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  • AuSM Mission

    Established in 1971, the Autism Society of Minnesota is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to education, advocacy and support designed to enhance the lives of those affected by autism from birth through retirement.
  • People First! Planning from the Perspective of the Person with Autism

    Kick off your MEA weekend with an AuSM workshop presented by Glenis Benson, PhD on Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at enVision Hotel in South St. Paul. During this workshop, educators, caregivers, parents, and service providers will learn what it means to put an individual on the spectrum’s own perspective first.

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  • AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services

    The AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services team works in partnership with you to develop a plan based on your needs.

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  • Social Skills Classes

    AuSM social skills classes foster confidence and self-esteem while participants learn how to make friends and have fun.

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  • Training Tailored for Organizations and Businesses

    AuSM provides a variety of continuing education options for parents, caregivers, educators, direct support staff, business professionals, organizations, individuals with autism, and the community. Experienced educators present on topics that align with your interests and serve to enhance your life.

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  • Uniting the Community Events

    In partnership with area businesses and organizations, AuSM is pleased to offer monthly opportunities for families and individuals with autism to come together and enjoy fun activities in supportive, welcoming environments.

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First Responder Emergency Preparedness

inside-the-truck1webWith a steadily increasing diagnosis rate, autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in Minnesota. Because of this high prevalence, it is likely you will encounter someone affected by autism in your work as a first responder, in the criminal justice system, in public safety and security, as part of the medical community, and beyond.

This page includes resources to assist your encounters with individuals with autism.

AuSM offers customized, scenario-focused training that includes understanding, planning and teaching steps to effectively handle emergency situations. The class includes two hours of engaging instruction, plus information about emergency preparedness resources available to those in Minnesota. We encourage local emergency responders and staff to seek training to ensure positive outcomes in emergency situations involving individuals with autism and many other similar special needs. 

Topics Covered: A general introduction to autism; characteristics of autism as manifested in children, teenagers and adults; how to interpret the behavior of those on the spectrum; anticipated behavior of those with autism in emergency situations; suggested strategies for the communication and behavior management of those with autism in possible emergency response situations. 

Who Should Participate: police officers, firemen, EMTs, paramedics, security workers, ER and trauma workers, crisis team members, social workers, correctional officers, school safety officers, students of CLC in relevant areas of study.

Continuing Education: The training is POST qualified, which means that police officers can use the training for continuing education. Proof of attendance can be provided to those who require CEUs in another field. 

To learn more or to set up an AuSM autism training, please contact AuSM's education department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 651.647.1083.

Emergency Preparedness Fact Sheet
A quick and basic guide for families, caregivers, and individuals with autism. Click here to access the document.

5ptscaleAutism 5-Point Scale Emergency App
Get familiar with the Autism 5-Point Scale Emergency App - Autism Help - for children and adults with autism. It may be presented to you when you arrive on the scene. The Autism 5-Point Scale Emergency app is free and downloadable through the iTunes store for iPods and iPads. Click here to download the Autism 5-Point Scale Emergency app from the iTunes store.

The Autism 5-Point Scale Emergency app also is available for Android devices. Click on the following links to access the app for your Android devices.

Google Play for Phone and Tablet
Amazon App Store for Kindle Fire and Fire Phone

Six Actions to Prepare
Six basic steps that an emergency responder can take to prepare for interacting with individuals on the spectrum. Click here to access the document.

Autism Society of America
Access ASA's information sheet for law enforcement and other first responders.

Educating about Autism and Emergency Preparedness

MNPolicewebA 19-year-old with autism escapes from an anxiety-filled family situation by running out into a stormy August night. The police get involved, and as the scene unfolds, they discover that emergencies involving individuals with autism require a different kind of care. To read this story published in Minnesota Police Chief Magazine, click here.

Woodbury Police Officer appreciates autism training

woodburybadgeI just wanted to express my appreciation for your agency’s involvement in autism awareness and commitment to public education. I had the opportunity recently to attend a presentation by Paramedic Ernie Roettger on the topic of autism awareness and emergency management. I have had the pleasure of working directly with Ernie and am well aware of his ability focus his presentation to his audience.  Ernie is a dynamic presenter and has an innate ability to bring personal experience to the presentation that solidifies his message. 

I have been approached by numerous officers, some with decades of law enforcement experience, that after having attended the presentation that spoke highly of Ernie’s presentation. In the past, our education on the topic has been limited to video presentations which are dry and do not convey the personal impact that Ernie does.

Please feel free to share WPD’s appreciation for the work Ernie does for HCMC EMS and awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorders.


Scott McCafferty, Police Officer - Paramedic
City of Woodbury Public Safety