May 15, 2016       Connecting you with the Minnesota autism community.

A Note from Jonah Weinberg, Executive Director
There's an old adage that goes, "variety is the spice of life." But what do you do when that spice leaves a bad taste in your mouth? For many of us, life would be easier if routines remained predictable, other people's reactions could be anticipated, and all communication would be understood as we intended it.

Life, however, doesn't work that way, and change is a "flavor" that is a part of life's mix. Change can be fuel for frustration and confusion, but it also can ignite possibility.

As we change from spring to summer, AuSM offers you possibility. I challenge you to add something new to your routine or to the routine of a loved one. Consider participating in a summer social skills class at the zoo; attend Autism Awareness Day with the Minnesota Twins; drop in for AuSM's Independent Adults with ASD Social Support Group; fill a counselor position to work at one of AuSM's Summer Camps; or put together a fundraising team to support AuSM in the Give Twin Cities Challenge.

Change can be nerve-wracking at first, but AuSM offers you a constant that fosters possibility and positivity - we are your community. A community that does not judge, a community that is accepting and accommodating of your needs. 

Accept my challenge. You may find that a little change was just what you needed to ignite your creative spark.

Have an AuSM day!

AuSM Executive Director
Give Twin Cities Challenge 
AuSM is pleased to be a part of the first annual Give Twin Cities Challenge, a fundraising competition organized by Minnesota Monthly magazine from May 17-June 30, 2016. Throughout the fundraising period, participating nonprofit organizations will be competing to raise the most dollars via Crowdrise (the same fundraising platform AuSM adopted for Steps of Hope this year!).

AuSM encourages the Minnesota autism community to rally, donate, and ask others to give in support of local families and individuals affected by autism. As with Steps of Hope, you are able to build fundraising teams and challenge friends, family, and others in your personal networks to match or surpass your donations to AuSM. Donations made through AuSM's Give Twin Cities Crowdrise page (including individual donors and teams) will be totaled at the end of the challenge, and nonprofits raising the most dollars during the challenge period will be awarded prizes: 1st Place: $25,000; 2nd Place: $15,000; 3rd Place: $10,000

Build your team in support of AuSM today! The challenge begins (and donations will be accepted through the below link) at 11 a.m. on May 17.

Valleyfair Autism Awareness Day
Sunday, May 29, 2016
This special day will allow guests with autism to more fully enjoy a theme park experience. Valleyfair will provide the necessary tools and accommodations to welcome you and your loved ones to have the best day ever while enjoying the park. AuSM representatives will be onsite from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. to answer questions. Click here for more information and tips to enjoy a great day at Valleyfair.

Click here to purchase your tickets for May 29. AuSM will receive $1 for every ticket sold through this link.
Autism Awareness with the Minnesota Twins
Sunday, June 5 at 1:10 p.m.
Major League Baseball, the Minnesota Twins, and AuSM have teamed up to offer discounted tickets to the June 5 Twins game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Join us to cheer on the Twins with your family and friends and enjoy all that Target Field has to offer. Participate in a special pre-game parade to raise autism awareness!

Grandstand Seats: $16 ($3 for each ticket purchased through the flyer below will be donated to AuSM. Tickets must be purchased by May 20.)

AuSM at the Flint Hills Festival
May 31-June 3 at the Ordway in St. Paul
The Ordway presents this exciting event for families and school children that will include performances, activities, and more. Visit AuSM in the outside tent area May 31-June 3 and make an AuSM Inclusivity Square. Put your creativity to the test as you construct an interactive square that will teach you tips and tricks for being a good friend. Celebrate what makes all of us unique and make everyone feel accepted, respected, and included. Click here for more information about the festival.

Ask the Attorney
Jason Schellack, Esq., Autism Advocacy & Law Center, answers your law-related questions.

What are the pros and cons of becoming legal guardian of my child? 
There are many benefits to becoming your child's court-appointed guardian! As guardian, you will have the legal authority to help your child make important medical and educational decisions, give approval to enter into contracts, void contracts that you didn't approve, and apply for important government benefits, such as Social Security and Medical Assistance, on your child's behalf. 

One requirement of being a guardian is filing an Annual Report of Personal Well-Being to let the court know how your child is doing and if there have been any changes. Many parents are under the incorrect impression that they can be responsible for the criminal and negligence acts of their children if they are their children's guardian. This is not true. Minnesota law specifically gives immunity to guardians for the wrongful acts of the ward toward third parties.

Is best to have a guardianship in place before my child's 18th birthday?
Yes, it is best to establish guardianship of you child before his or her 18th birthday. All counties in Minnesota allow us to file guardianship petitions and hold guardianship hearings before an individual's 18th birthday. This is important so that you can avoid any gap in county, school, and medical services that require the approval of a guardian. You still can petition for guardianship after your child's 18th birthday, but you risk a gap in services. We have had some client's Waivers put on hold on their children's 18th birthday, pending the appointment of a guardian. Establishing guardianship before age 18 will help avoid issues like this.

For more information about these or other law-related questions, Schellack can be reached at
Register today to learn from Professor Tony Attwood on Oct. 19!
AuSM Summer Camps
AuSM day and residential summer camps are filling quickly! Click here for information about scholarships and waivers and click on the camp links below for more details.

Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:4; Residential camp
Session 1 (June 11-17) Openings Only (boys ages 10-21)

Camp Hand in Hand (ages 9-adult) 

Staff-to-Camper Ratio: 1:2; Day camp
Session 1 (July 11-15) and 2 (July 25-29) Openings (boys and girls ages 6-12)
Work at AuSM Summer Camps
Want to help with a summer activity that will be personally rewarding and support the Minnesota autism community? Consider working at an AuSM Camp for a week or more. Counselors are needed for Camps Wahode and Hand in Hand and Camp Discovery needs cabin support staff (cabin support staff must have previous experience working with youth with autism). 

Registered nurses also are needed for the Camp Hand in Hand weeks. For more information, contact Terri Borowick, AuSM Director of Camp Programs at, or click here.
Summer Social Skills
Register for the AuSM Social Skills classes that support your special interests. Click here for information about scholarships and waivers.

Como Zoo Skills
Elementary (ages 8-12): Wild Things
Teens (ages 13-18): Wild Side
July 11-15, 2016

Predator & Prey (ages 8-11); June 20-24, 2016
Crazy Creatures (ages 12-14); July 18-22, 2016
Zoo Crew and Design (ages 15-18); August 8-12, 2016

Session 1: Females only, June 22, 29 and July 6, 13, 20 and 27, 2016
Session 2: Co-ed, June 23, 30 and July 7, 14, 21 and 28, 2016

June 20-24, 2016

July 25-29, 2016

Lowry Nature Center: July 19-22, 2016
Eastman Nature Center: August 16-19, 2016

June 28-July 15, 2016

Sessions 1 and 2: June 20-24, 2016
Sessions 3 and 4: August 1-5, 2016

Anime Twin Cities becomes newest AuSM Premier Partner
AuSM is pleased to announce that Anime Twin Cities is AuSM's newest Premier Partner! Anime Twin Cities conducts educational, charitable, and social activities related to the promotion and study of Japanese culture, specifically animated movies and television programs ("anime") and graphic novels ("manga") as well as the study of the Japanese language as it is used in anime and manga. Anime Twin Cities has supported the Minnesota autism community with Trolleys and Treats and Steps of Hope in 2016, and we look forward to their continued partnership in the 2016-2017 season. Click here to learn more about AuSM Premier Partnership and see a list of current AuSM Premier Partners.
AuSM Skillshops
Toilet Training Challenge
May 19, 2016
Location: St. David's Center
Presenter: Anne Dudley, MEd

Toilet training individuals with ASD can be a daunting challenge, but it is a critical life skill. Understand the unique autism learning style, select motivating reinforcers and obtain a step-by-step method to address toileting issues across the range of the spectrum. Bring your specific toileting challenges and we will problem solve together, no matter the age of the individual. Click here to register.

Using Personal Learning Plans for Students with ASD
June 2, 2016
Location: Fraser
Presenter: Kim Kang

Personal Learning Plans, also known as Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) can be an effective tool for career development and exploration. In this AuSM Skillshop, you will learn what a Personal Learning Plan is, how it can be used to complement an IEP or 504 plan for a student with ASD, and how to work with schools to construct an effective plan.

Tips on Helping Your Child with ASD Learn to Ride a Bike (limited space available)
June 7, 2016
Location: AuSM
Presenter: Alex Uhler

Challenges with body awareness, balance and motor control, and eye-hand coordination can make riding a bike difficult for children on the spectrum. Learn a number of tips for successful bike riding including purchasing the correct equipment, making bike adjustments, breaking down riding into smaller steps, clothing protection, practice makes perfect pedaling, staying positive and patient, and working toward the sense of independence and accomplishment that your child will experience when learning to ride his or her own bike.

August 30: Food Fight! Nutritional Strategies for Children with ASD and Their Families
September 20: Autism and Anxiety in Adults
AuSM Golf Classic 2016
Reserve your space now to hit the links in support of AuSM's mission of enhancing the lives of individuals touched by autism in Minnesota. The 21st Annual AuSM Golf Classic will take place on Aug. 1 at the pristine Troy Burne Golf Club in Hudson, Wis. Join us for a great day of golf in support of our local autism community! Registration includes 18 holes of golf, complimentary cart, lunch, awards banquet, and opportunities to win great prizes. Click here for more information, sponsorship opportunities, and to register.
Therapy and Support
With more than 80 years of combined experience with individuals with autism, AuSM's team of highly trained and licensed therapists wants you to feel comfortable and knowledgeable as we undertake this journey together, striving for positive, individual-focused goals.
AuSM's Counseling and Consulting Services include: diagnostic assessments for adults, functional or behavioral assessments for all ages, individual therapy, family therapy, behavior consultation, marriage and couples therapy, and training and consulting for organizations and service providers.

AuSM sends out a monthly "Ask the Therapist" e-mail where AuSM's therapists answer questions submitted by the Minnesota autism community. Click here to read the "Ask the Therapist" archive. To submit a question, e-mail

Kickstands up for AuSM this spring/summer
Information and Resources
Autism Community Events and Fundraisers
Autism Society of Minnesota | 651.647.1083 | |

Established in 1971, the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to education, advocacy and support designed to enhance the lives of those affected by autism from birth through retirement. AuSM does not sell or share the contact information of our members, volunteers, donors or supporters.

Autism Society of Minnesota, 2380 Wycliff St. #102, St. Paul, MN 55114