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Autism & Employment Forum


Thank you for a successful Autism & Employment Forum

AuSM 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 view Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar's message to Autism & Employment Forum 2013 participants.

Autism & Employment Forum 2013 draws crowds and offers solutions for employers and those with autism

In support of forward-thinking employers and the roughly half a million individuals with autism reaching adulthood in the next decade, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton released an official proclamation making Oct. 24, 2013 Autism and Employment Day in Minnesota.

The morning proclamation was the perfect kick-off for the Autism & Employment Forum. More than 350 employers, human resource managers, individuals with autism, family members and caregivers participated in the Autism Society of Minnesota’s (AuSM) third annual Forum on Thursday, Oct. 24 at Cargill in Hopkins, Minn. 

In keeping with the theme of “Working Locally, Thinking Globally,” speakers included representatives from Cargill Foods Venezuela as well as local companies. Employers discussed how they have successfully employed and retained individuals with autism and individuals with autism shared their personal employment stories with the sold-out main session crowd.

Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson highlighted why work is so central to all of us. “Work has the ability to strengthen our self-confidence and self-worth,” she said. “Meaningful work has so much power to change our lives. Everyone who wants to have that opportunity should have it.”

The Forum began with the sold-out Leadership Summit Luncheon, where top Minnesota corporate leaders, state agencies, advocates and individuals with autism discussed how to raise awareness and create opportunities for individuals with disabilities who want to be employed.

During the main session, Jon Ander Badiola, President of Cargill FoodsVenezuela, spoke about Cargill’s successful “Engranados” training program that aims to develop socio-occupational skills in people with intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities. Program trainers quickly realized that it wasn't only the program participants who were obtaining new skills.

“We were not only preparing participants to be successful, we were also learning about their disabilities and how to interact with them,” Badiola said. “We learned to think big and go beyond what is required.”

Maria Auxiliadora Ramirez, diagnosed with autism in 2011 and a graduate of the Engranados program, joined Badiola and other representatives from Cargill Foods Venezuela for a panel discussion. Ramirez said being employed by Cargill is like being with a big family, and she is grateful to be a productive member of society. 

When asked what advice she has for individuals with disabilities as they go through the job search, Ramirez said: “Believe in yourself and assert yourself, and you will have success and reach your goals.”

Representatives from Beltmann Group Incorporated, a transportation and logistics company headquartered in Roseville, Minn. and Merrick, Inc., a day training and habilitation facility based in Vadnais Heights, discussed how employees with disabilities can change a workplace for the better. 

Jeanne Considine, Vice President of Accounting at Beltmann, noted that when Beltmann hired an individual with autism, Beltmann recognized a need to educate employees on how to effectively work together. Beltmann brought in the Autism Society of Minnesota for training to help employees understand that people with autism see the world differently. This empowered their employee with autism to share his story and better communicate with his co-workers. 

“The training was very positively received by employees. We wish we would have done it sooner,” Considine said. “Since the training our staff is a kinder, more caring and more tolerant group of people.”

Mike Greenbaum, Finance and Development Director at Merrick, Inc., encouraged employers who are interested in hiring individuals with disabilities not to be concerned about what could happen if the employment isn’t successful, but instead to consider the new opportunities. 

“Each individual is unique and presents different capabilities,” Greenbaum said. “The more incorporated individuals can be through natural supports, the more likely success will follow.”

Though Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar was not able to attend the Forum, she sent an inspirational pre-recorded message for participants. She acknowledged the importance of the Forum, noting that coming together to share ideas helps ensure that more and more employers know that those with autism can enhance the workforce.

Klobuchar said, “You are the guardian angels for all of these families and individuals living with autism. They may not all be aware of what you are doing here today, but you are making a difference. You are giving them wings to fly.”

Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben and Commissioner Jesson presented this year’s AuSM Employment Award to Beltmann Group Incorporated and Merrick, Inc. for their achievements in increasing awareness and promoting a diverse, inclusive culture within their companies.

Following the main session, an Information Fair was held for employers and individuals with autism seeking employment. The Fair included training sessions for Interviewing Tips and Strategies, Disclosure, Pros and Cons and the Job Search. Participants also visited with company representatives and state agencies to receive one-to-one job search assistance and practice interviews.

