History and Mission


A camper and their counselor pose in a golf cart

The mission of the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) is to create connections, empowering everyone in the autism community with the resources needed to live fully.

AuSM seeks to enhance the lives of all who are part of the Minnesota autism community, with a fundamental commitment to advocacy, education, support, collaboration, and community building.

We Seek ToA young man gives two big thumbs up in front of a diorama at a museum

  • Advocate for legislation and policies that lead to improved services, increased opportunities, and greater self-determination for people with autism.
  • Educate and inform individuals, families, professionals, and the broader community about autism and effective strategies for support and inclusion.
  • Support individuals and families through quality programs, counseling services, and resource information.
  • Collaborate with organizations and individuals who share our commitment to enhancing the lives of those affected by autism.
  • Build community and provide a welcoming and accessible environment for autistic people to connect and form their own social bonds.


Minnesota’s First Autism Resource®A family of four poses in front of a Steps for Autism sign with their dog

In 1971, a group of passionate parents founded AuSM to seek greater understanding and better school supports for their children with autism. A half-century later, AuSM continues its mission to improve the lives of people with autism, but with an expanded focus along the entire lifespan, from birth through retirement.

Whether you are the parent of a child with a new diagnosis, an adult with autism who needs guidance, an educator or healthcare professional who supports people with autism, or a company that wants to learn more about the talents of people with autism, AuSM offers the resources you need to help you accomplish your goals.

AuSM is a place where everyone can learn, access services, and develop skills for navigating what can be challenging emotions and complex information. AuSM is a neurodiversity affirming organization. We affirm that the diversity of minds and experiences is a strength of humans rather than a deficit. Services include membership, workshops, the Minnesota autism conference, AuSM Skillshops, individualized consultation, specially tailored summer camps for youth and adults with autism, interest-based social skills classes with community partners, Counseling and Consulting Services, support groups, Autism Direct Support Certification training, sensory-friendly events, advocacy, Information and Resources, and customized autism training.

As the autism diagnosis rate increases, so, too, does the need for programs and services to help people with autism thrive. As the state’s oldest nonprofit autism organization, AuSM relies on the generosity of our community to carry out our important mission. 100% of donated dollars stay local, benefitting Minnesota families and individuals touched by autism.

AuSM members throughout the state of Minnesota and the upper Midwest include a diverse representation of autistic individuals, families, educators, caregivers, and professionals who support individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Click here for membership information.

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