Find AuSM on Facebook  twitterbird YouTubeSubscribe to our RSS feed 

  • Home
  • Classes
  • AuSM Skillshops

AuSM Skillshops

17 18CatalogCoverNewBased on topics suggested by the Minnesota autism community, AuSM Skillshops are mini-workshops designed for individuals with autism and their parents, family members, caregivers, and support staff. AuSM Skillshops are also a valuable professional development resource for educators and therapists who work with individuals affected by autism.

Adults with autism are invited to participate in all AuSM Skillshops. Those AuSM Skillshops listed with green headings below have been tailored especially for adults with autism, but also are open to all who are interested.

AuSM Skillshops will be held at the AuSM office in St. Paul and also at partnering locations throughout the Twin Cities.

Click here to view the 2017-2018 AuSM Skillshops flyer.

AuSM 2380 Wycliff St. #102, St. Paul, MN 55114
Academy of Whole Learning 3500 Williston Rd., Minnetonka, MN  55345 (UPDATED)
Lionsgate Academy Minnetonka 5605 Green Cir. Dr., Minnetonka, MN 55343
Lionsgate Academy North St. Paul 2342 Helen St. N., North St. Paul, MN 55109
Minnesota Life College 7501 Logan Ave. S. #2a, Richfield, MN 55423
St. David's Center 3395 Plymouth Rd., Minnetonka, MN 55305
University of St. Thomas 1000 LaSalle Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403, Opus Hall, Room 450

Cost Per AuSM Skillshop/Per Person

AuSM Member: $25
Non-Member: $40
Individual with ASD/Current Student: $10

Click here for Scholarships & Waiver information.

January 23, 2018
Beyond the Crystal Ball: Planning for the Future

Online registration for this AuSM Skillshop is closed. To register by phone, please contact AuSM's education department at 651.647.1083 ext. 22.

Presenter: Allycia Wolff
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018 from 7-9 p.m.
Location: Autism Society of Minnesota

Planning is key to a secure, happy, and healthy future. Learn about the importance of planning for your loved one with a disability. An attorney who specializes in the disability field also will discuss estate issues that families need to consider.

Allycia Wolff is a Planning Services Specialist for The Arc Greater Twin Cities. She helps families plan for the future through Person-Centered Planning, Future Life Options, and the Transition Vision Project.

February 13, 2018
Self-Advocacy: Finding Your Voice and Asking for More

Presenter: Jillian Nelson and Panel
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 from 7-9 p.m.
Location: Autism Society of Minnesota

Being a self-advocate goes far beyond one “Day At the Capitol”. Day-to-day self advocacy can change the quality of your life, give you tools to speak up and fulfill your needs, and improve relationships. Learn tips on how to self-advocate at home, work, and other places in your life.

An AuSM employee, Jillian Nelson is a strong advocate for the autism community and wants to close the gap of understanding between individuals with autism and neurotypical individuals. Nelson has worked in education, employment, and advocacy.


February 20, 2018
Taking Care of Yourself Inside and Out: Mind-Body Tools for Life

Presenter: Chrissy Mignogna (updated from AuSM catalog)
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 from 7-9 p.m.
Location: University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis Campus, Opus Hall Room 201/202

Our busy, stressful lives contribute to poor sleep, diet, and exercise, which leads to stressed children and adults. Practice and explore breathing techniques, integrative movement, and relaxation strategies that can be put into action immediately. Learn how to give your mind, body, and heart what they need by experiencing practices for soothing and releasing.

Chrissy Mignogna, E-RYT 200 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher), is a member of Yoga Alliance and a Certified Yoga Calm Trainer. As Director of Programming and Development for 1000 Petals LLC, she trains teachers and therapists to use Yoga Calm® and Moving and Learning® curriculums in preschools/daycares; ECSE; elementary, middle schools and hospitals. Mignogna has taught trauma informed yoga at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital on the child and adolescent mental health and dual diagnosis units. She is one of the lead instructors in the research of Yoga Calm and it's impact on patients with anxiety and depression and students receiving Special Education. Mignogna also teaches adult classes and a volunteer Senior Chair yoga class.


March 13, 2018
Fidget Frenzy: Sensory Tool How-To

Presenter: Sara Pahl, MS, BCBA, NCC
Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 from 7-9 p.m.
Location: Autism Society of Minnesota

Individuals with sensory processing disorders are hypersensitive or hyposensitive to different types of stimulation. Learn about the eight senses and which fidgets increase and reduce sensory input. Fidgets will be available to test and to purchase.

An AuSM therapist, Sara Pahl’s professional experience includes working with people with ASD in multiple capacities including mental health counselor, behavior support professional, education specialist, lead therapist, program manager, primary grade teacher, consultant, and director of a teen program. She specializes in working with families and schools struggling with behavioral issues, as well as working with adolescents and young adults with ASD.