Thank you, 2013 Sponsors!








Beltmann Group Incorporated
MRCI WorkSource


Ameriprise Financial
Autism Works
Best Buy
Merrick, Inc.
Minnesota Department of Human Services (MDH)
Minnesota Department of Transportation
Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
Minnesota Life College
Minnesota State Council on Disability (MSCOD)
Opportunity Partners
TSE Inc.


Allegra Downtown St. Paul

For more information about AuSM’s employment programs, click here



AuSM Skillshops available in-person and as live-stream in 2019-2020 season

computerscreenclipartAuSM is pleased to announce that six 2019-2020 AuSM Skillshops will be available through a live-stream Internet broadcast, thus making content accessible to a more broad-based audience. Participants may purchase an individual session or all Internet streaming sessions that cover a wide variety of topics including: Oct. 1, 2019: Guardianship: Do We Need It; Nov. 12, 2019: Let’s Talk About It: Disclosure; Jan. 14, 2020: Alderian Psychology and ASD; Feb. 18, 2020: Preventing & Recovering from Burnout; March 31, 2020: Understanding SPED; May 19, 2020: How To Find the Right Therapist for You. Sessions purchased for live-stream viewing will be available in real time only and will not be accessible after the AuSM Skillshop has taken place. All 12 AuSM Skillshops in the 2019-2020 season also are available for in-person participation. Click here for more information about the complete line-up of AuSM Skillshops and for more information about the new live-stream options.


2019-2020 AuSM Education catalog available online

19 20EduCatalogCvrWEBThe 2019-2020 AuSM Education catalog is available online and the print version will be delivered to mailboxes soon. Learn about and register for AuSM's fall, winter, and spring offerings, including social skills classes for youth and adults, the Life with Autism series, AuSM Skillshops, autism certification, AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services, AuSM events, and more. Register today for educational opportunities that will support community engagement, provide positive support strategies, and enhance your life. Click here to view the online catalog.


AuSM's Guide to Sensory-Friendly Minnesota - Second Edition

2019SFGuideCoverOn the heels of the successful first publication of AuSM’s Guide to Sensory-Friendly Minnesota, AuSM has started work on the second, 2020 edition. The guide, created to be a reference tool for families and individuals with autism and other sensory sensitivities, will include articles about the importance of community inclusion and how sensory-friendly accommodations lead to welcoming environments. It also will contain a calendar guide of sensory-friendly community events and activities offered throughout Minnesota in the coming year.

AuSM currently is accepting event and activity listings for the second edition. If you know of a business or organization that offers sensory-friendly events or activities, please encourage them to complete the 2020 listing form. Click here to access the online listing form. Listing submissions for the 2020 guide are due Nov. 25, 2019. A paper form can be accessed here. Advertising space, which includes enhanced listings, also is available.

The second edition of AuSM's Guide to Sensory-Friendly Minnesota will be available in January 2020.


August advocacy - Affordable Care Act

Last week AuSM invited representatives from the MN Department of Commerce to discuss changes in insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). Click here to view an overview of the presentation. Specific topics included MCHA transition, health reform and insurance fraud/scams. For more information, visit MNSure.com, the website dedicated to Minnesota's implementation of the ACA. Visit this page for updates as more information becomes available, click here to sign up for MN Department of Commerce e-mail updates, or Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., AuSM's Public Policy Committee Chair for assistance.

Visit the links below for additional information and resources:
MCHA Transition
Health Reform
Insurance Fraud/Scams


Drew Larson - A Voice for Minnesota Youth with ASD

DrewLarsonDrew Larson, a senior at Eastview High School in Apple Valley and youth with autism spectrum disorder recently became a representative on the Minnesota Youth Council. He is joined by his mom, Susan Larson, as an adult representative on the council. Ms. Larson is on the Board of Directors for the Autism Society of Minnesota and is with Best Buy’s Employee/Internal Communications team. Drew has been a spokesperson for ASD for the past two years and is more visibly known in the autism community forspeaking at the Autism Awareness Rally at the state capitol. He also has spoken in other venues educating the public about what people with ASD can contribute to their communities, especially in the area of employment. TheMinnesota State Council on Disability was proud to nominate Drew for this council and looks forward to his continued leadership on behalf of youth with ASD as well as for the broader disability community. 

