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    Autism Society of Minnesota
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25th Annual Minnesota Autism Conference registration is open

25thAnnualConfLogo2020UPDATERegistration for the 25th Annual Minnesota Autism Conference, to be held April 29-May 2 at the Minneapolis Marriott Southwest, is open. Register now to be a part of this event where we will join our voices as a passionate community to inspire learning, hope, and innovation. Experts, parents, caregivers, educators, paraprofessionals, mental health professionals, service providers, and individuals on the spectrum will have a platform to connect, collaborate, advocate, and educate.

The conference will feature four prominent keynote speakers: Wednesday Evening: Haley Moss sponsored by Minnesota Independence College and Community; Thursday Morning: Kari Dunn Buron sponsored by St. David's Center; Thursday Evening: Dwayne Ballen sponsored by Lifeworks; and Friday Morning: Loui Lord-Nelson, PhD sponsored by MN LEND.

The event also will include our Steps of Possibilities Gallery where you can read positive stories and gain advice from autistic adults in our community. And, as part of our anniversary celebration, we will open the exhibit hall and AuSM Bookstore to our community for FREE access on Saturday, May 2 from 7:30-11 a.m. At 9 a.m., we will recognize our retiring Camp Hand in Hand directors, Wendy McNeil and Todd Schwartzberg. Autism Community Day is free, but registration is required (does not include Saturday breakout sessions).

Click here for more information about the conference and to register. AuSM encourages early registration as the conference is expected to sell out.


AuSM's Annual Meeting Feb. 26

logoAuSM's Annual Meeting will take place at AuSM from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26. The Annual Meeting is open to all community members. The meeting agenda will be as follows, including elections for Board of Directors officer positions:

6:30 p.m.
Check-in/Meet and Greet

7 p.m.
Welcome and Introductions
Secretary’s Report, Jenna Matteson-Laabs, Secretary
State of AuSM Report, Ellie Wilson, Executive Director
President’s Report, Paul D’Arco, President
Treasurer’s Report, Kyle Bloch, Treasurer
Election of Officers - Nominees:
   John Skillings, Treasurer (2-year term)
   Jenna Matteson-Laabs, Secretary (2-year term)
   Keith Guggenberger, Vice President (1-year term following resignation of former VP)
New Business
Questions and Open Discussion

8 p.m.


Register for Steps for Autism and the state's largest annual autism resource fair

Steps2020To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Steps for Autism in Minnesota this year, a generous anonymous donor has stepped forward to provide a $20,000 match for all donations collected in honor of this fundraising event. Funds raised by teams and individuals will be doubled!

Join us for the 20th annual Steps for Autism in Minnesota, a community fundraiser featuring the state’s largest annual autism resource fair and the AuSM Flash Dash. Steps for Autism will be held at Southdale Center from 8:30-11 a.m. on Sunday, March 1, 2020.

19 11 26 Flash Dash 2020 v5The 4th Annual AuSM Flash Dash powered by Accra, will kick off Steps for Autism 2020. All ages and abilities are welcome to register and participate. In addition to the AuSM Flash Dash, the 20th Anniversary of this event will feature "Steps of Possibilities" sponsored by Best Care, a poster gallery that will highlight success stories from adults with autism. 

Plan now to participate in this exciting event for our local autism community on March 1. The event will culminate in an awesome dance party led by AuSM summer camp staff, princesses, and other costumed characters.

Those signing up for the AuSM Flash Dash powered by Accra by Feb. 21 will be entered into a drawing for a Family Adventure Prize Pack.

Registration is required. Click here to register for Steps for Autism 2020 and the AuSM Flash Dash.


AuSM Summer Camps celebrate retiring directors and welcome new staff

CampLogo2020colorA team of dedicated camp directors and staff ensure that AuSM Summer Camps afford youth and adults with autism safe, fun, and rewarding summer camp experiences.

The 2020 AuSM Summer Camp season will see some changes as AuSM bids farewell to two of the seasoned Camp Hand in Hand directors, Wendy McNeil and Edward Todd Schwartzberg, M.Ed., MT-BC.

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AuSM Summer Camp and social skills class registration opens today

Summer2020CatalogCVRWEBRegistration for AuSM's Summer Camps and summer social skills classes is open. AuSM camps are tailored for youth and adults with autism ages 6 and up who are AuSM members. Camp offerings include a day camp where campers arrive each morning and leave each afternoon (Camp Wahode), and two residential camps where campers stay several days and nights (Camp Discovery and Camp Hand in Hand). AuSM summer classes and activities offer low-stress, accepting environments that promote learning and growth while celebrating neurodiversity. AuSM programs are conducive to youth and adults who fall within the wide range of the autism spectrum and take place at various locations. Click here to access the 2020 AuSM Summer Activities catalog to start planning your summer adventures today!


A walk with Enzo: AuSM Hand in Hand camp counselor recounts his time with his camper

EnzoMikeCampWEBEnvision a symphony, reaching its crescendo, conductor swinging their arms fervently about pushing the body of commotion to its peak. Now strip it back, remove first the drums, the bass, the rhythm section that keeps the metronome of your heartbeat in time. Next to go is the brass section, bright punches of horn fade followed in succession by the winds, dimmer still as the waves of flutes and oboes calm to a motionless silence. Last to be peeled away are the strings, as the arms of the violinists move in a flurry, the rhythmic beauty of their sounds dissipate into the air and you are left feeling only the gentle cushion of the seat beneath you.

You can see it all playing out, in your mind’s eye you envision what each musician is trying so passionately to communicate and yet no matter the motions that ensue, you are left with only your best guess as to what they wish to convey.

Welcome to a walk with Enzo.

What I know to be true: Enzo is a man in his mid-20s on the autism spectrum, he finds peace when he is in motion, and expresses himself in ways those of us who take verbal communication for granted may struggle to recognize or comprehend. Enzo’s family have described him as nonverbal and extremely communicative, a balance only achieved through his tremendous patience for those of us in his company. He is a man who is fully present and practices mindfulness in each step he takes.

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