Accessing ASD Supports and Services in Minnesota

Accessing ASD Supports and Services in Minnesota

Available to watch at your own pace, in your own space, in your own time at no charge.

Increase your awareness of and access to the range of services and supports available to people with autism in Minnesota. During this session, representatives from the following state agencies will present and answer your questions:

Watch the Session

Click here for a document of quick links mentioned during the session.

Certificate of Attendance


Minnesota Department of Education (MDE)/Metro Educational Service Cooperative Unit (ECSU)
Presenters: Tami Childs (she, her)
Learn about the educational services and supports available to individuals with ASD from birth through 21. Obtain information on how to refer a child for an educational evaluation as well as the differences between a medical diagnosis and educational eligibility. Examples of individualized services and supports will be discussed.

Tami Childs
Tami Childs has worked with Metro ECSU for the past 14 years as a statewide specialist in the area of ASD. She currently is the statewide specialist for both ASD and OHD in Minnesota. Childs is a school psychologist having earned her PhD in Counseling and Educational Psychology. She has worked as an autism spectrum specialist for 20 years including coordinating autism services in Minneapolis Public Schools for 12 years and providing evaluation and training services throughout the state.


Minnesota Department of Health (MDH): Public Health and Disability: Moving Past the Medical Model
Presenter: Elise Holmes, MPP (she/her)

Receive overview of areas and programs at the Minnesota Department of Health that impact autistic individuals and their families. Topics will include the role of the health care system and local public health in identifying autism, obtaining health care for autistic individuals, navigating the health care transition to adulthood, and other intersections of disability and public health.

Elise Holmes, MPP
Elise Holmes is the Policy & Planning Analyst with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Children and Youth with Special Health Needs (CYSHN) section and also serves as the Early Childhood Specialist. She works to improve systems and promote policy development for children and youth with disabilities and their families in Minnesota. In addition to CYSHN policy and programs, Holmes has a depth of experience in impact and program evaluation, global maternal child health, applied economics, and coalition building. She holds a Masters of Public Policy degree from the University of Minnesota, Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois.


Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) Transition Services: VRS Student Career Services and Important Things to Know about Transition
Presenter: Alyssa Klein, MS, CRC (she/her)

VRS is a state agency that partners with all high schools in Minnesota to provide career supports for students with disabilities. Learn about VRS Student Career Services and how to access them. The important steps for preparing for postsecondary education and employment also will be discussed.

Alyssa Klein, MS, CRC
Alyssa Klein has worked for Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) for almost 25 years. She began her tenure as a career guidance (VR) counselor for youth and adults with disabilities. In her current statewide role as Transition and Pre-Employment Transition Specialist, she works on policy, leads interagency initiatives, and provides training and technical assistance to VRS staff and stakeholders related to assisting youth with disabilities to be successful in postsecondary education and employment. Klein’s primary interest is to see that all people with disabilities have the information, opportunities, and supports needed to explore, prepare for and be successful in careers.


Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS): Pathway to Early Intervention Services and Supports
Presenters: Nicole Berning (she/her) and Kim Hicks (she/her)
Review the services and supports available to a child, youth, or young adult following a diagnosis of ASD. Gather practical information and resources while learning about navigating the MN Autism Resource Portal website and demonstrations of new tools that help families, and those that support them, find the right services at the right time.

Nicole Berning
Nicole Berning is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and works with DHS as the Autism Clinical Lead for the Early Intensive Developmental and Behavioral Intervention (EIDBI) benefit. She has a background in providing early intensive behavioral intervention services to children with ASD and related conditions. Berning currently provides consultation and technical assistance training to early intervention providers across Minnesota on EIDBI policies and procedures. She also provides training and support to parents and caregivers of children with ASD and related conditions on the services available and how to access them. Her personal interest in this topic stems from her years of clinical experience working with families that were challenged to access early intervention services.

Kim Hicks
Kim Hicks is the Policy Lead for the Early Intensive Developmental and Behavioral Intervention (EIDBI) benefit at DHS. She has worked in the field of disability services for more than 20 years. Hicks has worked as a direct support professional, autism service provider, special education teacher, advocate, and in state policy. She is part of a diverse family in outstate MN, raising five multiracial children with various needs including autism. Hicks is active in her local community and passionate about providing information so all families can make informed choices meet their children’s unique needs. Her 11 years of knowing how things were supposed to work and then experiencing first-hand how they didn’t after she stared her family, ignited her passion for making change.