TheMinnesota Youth Council provides youth with a forum to exercise their voice by connecting and mobilizing youth voice and youth action, discussing policy issues, and advising the work of the Minnesota Alliance With Youth and its partners. It provides a forum for youth representatives to strengthen their voice and engage in dialogue with legislators and policy makers at the local and state level.


MDE Prone Restraint Workgroup Begins Work

The Minnesota Department of Education currently is forming its Prone Restraint Stakeholder Group to develop a plan by Feb. 1, 2013 to reduce the use of all restrictive procedures in schools and to “significantly reduce” the use of prone restraint. The Autism Society of Minnesota has been invited to participate in four all-day sessions of this stakeholder group, which is scheduled to begin in September. The Minnesota Department of Education is required to include in their stakeholder group representatives from advocacy organizations, special education directors, intermediate school districts, school boards, day treatment providers, state human services department staff, mental health professionals, and autism experts. To read more about AuSM’s position on prone restraint, click here.

Impact to Individuals/Families with ASD
In a February 2012 report released by The Minnesota Department of Education, children with ASD were represented in 38% of incidents of use, which makes them the second highest population on which prone restraint is used. If used improperly, prone restraint can result in injury and even death.

What You Can Do
If your child has experienced prone restraint use in school, AuSM would like to know more about your child and your family’s experience. Please contact Kim Kang, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., to share your concerns so they can be shared in the MDE Prone Restraint Stakeholder Group.


Minnesota Governor's Taskforce on Prevention of School Bullying Report Released

The Governor's Prevention of School Bullying Task Forcereleased its final recommendations on Aug. 1, 2012to the Governor. The 15 member task force began its work in March to study best practices and policies from literature and experts, analyze existing laws and policies, solicit input from the public and experts, define bullying/harassment/intimidation, and provide recommendations for policy initiatives to the Governor based upon its findings. Some key highlights of the report:

  • Repeal of existing Minnesota laws and replacing them with stronger, more effective laws.
  • Swift enactment of the recommendations to establish a more effective set of laws and policies.
  • Definitions of "bullying" and "harassment" would include protected classes, such as children with disabilities.
  • For students with IEPs or 504 plans that are victims, witnesses of bullying, or the bully themselves, it recommends that the IEP/504 plan include accommodations, goals, and other measures to address the bullying.
  • Discouraging of inappropriate referrals to special education to address bullying.
  • Cyber-bullying that includes those electronic forms not related to a school or school district, but would still interfere with a student's participation in a safe, supportive educational environment.
  • Creation of a School Climate Center within the Minnesota Department of Education to provide information and technical support to school districts.

Overall, the report is very comprehensive and provides a strong foundation for stronger policies and laws to address bullying in our schools. For more information on AuSM’s position on addressing bullying and harassment in schools,click here.

Impact to Individuals/Families with ASD
Children with ASD are at a higher risk due to social skills and communication challenges. One study found that adolescents with ASD were four times more likely to be bullied than their peers without disabilities; up to 75% of children with Asperger’s Syndrome were bullied in this same study.

What You Can Do
Contact the Governor’s Office to let them know that you support the recommendations in this report andencourage them to move swiftly to implement the recommendations.Contact Hue Nguyen, Senior Policy Advisor for Education, The Office of Governor Dayton, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or 651.201.3426.


MDE Releases Report on Prone Restraint Use 

February 2012

On February 1, 2012, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released its report, "The Use of Prone Restraint in Minnesota Schools: August 2011 through January 2012." This report was required as part of 2011 state legislation to allow the continued use of prone restraint for emergency use only in schools until August 2012. The MDE report revealed that school districts had 592 incidents of prone use with roughly 77% of those incidents occuring in intermediate districts. Children with ASD (38%) and emotional behavioral disorder (40%) represented the predominate groups this restraint was used on. There is current legislation (HF 2293 and SF 1917) that will allow prone restraint use for yet another year with specific reporting requirements to the MDE. HF 2293 has an additional requirement for MDE to establish a stakeholder group to develop a plan by February 1, 2013 to reduce the use of all restrictive procedures in schools and to "significantly reduce" prone restraint use. AuSM will continue to monitor this legislation and work to eliminate the use of prone restraint in our schools.


