSM extends a huge thank you to Jonathan, a friend to AuSM, who hosted his 5th Annual Fall Harvest Sale on Oct. 2 in Woodbury, Minn. Jonathan sold pumpkins, cornstalks, indian corn, gourds, and squash, all grown at his grandparents' farm in Wisconsin. He and his friends raised nearly $1,000 in support of AuSM's programs and services for the Minnesota autism community. Thank you so much for your hard work, Jonathan!

Oct
23

Autism in Business offers idea sharing and strategies

Autism-in-Business-v5dThank you to sponsors, resources, speakers, and participants who made Autism in Business 2015 a place for idea sharing, networking, and a discussion of strategies for employing and retaining individuals with autism. Business professionals, state agency representatives, and autism advocates came to TIES in St. Paul with open minds and a desire to learn more about the autism community’s untapped talent pool. Garth Johnson, Meticulon CEO and keynote speaker noted, "Individuals with autism don't need help - they need an opportunity." Click here for more information about AuSM's employment training opportunities.

Oct
12

Pumpkin trolly a smashing success for those with autism

boygirlpaintwebMany families and individuals with autism participated in the Pumpkin Patch Trolley for Families with Autism on Saturday at the Minnesota Streetcar Museum. Held in partnership with our generous sponsor Thrivent Community: West End, the event featured free trolley rides, a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, face painting, and treats for all participants. The event was the perfect way to welcome fall!

Oct
31

AuSM at the Galleria Holiday Open House

PolarnOPyretAuSM is partnering with Swedish children's wear company, Polarn O. Pyret, during the Galleria's Holiday Open House. On Friday, Nov. 14 from 9-11 a.m., Polarn O. Pyret will launch its private shopping program for families with special needs. The event will include presentations by Donna Erickson; a drawing for Children's Theatre Company tickets to the sensory-friendly performance of "Snowflake"; "Grandparenting a Child with Autism" author Sylvia Grubb; treats and much more. Click here for more information. We hope to see you there!

Oct
31

Moving Out! Housing for Young Adults on the Spectrum

MovingOutFrustrated with your current living situation? Wondering about housing options for an adult with ASD? Learn the issues that young adults and their families need to consider when preparing to move into their own homes. The "Moving Out! Housing for Young Adults on the Spectrum" AuSM Skillshop will take place on Nov. 11 at Lionsgate Academy from 7-9 p.m. Click here to learn more and register.

Oct
30

Tips for tomorrow's treats

HalloweenHalloween can be an unpredictable and sometimes scary event for families touched by autism. Click here for tips to make your loved one's trick or treat day more of a treat.

AuSM would love to see Minnesota autism community costumes. If you'd like to share photos of your favorite trick or treater, please e-mail them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your permission to share on AuSM's Facebook page. Happy Halloween!

Oct
30

Duluth Skillshop focuses on emergency preparedness

boywithhatwebAuSM will present an AuSM Skillshop in Duluth: Safety and Emergency Preparedness at Home on Tuesday, Nov. 25 at the Cloquet Central Administration Building. Obtain tools for creating a safe home environment, develop and practice a home emergency plan, and build recognition and rapport with community emergency responders. It’s never too early or too late to enhance the safety of the homes and communities of families and individuals with autism spectrum disorder! Click here for more information and to register.

Oct
24

Learn about the hidden curriculum and executive functioning at Nov. event

iStock 000014432495SmallAuSM, Minnesota Life College and the University of St. Thomas offer Form and Function: The Hidden Curriculum and Executive Functioning, a workshop for parents, educators, and professionals who work with individuals with autism and other learning differences 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 and other learning differences. Learn how these skills impact home, school, and work environments. 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. ASD Criteria Standards C2 and C4 will be addressed. Click here for more information and to register.

Oct
20

Oct. Skillshops postponed

AuSM's October Skillshops, Advocating for Effective Interventions for Your Child and Toilet Training Challenge!, have been postponed. The reschedule of Advocating is to be determined; Toilet Training Challenge will take place on April 7, 2015. Click here for a list of the monthly Skillshop topics and speakers.

Oct
16

Grant brings Monkey Mind Pirates to families with autism

msab logo color smallAuSM has been awarded a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to work with local theatre company Z Puppets Rosenschnoz to bring Monkey Mind Pirates, an arts and mindfulness program, to youth and families living with autism in the Twin Cities, Duluth and Rochester.

The Twin Cities workshop will be scheduled this winter while the Duluth and Rochester locations will be a spring break and a summer camp respectively. More details will be coming soon to the AuSM website.

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Oct
16

Free Monkey Mind Pirates show Oct. 26 at Harriet Island

ZPuppetsGuywebAuSM partner Z Puppets Rosenschnoz invites the MN autism community to a free performance of Monkey Mind Pirates at 3 p.m. on Oct. 26 at the Harriet Island Regional Park indoor pavilion. Z Puppets and AuSM will offer FREE Monkey Mind Pirate workshops to our community in 2015; join the audience for their October show and then plan to participate with us in 2015! Click here for more information about the Oct. 26 performance.