March 20, 2018
Guardianship: Do We Need It?

Presenter: Jason Schellack, Esq.
Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 from 7-9 p.m.
Location: Minnesota Life College

At age 18, a child is legally considered an adult. Some youth, however, aren’t yet ready for all of the responsibilities of adulthood. Many children with ASD will continue to need assistance with their IEPs, transition services, making medical decisions, and applying for government benefits. To have legal authority to assist their adult children in these important areas, many parents and caregivers choose to establish legal guardianship. Learn about the legal process for obtaining guardianship and how you can qualify for free legal assistance. Understand the powers and responsibilities guardians have under Minnesota law, and how successor guardians are chosen and appointed.

Jason Schellack is an attorney and the Executive Director of Autism Advocacy & Law Center, LLC, a law firm dedicated to serving individuals with disabilities and their families. Schellack has worked with individuals with autism throughout his career as a camp counselor, personal care attendant, public defender, and legal advocate. He practices primarily in the areas of guardianship, estate planning, family law, and special education law. Schellack also is a qualified neutral under Rule 114, allowing him to serve as a mediator in family law disputes.


May 15, 2018
Managing Screen Addiction and Cyber Safety

Presenter: Sara Pahl, MS, BCBA, NCC
Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 from 7-9 p.m.
Location: Lionsgate, North St. Paul

It is easy to get sucked in and to spend hours playing a game, on social media, or exploring all technology has to offer. While technology and screens can be great tools, sometimes we become too reliant on them. Learn strategies for setting boundaries, time management, and staying safe on the internet.

An AuSM therapist, Sara Pahl’s professional experience includes working with people with ASD in multiple capacities including mental health counselor, behavior support professional, education specialist, lead therapist, program manager, primary grade teacher, consultant, and director of a teen program. She specializes in working with families and schools struggling with behavioral issues, as well as working with adolescents and young adults with ASD.


June 5, 2018
Helping Your Child with ASD Learn to Ride a Bike

Presenter: Alex Uhler
Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 from 7-9 p.m.
Location: Autism Society of Minnesota

Challenges with body awareness, balance and motor control, and hand-eye coordination can make riding a bike difficult. Learn a number of tips for successful bike riding including purchasing equipment, making bike adjustments, breaking down riding into smaller steps, clothing protection, practice makes perfect pedaling, staying positive and patient, and working toward the sense of independence and accomplishment that your child will experience when learning to ride his or her own bike.

Alex Uhler is an outdoor enthusiast with more than 40 years of bicycling experience.

Note: This AuSM Skillshop is limited to nine children, ages 5-12. Support adult and child attend together. Child should bring a bike and helmet.


June 12, 2018
Females on the Spectrum

Presenter: Beth Pitchford, MA and Panel
Date: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 from 7-9 p.m.
Location: Autism Society of Minnesota

Autism presents differently in females than in males, and females are diagnosed at significantly lower rates. Learn about current prevalence and differences in how characteristics manifest, how sociocultural factors play a major role, and why gender expectations can lead to females receiving diagnoses later in life. Learn from a panel of women on the spectrum about how autism influences their lives.

An AuSM therapist, Beth Pitchford values working with adults who want to decode the neurotypical world in order to decrease barriers to community acceptance and to increase feelings of success. She works with adolescents as they navigate the supersocial world of the teenage years. Using cognitive behavioral approaches and her Adlerian training, Pitchford’s goal is to help people better understand not only themselves but also the people in their lives.


October 16, 2018
Special Needs & Special Sibs: A Family AuSM Skillshop

Presenter: Jennifer S. Reinke, PhD, LAMFT, CFLE
Date: Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018 from 7-9 p.m.
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.

An AuSM therapist, Dr. Jennifer Reinke is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She is a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, a Certified Family Life Educator, and co-editor of Family Life Education: The Practice of Family Science. Dr. Reinke has worked with those affected by autism for more than 10 years.


Cancellation Policy

Notification of Cancellation: If an AuSM Skillshop is cancelled or postponed, AuSM will attempt to notify you via phone, using the phone number provided with your registration. We also will post notice of cancellations and postponements on www.ausm.org.

Cancellation by Registrant: 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 AuSM Skillshop. 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.

Cancellation by Skillshop Organizer: AuSM reserves the right to cancel a Skillshop due to low registrations or other circumstances that make the Skillshop non-viable. If AuSM cancels an AuSM Skillshop, registrants will be offered a full refund. If the event is postponed, registrants will have the option to either receive a full refund or transfer registration to the same AuSM Skillshop at the new, future date.