Read Dr. Barbara Luskin’s Perspective

August 2011

Restrictive Procedures in Schools

In 2009 a law was passed in Minnesota regulating how schools use restrictive procedures (seclusion and restraint) on students in special education. The law went into effect on Aug. 1, 2011. On Feb. 1, 2012, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released its report, "The Use of Prone Restraint in Minnesota Schools: August 2011 through January 2012." If your child has an IEP (Individualized Education Program), you will want to learn more about it. Please see AuSM's position on Positive Behavior Supports below. We believe that restrictive procedures should be used as a last resort to protect individuals from immediate danger. There is current legislation that will allow prone restraint use for yet another year. AuSM will continue to monitor this legislation and work to eliminate the use of prone restraint in our schools. Questions? Contact AuSM at 651.647.1083 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Click here to read the NAMI Fact Sheet on this issue.


Autism Spectrum Disorders Task Force

March 2012

During the 2009 legislative session, a bill was passed to convene an Autism Spectrum Disorders Task Force. Task force members included parents, doctors, a special education director, individuals representing advocacy agencies, and four bipartisan bicameral legislators. The original bill included representatives from several Minnesota departments, but including the departments gave the bill a fiscal note, and they were removed during the legislative process. The ASD Task Force convened in October 2009 and ended in June 2011.AuSM's representative, Dawn Steigauf, served as task force chair. The task force was required to submit a report with recommendations to the legislature by January 2012. As they worked, task force members learned that the State of Minnesota, unlike several other states, does not have a State Autism Strategic Plan. The task force was informed that when competing for grants, not having a plan has limited Minnesota's ability to be competitive.

Task force members worked on language for a bill to create a new task force to develop a state strategic plan, and legislative members authored a bill. ASD Task Force members agreed that the departments needed to be a part of developing the strategic plan.

Steigauf and other task force members testified at several hearings during the 2011 legislative season. Task force members worked with the departments and Governor Dayton's office to ensure that the Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Education, and Department of Employment and Economic Development were represented on the new task force. The bill was passed with broad bipartisan support.

The appointment process began in the fall of 2011, and the new task force convened in February 2012. Steigauf was appointed as a "parent representative" by the State Majority Leader. AuSM Board Member and State Representative Nora Slawik was appointed by the House Minority Leader.


On December 30, 2001, Minnesota adopted teacher licensure requirements for teachers serving children with autism spectrum disorder. The licensure requires that: teachers have foundational knowledge about ASD as well as training in referral, assessment, and evaluation and appropriate instructional design. Teachers will also be required to hone their skills in collaboration and communication with parents and other professionals.

The passage of this ASD licensure ends a ten year advocacy effort by the Autism Society of Minnesota to require more training for teachers serving children with ASD. Efforts began in early 2000, when the Minnesota Board of Teaching was approached to explore the need for a license in ASD. As a result of that effort, the Autism Society of Minnesota conducted a survey of 1,200 parents and teachers to determine the feasibility of further advocacy work to get an ASD licensure. Given strong feedback from parents, the Autism Society formally pursued an ASD licensure request with the Board of Teaching in 2005, which lead to the beginning of a comprehensive review of special education licenses in 2008.

While the new licensure requirements don’t go into effect until September 1, 2012 and there will be a transition period for teachers already in the field, it is certain that over 14,000 students with ASD will begin to see the benefits of having trained teachers who understand the unique complexities of ASD.


AuSM Swing Fling 2018 at Landmark Center canceled

SwingFling2018WEBThe AuSM Swing Fling scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018 at the Landmark Center has been canceled. Thank you to sponsors and partners who supported the creation of and planning for this event. We look forward to announcing our next fundraiser to support AuSM's programs and services for the local autism community.