Oct
08

Life with Autism: Newly Diagnosed rescheduled

childhoodFall Sessions 1 and 2 of the Life with Autism Series: Newly Diagnosed are being combined into one 4-class session that will be offered Oct. 18, 25 and Nov. 1 and 8, 2014. Join AuSM for this session that will include topics such as the definition of autism, parent feelings, neurological findings, therapies, communication strategies, teaching daily living skills, challenging behavior, sensory needs, visual supports, using social stories, and services and resources to help you family. Click here for more information and to register today.

Oct
08

20th Annual MN Autism Conference Call for Papers

2015conflogoweb

AuSM is seeking proposals for breakout session presentations during the 20th Annual Minnesota Autism Conference. If you are interested in submitting a presentation proposal, please click here to download the Call for Papers application form. Proposals are due January 15, 2015.

Oct
03

AuSM Resource Directory listing updates needed

We are in the process of updating the AuSM Resource Directory, our compiled list of providers and other businesses and organizations that offer products and services to the Minnesota autism community. If you would like to have your business or organization listed in the AuSM Resource Directory, please click here.

Oct
24

Awesome Heroes: Be Awesome, Be Safe, Be a Hero!

childrensbookAuSM's new emergency preparedness children's book is available. Awesome Heroes: Be Awesome, Be Safe, Be a Hero! is a fun story about how three cool kids—like you!—became heroes. Learn about how they prepare for emergencies, stay calm, and get their very own Hero Awards! This book is a tool for parents, teachers, and first responders to learn about how children with autism handle emergencies. It is also an educational tool to teach children how to be prepared, be safe, and be AWESOME HEROES! Click here to order your copy today!

Oct
31

App Wheel for students with autism

autism-ipad1When looking for apps for students on the autism spectrum (ASD), it is important to look at all educational apps and not just those that are tagged as autism apps. Mark Coppin, MS has developed an Apps Wheel for Students with Autism, a tool designed to help guide you through finding apps based on the unique learning needs of the student. Click here to download a pdf of Coppin's Apps Wheel.

Coppin will present an AuSM Workshop on Dec. 7: iPads, Apps and Autism. Be sure to register today for this information-packed session designed to teach you how to use technology to enhance the lives of those affected by ASD. Click here for more information and to register.

Oct
29

Thank you, Fire Station 1

firefighterwebA special thank you to Fire Station 1 in St. Paul for hosting Autism Safety Day on Oct. 27. Participating families learned what to do in emergency situations and gained valuable tools and resources. A great time was had by all who participated.

Oct
28

It's an AuSM week for a haircut at Kids' Hair

PuzzlePieces3webThis week presents your final chance to purchase a puzzle piece to add to the Kids' Hair wallpaper at a salon near you. When you stop in for a haircut at any metro area Kid's Hair, purchase a $1 puzzle piece. All dollars raised will directly benefit AuSM's programs and services for individuals touched by autism in Minnesota. Click here to find a Kids' Hair salon near you. Kids' Hair is an AuSM Premier Partner.

Oct
25

Thank you, Autism & Employment Forum participants

AElogoweb2013AuSM extends a sincere thank you to all who participated in the Autism & Employment Forum. Sponsors, volunteers, speakers, agencies, employers, HR representatives, families, caregivers, individuals with autism - your presence yesterday proves your commitment to raising awareness of autism and working toward a more diverse, inclusive work culture within Minnesota companies and beyond. A special thank you to Laura Betker, KARE 11 News Meteorologist, for moderating the session and to Cargill for sharing your beautiful facilities with us for this important event. Click here to read a recap of the day's events and to view a photo slide show.

Oct
18

Be AuSM: Donate 88

givemax12ausmAuSM has chosen “Be AuSM: Donate 88” as its Give to the Max Day theme to help recognize autism’s 1 in 88 diagnosis rate. As we draw attention to this statistic, however, our focus remains on individuals who live with autism each day – our amazing loved ones who are far more than just a number. As we count down to Nov. 15, we invite you to share what is special about the AuSM individual in your life: Does she dote over Disney characters? Is he fascinated with frogs? Is she enamored with numbers? Share a story on AuSM's Facebook Page or send a photo to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can post it!

Oct
16

Autism & Employment Forum 2012 a success

AElivephotoMore than 750 employers, families, service providers, and individuals affected by autism gathered at 3M headquarters to raise awareness about employment and ASD on Oct. 9. Employers and those seeking employment were motivated by keynote speakers Dr. Stephen Shore, Author and Professor at Adelphi University, and Randy Lewis, Senior Vice President for Supply Chain and Logistics, Walgreens.

"The speakers were excellent," April Schnell, Specialisterne USA, said. "The presentations added to the sense of momentum on the wonderful work that is going on in your organization and the community."

Sherry Kenny, AuSM's Executive Director/CEO noted, "We believe AuSM has created a state wide movement on the awareness of educating our employers to this untapped talent pool."

"Having so many in attendance again this year is the mark of progress, these results are an indicator that we are enhancing the lives of those affected by ASD, in our quest to improve employment opportunities," Kenny said.

