Autism Experts Set to Speak at 2024 Minnesota Autism Conference April 17-19

The Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) has curated a wide-ranging slate of autism experts and self-advocates as presenters for its 2024 Minnesota State Autism Conference, returning April 17-19, 2024. Keynote speakers include Joyner Emerick, Dr. Devon Price, and Dr. Paula Kluth.

AuSM’s conference will also feature 28 breakout sessions geared toward autistics, caregivers, educators, advocates, service providers, and support professionals. Between sessions, attendees have access to a resource fair with dozens of supporting exhibitors, as well as the AuSM Shop – an autism-focused store that includes books, sensory-friendly and self-care products, and other resources. For autistics seeking accommodations during the event, the conference’s accessibility guide is here.

Where: Hilton Doubletree Minneapolis Airport
When: April 17-19, 2024
More info and registration:
For a detailed conference schedule of all sessions, click here and see summary below.


12:30-4:30 p.m.: Pre-Conference Workshop – This half-day kickoff is geared toward educators, recently-diagnosed autistics and their families, and others who may be new to the autism community. Hosted by AuSM’s counseling and education teams, attendees will get a foundational grounding that preps them for the rest of the conference.


8-9:30 a.m. Keynote

You’re Going to Love This Kid!
Presented by Dr. Paula Kluth   

10-11 a.m.: Breakout Sessions I

Session 1-How to Write a Neurodiversity-Affirming IEP presented by Maren Christenson Hofer*, Joyner Emerick, and Ryan Haenze

Session 2-Accessibility At Work – Disability Justice in the Workplace presented by Megan Perera

Session 3-Trauma in Autistic Children and Young Adults presented by Beth PitchfordBarb Luskin, and Sara Lahti

Session 4-Estate Planning For Families with Special Needs presented by Jason Schellack

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions II

Session 1-The Roots of Behavior: A Neurodiversity-Affirming Perspective presented by Elizabeth Duffy and Michelle Pettit

Session 2-Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know presented by Tanya Heitzinger and Sarah Dicks

Session 3-Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth: Tools for Parents and Other Adults presented by Cat Hammond

Session 4-Trauma in Autistic Adults presented by Beth PitchfordBarb Luskin, and Sara Lahti

1:15-2:45 p.m. Keynote

The Future of Autistic Self-Advocacy: Self-Realization, Solidarity, and Growing Class Consciousness
Presented by Dr. Devon Price  

3:15-4:15 p.m. Breakout Sessions III

Session 1-Taking a Person Centered Approach to ADLs presented by Nicole Ogren and Jake Archbold

Session 2-Leadership: Leading Without Conforming presented by Jillian Nelson

Session 3-Assessing Transition Needs Among Individuals With Disabilities and Caregivers presented by Mahasweta BoseCarl Arps, Dr. Rebekah Hudock*, Dr. Chimei Lee, and Maren Christenson Hofer*

Session 4-What’s Behind the Mask: An Exploration of Masking, Burnout, and the Autistic Experience presented by Santanna Ficken and Sophie Tomsky


8-9:30 a.m. Keynote

Beyond Words: Exploring Autistic Multimodal Communication
Presented by Joyner Emerick

10-11 a.m.: Breakout Sessions I

Session 1-The Art of Coregulation: Strategies to Regulate Emotions from Neurodivergent Perspectives presented by Tiffany SchroeerChelsey Hendrickx, and Revel Weber

Session 2-Setting and Keeping Boundaries presented by Sara Lahti

Session 3-Accessible Healthcare presented by Dr. Rebecca Vaurio

Session 4-Centering Joy: Lessons Learned from a Family Camp for Autistic Children in the Somali and Oromo Communities presented by Rufo Jiru, Delia Samuel, and Fatima Molas

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions II

Session 1-Empowerment and Belonging for Adult Women with Late Diagnoses presented by Laura Adrian

Session 2-Bridging Silos presented by Sara Swan

Session 3-Let’s Talk About ‘It:’ Building Comfort Around Sexuality and Development presented by Elissa Marble and Alyssa Perau

Session 4-Autistic Mental Health: Preventing and Responding to Crisis presented by Amelia Maciejewski

1:30-2:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions III

Session 1-“Subtle but Significant” Autism presented by Dr. Megan Helmen

Session 2-Beyond To-Do Lists: Executive Function from an Affirming Perspective presented by Elizabeth Duffy and Santanna Ficken

Session 3-Obtaining Assent in Service Provision for Autistic Individuals presented by Rebecca Kolb

Session 4-Takeaways from the 2023 International ADHD Conference: RSD, Hormones, and More presented by Beth Pitchford

2:45-3:45 p.m. Breakout Sessions IV

Session 1-Research on Autism, Driven by Autistic Researchers (RADAR) presented by Isabelle Morris*, Freya Doherty*, and Jesica Sykes

Session 2-Helping Autistic Minnesotans Make Friends: Lessons Learned from Hosting Events presented by Mitchell Schaps

Session 3-Sleep Well: Tips and Tricks for Effortless Sleep presented by Jeremy Goldberg

Session 4-Gifted and Autistic: Unique Strengths, Challenges, and Therapeutic Considerations presented by Jaime Ascencio

For those unable to attend in-person, AuSM is offering a virtual pass to eight sessions. More info on virtual content here.

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