2018-2019 AuSM Education Catalog available soon

18 19EduCatalogCvrWEBA valuable tool for the Minnesota autism community to use throughout the fall, winter, and spring seasons, the 2018-2019 AuSM Education Catalog will be available in print soon. The catalog contains information on AuSM’s program offerings including special interest-focused social skills classes that engage youth and adults to interact socially while raising self-awareness and self-esteem; AuSM Skillshops that focus on positive strategies and problem-solving; specialized training tailored for organizations and businesses, including the Life with Autism series and the Autism Direct Support Certification program; and Uniting the Community events and activities. If you'd like to receive a copy of the printed catalog, please call 651.647.1083 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Click here to view and/or print a pdf of the catalog.


Free understanding autism classes available in 2018-2019

fathersonWEBThanks to the Hennepin County Autism Grant, AuSM will be offering its Understanding Autism and Best Strategic Practices class free of charge at AuSM's office in St. Paul. Learn common characteristics of individuals with autism and sensory processing disorders. Obtain valuable insight on evidenced-based best practices to support people with autism and sensory processing sensitivities. Caregivers, parents, grandparents, group home and day program staff, Personal Care Attendants, and health care staff will benefit from this single-session class. Select the session that best fits your schedule. Though the classes are free, registration is required. For more information and to register, click here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 from 6-8 p.m.
Saturday, May 25, 2019 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.


AuSM Golf Classic 2018: beautiful day for autism community

GolfGroup2018WEBThe 2018 AuSM Golf Classic took place yesterday at Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo. Celebrating the event's first time back in Minnesota in years, 116 golfers converged in the sunshine on the brand new course; enjoyed lunch sponsored by Chipotle and dinner sponsored by Fox Sports North; participated in games including closest to the pin, the pink ball challenge, silent auction, and a raffle; had fun with cigars rolled by Cigars International and specialty cocktails from Crooked Water Spirits; and generously gave to support programs and services for our local autism community. Special thanks to Clubhouse Sponsor, Built on Bravery, and Eagle Sponsors: Allegra Downtown St. Paul, Family Innovations, Ken Peterson and The Ponds Golf Course, and McNellis and Asato, Ltd. Thanks also to our Golf Cart Sponsors, Merrill Lynch Lafferty & Associates and the Minnesota Autism Center; Driving Range Sponsor, Actuarial Advisors, Inc.; and our many Hole Sponsors and silent auction donors. AuSM is grateful to Royal Golf Club, our golf planning committee, and the many volunteers who helped make this event a success.


Kick off your MEA weekend with an AuSM workshop

AdultGroupWEBAuSM invites you to 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 "People First! Planning From the Perspective of the Person with Autism", educators, caregivers, parents, service providers, and individuals with autism will learn what it means to put an individual on the spectrum’s own perspective first. Obtain in-the-moment practices that will help you understand the behaviors of individuals on the spectrum. Explore the concepts of executive functioning, sensory challenges, and other underlying reasons for seemingly confusing behaviors. Space is limited. Click here for more information and to register today.


2017-2018 AuSM Education Catalog packed with awesome programs

17 18CatalogCoverNewThe 2017-2018 AuSM Education Catalog is being printed by AuSM partner, Allegra Downtown St. Paul, and will arrive in mailboxes soon. Registration for all fall, winter, and spring programming is open.

AuSM’s education offerings include special interest-focused social skills classes that engage youth and adults to interact socially while raising self-awareness and self-esteem; AuSM Skillshops that focus on positive strategies and problemsolving; and specialized training tailored for organizations and businesses, including the Life with Autism series and the Autism Direct Support Certification program. Understanding the increasing need for opportunities for adults with autism, AuSM developed programs, classes, and adventures to fit the needs of people ages 18+.

All of these great programs and more are outlined in the catalog. Click here to view a pdf of the complete catalog. We look forward to seeing you for a class, activity, event, or program soon!


Great Lakes Aquarium hosts Sept. 26 autism training for educators

GLAscreenshotlogoOn Tuesday, Sept. 26 from 4:30-7 p.m., the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth will partner with AuSM to offer "Supporting Students with Autism", a training for educators to learn more about serving students with autism. By learning more about the neurodiversity of individuals with autism, educators can take proactive steps towards support, acceptance, and inclusion. After AuSM's presentation of Autism 101 and Best Practices, participants will head out onto the aquarium’s exhibit floor to focus on applying positive behavior support in a field trip setting.The evening will include a light dinner at 4:15 p.m., and participants will receive 2.5 CEUs. The training event is free, but advanced registration is required. Click here for more information and to register.


