AuSM Skillshops

Based on topics suggested by the Minnesota autism community, AuSM Skillshops are mini-workshops designed for individuals with autism, parents, caregivers, family members, support staff, educators, therapists, and other professionals.

Upon request, AuSM Skillshop participants may receive a certificate of attendance to submit to licensing boards for Continuing Education Unit (CEU) consideration.

AuSM Members receive a certificate for a FREE AuSM Skillshop and save $10 on each AuSM Skillshop registration.

Cost Per AuSM Skillshop/Per Individual Registration
AuSM Member: $15
Non-Member: $25
Autistic individual or Current Student: $10

Best Care logo purple, pink, orange, yellow gradient colors

2023 AuSM Skillshops are generously sponsored by Best Care, an AuSM Premier Partner.




Mar. 28, 2023
Setting and Keeping Boundaries

Presenter: Sara Lahti (Pronouns: she/her)
Date: Tuesday, Mar. 28 from 7-9 p.m.
Location: Virtual

Boundaries. We have heard of them, but what does it mean to have boundaries? And how do you maintain them successfully? This workshop will cover tips and tricks for creating and keeping solid boundaries. Participants will also learn about social cues related to boundaries, how to respond to a boundary violation, and the role of emotions in boundary-setting.

Sara Lahti, a Mental Health Practitioner and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, graduated with her Master of Arts degree in 2018 and previously earned a BA in psychology through the University of St. Thomas. Lahti has worked with children with ASD as well as with people with ASD and other disabilities in a day program facility.

Lahti has a passion for working with adults on the autism spectrum. She uses Adlerian and person-centered therapeutic techniques to help clients better understand themselves and their strengths. Lahti’s Master’s thesis focused on using Early Recollections with people on the spectrum, which she believes is central to understanding clients’ core beliefs. She works with clients on thought patterns and how they affect daily living and also helps clients develop social interest within themselves and their communities.


Apr. 11, 2023
Autism Acceptance: Being an Ally to the Autism Community

Presenter: Eric Ringgenberg (Pronouns: he/him)
Date: Tuesday, Apr. 11 from 7-9 p.m.
Location: Virtual

Over the last several decades awareness of autism has grown significantly. During this time our understanding of autism and the way we conceptualize it has also changed significantly. In this session we will review topics that help you to better understand what autism is and what it isn’t, and allow you to hear from autistic individuals about what you can do to be an ally for the autism community.

Eric Ringgenberg is the Education Program Director for the Autism Society of Minnesota. He has a Bachelor of Science in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities and a Master of Arts in Special Education- Autism Spectrum Disorders from the University of St. Thomas. Additionally, Eric has extensive experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum in multiple settings and capacities, coordinating implementation of evidence-based practices, and delivering trainings on a variety of topics.


May 9, 2023
Communication Differences and Conflict Resolution

Presenter: Dayna Nelson (Pronouns: she/her)
Date: Tuesday, May 9 from 7-9 p.m.
Location: Virtual

Communication differences exist for everyone, regardless of having a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. For autistics, these communication differences can be challenging to navigate when there are social nuances, lack of directness, confusing body language, and difficulty understanding receptive and/or expressive communication. That can often feel like having one conversation with a person but both parties are talking about two entirely different things. This skill shop discusses differences in communication and the nuances behind them. You will learn proactive strategies for communicating effectively and resolving conflict when there is a disconnect.

Dayna Nelson is the Education Specialist with the Autism Society of Minnesota. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a heavy emphasis of Family Social Sciences from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Dayna is dedicated to community-based outreach and providing evidence-based practices within the community to celebrate neurodiversity. She has several years of experience working with autistic individuals, individuals with motor and physical disabilities, and individuals with severe mental diagnoses. Additionally, Dayna has extensive experience working in education, museum and homeless shelter programming. In this role, Dayna navigates and strives for a deeper understanding in the development of expansive trainings, implementing social skills and collaborating with organizations for sensory friendly and inclusive spaces.


May 23, 2023
Setting Goals for Personal Wellness

Presenter: James Rechs (Pronouns: he/him)
Date: Tuesday, May 23 from 7-9 p.m.
Location: Virtual

This presentation will address health and wellness goals for neurodiverse individuals, their caregivers, and staff and educators. Whether it be a desire to eat more healthily, exercise more, or engage in yoga, meditation or mindfulness, James will help you explore your core motivations and identify how you can channel this motivation into success!

James Rechs, located in Rochester, Minn., provides individual therapy for individuals age 16 and older as well as psychoeducation for parents, families, and caregivers. His top priority is helping clients achieve goals that are most important to them, and helping them develop and maintain lives and relationships that feel safe, meaningful, and satisfying. Rechs enjoys helping clients discover their own strengths, gifts, and talents, rather than changing people just to meet others’ expectations. He has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and an undergraduate degree from Grinnell College in Iowa.