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Oct
12

MDE slashes paperwork for special ed teachers

Today, Governor Dayton congratulated Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and the state Department of Education (MDE) for reducing excessive paperwork on Minnesota’s special education teachers. The reduction will enable educators to spend much less time filling out forms and much more time in the classroom teaching children with special needs. Click here to read more.

Oct
22

The Autism & Employment Forum is this Thursday

AElogoweb2013Autism & Employment Forum walk-in registrations are welcome for the Main Session and for the Information Fair. Click here for more details about and directions to the Forum.

JonahKAREwebJonah Weinberg, AuSM Executive Director, promoted this year's Forum on local networks over the weekend. On Saturday, Weinberg was interviewed by Belinda Jensen on KARE 11, and Sunday he and Lisa Sieben, AuSM Events Coordinator, made appearances on the KSTP Sunday Morning show.

Oct
10

Autism & Employment Forum thank you

AElogoAuSM would like to extend a special thank you to everyone who made the Autism & Employment Forum 2012 a wonderful success: event co-founders, 3M, Best Buy and Cargill; our Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors; the moderators and speakers, including the keynote speakers, Dr. Stephen Shore and Randy Lewis; Lucinda Jesson, MN Department of Human Services Commissioner, the special guest speaker at the Leadership Summit Luncheon; the Dakota County Technical College speakers; the leaders and experts who directed the Lunch with the Experts; the many 3M volunteers who served as guides for all participants; those who helped with the planning and organization to ready the facility; and especially all employers, hiring managers, educators, caregivers, and individuals with ASD who spent the day learning about the gifts and talents individuals with autism bring to the workplace and to our lives. Your presence and dedication helps AuSM realize its mission of enhancing the lives of those affected by ASD through employment opportunities. Thank you.

Oct
20

The Twin Cities are buzzing about the Forum

AElogoweb2013Today is the last day you can register online for the Autism & Employment Forum 2013. Be sure to register so you can hear from Jon Ander Badiola from Cargill Foods Venezuela as well as representatives from businesses and the Minnesota autism community during the Main Session. After today, walk-in registrations are welcome for the Main Session and for the Information Fair. Click here for more information and to register today.

JonahKAREwebJonah Weinberg, AuSM Executive Director, promoted this year's Forum on local networks this weekend. On Saturday, Weinberg was interviewed by Belinda Jensen on KARE 11, and today he and Lisa Sieben, AuSM Events Coordinator, made appearances on the KSTP Sunday Morning show.

Oct
09

AuSM Employment Awards 2012

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2012 AuSM Employment Award: Medtronic, MnDOT and Wells Fargo. We applaud you for your achievements in increasing awareness and promoting a diverse, inclusive culture within your companies.

Oct
14

Kids' Hair raises dollars for autism

kidshairlogowebAuSM Premier Partner Kids' Hair is participating in an AuSM fundraiser throughout the month of October. When you stop in for a haircut at any metro area Kid's Hair, purchase a $1 puzzle piece. All dollars raised will directly benefit AuSM's programs and services for individuals touched by autism in Minnesota. Click here to find a Kids' Hair salon near you.

Oct
09

Laura Betker to MC Forum

LauraBetkerwebAuSM is pleased to announce that Laura Betker, KARE 11 meteorologist, will be the session MC for the Autism & Employment Forum on Oct. 24 at Cargill in Hopkins. Click here for more information and to register for the Forum today.

KARE11Logo

Oct
06

Thanks, Fun & Fitness Academy participants

Thank you to Minneapolis Police, Special Olympics and everyone who participated in Fun & Fitness Academy at the Minneapolis Police Special Operations Center yesterday. Families interacted with Minneapolis police officers while playing sports facilitated by Special Olympics staff. They also accessed resources presented by multiple organizations. TC, the Twins mascot eagerly cheered on the athletes before everyone enjoyed lunch together. It was a great event!

Oct
01

Autism & Employment Forum sessions combine

AElogoweb2013

In an effort to increase networking opportunities and idea sharing, the Autism Society of Minnesota will combine Session I and Session II of the Autism & Employment Forum 2013 on Oct. 24. Employers, HR professionals, individuals with autism and caregivers are invited to participate in this newly combined session from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Cargill in Hopkins. Only one session will be held during the Forum.

During the session, Jon Ander Badiola, President of Cargill Foods – Venezuela will speak about Cargill’s successful “Engranados” training program that helps develop occupational skills in those with intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities.  Local employers and individuals with autism also will speak about their employment journeys.

All Forum participants are encouraged to attend the information fair from 3:45-6:15 p.m. where employers will learn about how to hire and retain individuals with autism. Those with autism seeking employment will gather techniques for resume writing and interviewing. Click here for more information and to register.

Oct
02

MDE Early Learning Scholarships available

autism-boy1The Minnesota Department of Education's Early Learning Scholarships Program now is accepting applications from Minnesota families. The scholarships are designed to increase access to high-quality early childhood programs for children aged 3-5 with the highest needs in order to improve school readiness. Up to $5,000 per scholarship will be awarded. Click here to access the MDE website for additional information and to apply.