AuSM Open House and bittersweet goodbye to Jonah

Staff1WEBThe Autism Society of Minnesota opened its doors last night to welcome our community with appetizers, desserts, beverages, and tours of AuSM's newly remodeled spaces. AuSM board members, the AuSM staff, and many friends and supporters of AuSM filed through the front doors on Wycliff Street to enjoy the festive atmosphere and to connect in person.

The evening was bittersweet as the celebration also included a farewell to Jonah Weinberg, AuSM's former executive director, who will be moving to California this month to be closer to his family. In his four years at AuSM, Weinberg helped grow the organization and touched many lives within the community, building relationships and advancing messages of autism awareness and inclusion.

Thank you for participating in AuSM's open house. We look forward to continued growth and service to this amazing Minnesota autism community.


AuSM Golf Classic a fun day on the greens in support of AuSM

CorriganCharlieweb2017The sun shone brightly as more than 100 golfers tested their skill and luck on a scramble round during the AuSM Golf Classic 2017 at Troy Burne Golf Club on Aug. 7. Golfers enjoyed a Chipotle catered lunch, silent auction, and many fun games throughout the course. Special thanks to our many donors and sponsors including Eagle Sponsors: Allegra Downtown St. Paul; Mike and Pat Esterly with Edina Realty; Family Innovations, Inc.; and McNellis & Asato, Ltd.; volunteers; and awesome golfers. It was a beautiful day in support of programs and services for our local autism community.


AuSM's website goes mobile-friendly

New Website LaunchThank you for bearing with us as we work out the kinks of organizing and unveiling the new AuSM website. Our goal is to bring you the content you need at the touch of your fingers, whether they're typing on a computer keyboard, wrapped around your smart phone, or busy with a tablet. The site is still under construction as we add photos, more content, and additional programs and services, but we're very excited to share what we have so far. Please visit this site often, enjoy the updates, and find many resources, services, and programs that will enhance your life.


Navigating Mental Health, School, and Social Safety

kidorangebackpackAuSM and the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota (EFMN) are partnering to offer a free workshop and resources for parents and caregivers of children with special needs. "Navigating Mental Health, School, and Social Safety" will be presented on Nov. 12 from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Wilder Center in St. Paul. EFMN's presenters, Michael Zaccariello, PhD, LP and Katherine Nickels, MD, will speak about "Maximizing the Learning Potential". Participants will learn about specific learning disorders and how epilepsy and medications affect learning. AuSM presenter, Sara Pahl, MS, BCBA, NCC, will present "Social Safety: Strategies for Navigating Online and Offline", which will include a discussion about navigating the hidden curriculum, bullying, and online safety. The free half-day workshop includes lunch. Registration is required and space is limited. Click here for more information. Click here to register.


AuSM's 2015 summer camps - it's an AuSM wrap!

ausm camp logo WEBFor nearly four decades, AuSM's summer camps have offered excitement and adventure to individuals with autism. The 2015 summer camp season has come to a close, but the memories made will carry on for years to come. We are pleased to share this AuSM summer camp recap. (Don't miss the clips music video at the end of the article!)

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AuSM to launch blog; writers with autism welcome

BloglogowebAuSM is getting ready to launch a blog, and we are interested in receiving stories and submissions from individuals with autism. Do you have a story to tell about your life with autism, opinions about neurodiversity, or thoughts about current events in the autism world? Please get in touch with us! All ages and abilities are welcome to submit blog stories and information. We also are glad to help in the creation of a piece as needed. Regular contributors welcome! Please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.


Night of music and entertainment builds awareness

IMG 0314webAuSM thanks Chirch & The Dirty Thought, Miss Shannan Paul, and all other organizers and volunteers who helped with a Night of Autism Awareness at Famous Dave's in Minneapolis last night. The event featured music from Lawrence Miles & Courtland Pickens, Chirch & The Dirty Thought, plus surprise guest Kyle Rooker, the star of AuSM's inaugural gala! Proceeds will benefit AuSM's programs and services.


