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
AuSM Member with ASD or Current Student: $10
2021-2022 AuSM Skillshops are generously sponsored by Best Care, an AuSM Premier Partner.
Oct. 19, 2021
Cookable Kitchen: FREE Virtual Cooking Class
Presenters: Sam Grover (she/her) and Kat Olson (she/her)
Date: Tuesday, Oct. 19 from 6-7:30 p.m. VIRTUAL
Cookable Kitchen is a new organization whose mission is to empower people of all abilities to cook. Join us for a step-by-step online class where we will make dinner together and socialize. Participants can cook independently or with support as needed. This class will involve using the oven and microwave and handling raw meat. A week before the class, you will receive an e-mail with the recipe for Lemon Pepper Chicken & Carrots with Rice, a list of ingredients and supplies needed, and the Zoom link. Dinner will serve 4 people (or you will have leftovers). Questions regarding this AuSM Skillshop can be sent to email@example.com.
This session will be taught by sisters Sam Grover and Kat Olson. Grover’s background is in agriculture and sustainability education and advocacy. During the day she is an administrative director at the University of Minnesota. Grover founded Cookable Kitchen out of a lifelong passion for cooking and her personal experience supporting Olson in reaching her goals for independent living. Olson is a person with autism and a strong self-advocate. She works as an office support assistant for BWBR Architects and enjoys reading, watching movies, archery, and singing.
This AuSM Skillshop will be offered for FREE and limited to 20 registrants. Participants will need to purchase their own ingredients to complete the recipe.
Oct. 26, 2021
Self-Management and Self-Regulation: The Underpinnings of Emotion Regulation and Executive Function
Presenter: Zephyr James (any pronouns)
Date: Tuesday, Oct. 26 from 7-9 p.m. VIRTUAL
Self-management is the ability to manage our behaviors, thoughts, and emotions in a conscious and productive way. It’s closely related to self-regulation, the ability to recognize and manage your emotions. Together, these two sets of skills form the foundation for both emotion regulation and executive function. Learn what each of these skills covers and how you can use them to your advantage, whether that’s adjusting your behaviors based on context, improving your self-care, or reaching your goals.
Zephyr James is an autistic adult and the Community Engagement Manager at the Autism Society of Minnesota. After graduating with a BA in Philosophy and Religion from St. Olaf College, they struggled through a number of jobs before discovering her autism diagnosis and jumping headfirst into the world of autism. Since then, she has worked at the Autism Society of Minnesota, completed the Partners in Policymaking disability advocacy program, became a Minnesota LEND Fellow, and have given presentations about autism across Minnesota. His areas of interest are executive function, emotion regulation, and sensory needs.
Nov. 9, 2021
Strategies for Successful Employment
Presenters: Becky Waege (she/her) and Ali Brickner (she/her)
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 9 from 7-9 p.m. VIRTUAL
Learn about the realities of employment rates among the autistic community, current research related to employment interventions, and using evidenced-based strategies to increase independence in the workplace. Work-readiness programs can increase skills and confidence, but employer education is necessary for success. Learn how to engage employers and multiple resources for successful employment. Professionals interested in developing vocational programming or anyone interested in strategies to enhance employment outcomes for individuals with autism are encouraged to participate.
Becky Waege has more than 10 years of experience working with individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). She has worked in a group home setting and two Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) clinics in the Twin Cities Metro. Waege currently is the Careers Services Manager for Minnesota Independence College and Community (MICC). She has worked in MICC’s Careers Department for the past five years. She assisted in launching their Century College certified programs including Culinary, Health Services, Hospitality, and Retail. These skills-based training programs prepare students with ASD and other learning differences for integrated employment. Waege has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in Psychology from Winona State University. She has completed an Autism Spectrum Disorder course authorized by University of California, Davis and offered through Coursera and leads MICC’s Autism Committee.
Ali Brickner has worked with people with disabilities, including individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, (ASD) for the past seven years. She has worked with individuals in a variety of settings including adaptive recreation and employment support. Brickner started as a Job Developer at MICC in July 2019. As a Job Developer, she works with participants and employers to create meaningful partnerships and lasting employment. She is an active member of Disability IN Minnesota and represents MICC at their monthly meetings. Brickner has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.
Dec. 14, 2021
Guardianship: Do We Need It?
Presenter: Jason Schellack, JD (he/him)
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 14 from 7-9 p.m. VIRTUAL
At age 18, a child is legally considered an adult. Some youth, however, aren’t yet ready for all of the responsibilities of adulthood. Many children with ASD will continue to need assistance with their IEPs, transition services, making medical decisions, and applying for government benefits. To legally assist their adult children in these important areas, many parents and caregivers choose to establish legal guardianship. Learn about the guardianship legal process and how you can qualify for free legal assistance. Understand the powers and responsibilities guardians have under Minnesota law, and how successor guardians are chosen and appointed.
Jason Schellack is an attorney and the Executive Director of Autism Advocacy & Law Center, LLC, a law firm dedicated to serving individuals with disabilities and their families. Schellack has worked with individuals with autism as a camp counselor, personal care attendant, public defender, and legal advocate. He practices primarily in the areas of guardianship, estate planning, family law, and special education law. Schellack is licensed to practice law in the State of Minnesota, as well as federal district court.
January 11, 2022
Supported Decision Making: What It Is, Why You Might Need It, and How It Works
Presenter: Maya Park (she/her)
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022 from 7-9 p.m. VIRTUAL
Supported Decision-Making is a means to increase self-determination for people with disabilities and older adults that can enhance quality of life and serve as an alternative to guardianship. Learn about Supported Decision-Making as well as recent changes in Minnesota law requiring consideration of alternatives to guardianship.
Maya Park is the Supported Decision Making Manager at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas, and earned her Master’s in Ed Leadership from the University of Concordia, St. Paul. She is a former educator, whose passion is social justice and human rights. She also is a consultant with AmazeWorks, a non-profit dedicated to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within our schools and organizations, as well as a facilitator with MidWest Mixed, a non-profit dedicated to Trans-Racial Adoptees and Mixed Folks. Park is excited to have joined LSS in their mission to creating options to Guardian and Conservatorship.
Jan. 25, 2022
Creating Autistic-Friendly Social Spaces
Presenter: Jillian Nelson (she/her)
Date: Tuesday, Jan. 25 from 7-9 p.m. VIRTUAL
Society frames autistic people as not wanting to have friends. This is far from the truth. Autistic socialization looks different and sometimes that creates challenges in building friendships and social groups. In this session we will talk about how to create different types of social spaces and engagement to have greater success connecting with autistic and neurotypical people alike.
Jillian Nelson, Community Resource and Policy Advocate for the Autism Society of Minnesota, was diagnosed with autism as a young adult. With a degree in human services and a background in self-advocacy, she has dedicated her career to helping others with autism achieve their goals, advocating for system change, and spreading a message of education and autism acceptance.
Feb. 8, 2022
Video Modeling: Why It Is Useful and How to Create One
Presenter: Eric Ringgenberg (he/him)
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 8 from 7-9 p.m. VIRTUAL
Video modeling is an effective strategy for learning and developing many types of skills. This session will review what video modeling is, describe different types of video models that can be used, and demonstrate how to create a video model using technology you may have or can get at minimal expense.
Eric Ringgenberg, AuSM’s Education Director, has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and a Master’s degree in Special Education – Autism Spectrum Disorders from the University of St. Thomas.