Sunny day for the AuSM Golf Classic at Troy Burne

IMAG0033webThank you to our sponsors, volunteers, and participants in yesterday's AuSM Golf Classic at Troy Burne in Hudson, Wis. It was a beautiful day for a round of golf, even if the golf balls strayed from the greens (AuSM sold a record number of mulligans!). Lunch from Chipotle was enjoyed by all, as was the dinner sponsored by Fox Sports Net. All dollars raised will support programs and services for the Minnesota autism community. 


Education catalog available

educatalog15 16CvrFor 45 years, AuSM has supported individuals with autism, families, caregivers, educators, employers, tehrapists, and other community professionals by offering a welcoming place to learn, access services, receive training, and develop skills for navigating emotions, information, and life.

The 2015-2016 AuSM Education Catalog includes information about special interest-focused social skills classes that engage youth and adults; AuSM Skillshops that focus on discussion and problem-solving; and specialized training tailored for organizations and businesses, including the Life with Autism Series and AuSM Autism Direct Support Certification.

Explore the catalog to find AuSM programs and services that suit your needs and enhance your life.


Autism resources on school and more from ASA

The Autism Society of America (ASA) has a special page on their website dedicated to providing easy-to-understand, practical information related to autism on a wide range of topics. The resource materials include tips on transitioning through the school years. Some good reading as you're preparing for the quickly approaching school year! Click here to access ASA's resource pages.


Thank you, Dojo Karate!

DojoKarate15Despite a short rain delay, the 3rd Annual Dojo Karate Charity Golf Tournament held yesterday at Riverwood National Golf Course in Ostego, Minn. was a huge success. The tournament raised more than $9,000 for AuSM programs and services. Thank you to Dojo Karate organizers, volunteers and participants for a great day on the greens in support of the Minnesota autism community!


Lube Tech's Ride for Hope a huge success

RideforHopeImage2014A HUGE thank you to Ride for Hope organizers, volunteers and participants who raised $8015 for AuSM this year! A total of 81 participants in 57 motorcycles and two vehicles drove 112 miles during the 2014 Ride for Hope. It was a fabulous day, and AuSM is grateful for your support of the Minnesota autism community!


Learn how to tell your story

childhoodA story can be a powerful way to effect change, but in our fast-paced, wired society, it can be difficult to make your story stand out. Join AuSM on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at Oak Grove Middle School in Bloomington for a fun, interactive workshop where you will learn effective communication strategies and ways to make your own story compelling enough that policymakers and professionals will listen. Click here for more information and to register.


Share your thoughts on transition services

adolescenseJoin AuSM for one of several community dialogs about improving transition services, employment, and post-secondary education opportunities for students with all disabilities. These community dialogs, organized by AuSM, are provided through a Community Innovation Grant from the Bush Foundation. Fall dates include locations in St. Cloud, Bemidji, Minneapolis, Cloquet, Marshall, Rochester and Brainerd. Click here for more information and to register.


AuSM/MN Zoo Crew featured in Pioneer Press

pioneerpresszoo14Pioneer Press reporter Christopher Magan visited AuSM's Zoo Crew summer social skills class at the Minnesota Zoo last week. Click here to read the article about the camp participants' exciting wolverine project.


AuSM's emergency app honored by Center for Digital Government

Innovative mobile phone app provides critical assistance to people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in emergency situations


The Center for Digital Government announced today that it is honoring the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (DDC) for its development of the Autism Help App for Emergencies. The Digital Government Achievement Award is in the Government-to-Citizen category.

The award recognizes DDC’s partnership with the Autism Society of Minnesota in creating a mobile device application that helps people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) to communicate in emergency situations. Innovatively using a proven 5-point, color-coded scale, it can be customized to the specific situation of an individual or family – a key concern given the wide range of ASD needs. The 5-Point Scale was created by Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Beth Curtis of Hamline University, which is a nationally known and accepted system, widely used in public schools.

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Campers have unforgettable experiences during 2012 AuSM Camps

TubingThe 2012 AuSM Camps were a huge success this summer. 265 camping slots we filled with excited campers who enjoyed activities at Camp Discovery, Camp Hand in Hand, and Camp Wahode.

 At Camp Discovery campers had a great time swimming, cooking, horseback riding, making new friends and reconnecting with friends from previous years. New to Camp Discovery was a group that created a fantastic newsletter and an extended game time. The mentor panel and discussion groups facilitated positive communication among the campers.

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AuSM’s Golf Benefit 2012

Thank you, 17th annual AuSM Golf Benefit participants! We are pleased to report that the August 6th event SOLD OUT!
Unlike last year's rain out, we enjoyed the best summer had to offer in Minnesota. But that wasn't the best part. YOU made the day awesome - our supporters who gave generously to help raise awareness about autism and our mission to enhance the lives of individuals affected by autism. Your generosity came in the form of your presence, your time, your monetary donations and your enthusiasm. For all of these things, we are grateful.


In conjunction with the golf event, we launched our inaugural "Send a Child to Camp" fundraiser to help us raise money for our unique camp programs. All of our camp settings are tailored to meet the needs of children who have autism. Many of you participated in this new fundraiser and helped us raise more than $2,200 to address the increasing demand to expand camp programs. On behalf of all of the children who will benefit through an exciting summer camp experience, thank you!

There still is time to contribute to this important "Send a Child to Camp" fundraiser. If you're interested in donating or in asking others to donate, checks can be sent to AuSM with "Send a Child to Camp" indicated in the memo line. Or, donate by credit card through AuSM's page on www.GiveMN.org.

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Shop Amazon through AuSM

If you enjoy shopping from the comfort of your home or office with the ease of the click of a button, you've probably visited Amazon.com. Ausm recently signed on to become an Amazon affiliate, a relationship that will allow AuSM a percentage of each sale made through www.ausm.org.

In the lower right corner of AuSM's home page, there is an Amazon search box. If you enter Amazon's site through this box and make a purchase, AuSM will automatically receive a percentage of your purchase total. It's an easy way to support AuSM's services and programs - you don't even have to remember a code! If you're doing some shopping at Amazon.com, stop by www.ausm.org first.

Spread the word to your friends, family and colleages about this simple way to support the autism community.


AuSM partners with Bethel University to help students

bethelcompasswebAuSM and LDA Minnesota are working with Natalie Beazer, Director of Disability Services, and Bethel staff on Bethel University's Compass Transitions Program, created to provide a supportive network of peer mentors for incoming students who have a diagnosis related to anxiety disorders including ASD, ADD and ADHD. Click here for more information.



Great night for baseball

twins2013webThank you to the Minnesota Twins for providing AuSM members with tickets to the Aug. 28 game. It was a gorgeous night for baseball and the perfect opportunity to celebrate our incredible AuSM members and supporters!

AuSM will be at the Sept. 14 Twins game selling raffle tickets for the Split the Pot raffle. The winner will receive half of the ticket sales and AuSM's mission will be forwarded with the other half. Planning to attend the game? Be sure to stop by, say hello and purchase a chance to win!


August advocacy meeting update: Affordable Care Act

Last week AuSM invited representatives from the MN Department of Commerce to discuss changes in insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). Click here to view an overview of the presentation. Specific topics included MCHA transition, health reform and insurance fraud/scams. For more information, visit MNSure.com, the website dedicated to Minnesota's implementation of the ACA. Visit the AuSM advocacy page for updates as more information becomes available, click here to sign up for MN Department of Commerce e-mail updates, or Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., AuSM's Public Policy Committee Chair for assistance. Click here for more information.


Construction near AuSM Office

Beginning Aug. 8, 2013, Raymond Ave. will be under construction. This will affect traffic flow and bus routes near the AuSM office. This construction is expected to be completed in November. We encourage you to plan your travel accordingly.

For a map of the construction, please click here. For Metro Transit detour information, please click here.


Players take on the greens at the AuSM Golf Classic today

golf1webThe threat of rain wasn't enough to wash away the smiles of those participating in the AuSM Golf Classic at Troy Burne Golf Club in Hudson, Wis. today. During the sold out event, players picked up their clubs and practiced their best swings in support of individuals with autism in Minnesota.