September 1, 2016       Connecting you with the Minnesota autism community.

A Note from Jonah Weinberg, Executive Director

Yellow school buses, crimson leaves, and cooler evenings hint of impending autumn. At AuSM, we mark the arrival of the season with the delivery of several boxes of the AuSM 2016-2017 Education Catalog. The catalog is full of new opportunities for families, educators, professionals, and individuals with autism.

Speaking of new, I'm pleased to let you know that after a pretty rough week of technical glitches, a mobile-friendly version of AuSM's website,, is now up and running. Our goal with the new site is to is bring you the content you need at the touch of your fingers, whether they're typing on a computer keyboard, wrapped around your smart phone, or busy with a tablet. Site construction continues as we add photos, more content, and additional programs and services, but we're very excited to share what we have so far.

Tony Attwood's full-day AuSM workshop on Oct. 19 is selling quickly. Dr. Attwood is to Asperger's as Temple Grandin is to autism, and you won't want to miss this opportunity to learn from a world-renowned expert as he discusses An Aspie's Guide to Life's Challenges: Unlocking Tools for Resilience in a Complex World. I encourage you to register today and plan to attend this tools and strategies-packed workshop.

This issue of AuSM Connections has a ton of great new information. Read on and learn about AuSM's recently hired therapists, what Pokemon Go is doing for the autism community, AuSM's new Beyond Sex Ed class, and community-uniting, family-fun events. 

Have an AuSM day!

AuSM Executive Director
AuSM hires two new therapists for ACCS team
Amy Carrison, PsyD, LADC
In order to meet demand for counseling services, AuSM is pleased to announce an expansion of its AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services (ACCS) team.

"Nearly every day we hear from families and individuals who are looking for a mental health professionals who understand autism," AuSM executive director Jonah Weinberg said. "While there are quite a few providers who are experienced working with younger children, many are at a loss when it comes to working with adolescents and adults."

The demand for diagnosis, testing, and counseling services has grown
significantly in recent years.Weinberg said AuSM is responding to this need by hiring additional mental health providers.
Jen Reinke, PhD, LAMFT, CFLE

"We've recently added two qualified, dedicated therapists who make it possible for us to serve more clients and offer new services, while maintaining the levels of care and compassion for which AuSM therapists have set the standard."

Weinberg added that autism itself is not a mental illness, but that many individuals with the diagnosis struggle to navigate social and societal norms, and that this struggle can lead to depression, anxiety, or other co-occurring challenges. With the addition of these therapists, AuSM is not only able to offer additional mental health counseling, but also testing services to help individuals understand their diagnosis better.

Pokemon Go: Making the Community and Social Interaction
Battling Blastoise for control. Running to capture Dragonite. Going a distance to evolve a Pidgey. All of these actions are motivation to get off the couch and out of the house.

For some individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the thrill of the Pokemon Go chase and the rewards of character collection and evolution are perfect incentives for getting out of their comfort zone.

Pokemon Go, a virtual reality game that lets players use their smart phones to capture Pokemon and battle for gyms in real world spaces, requires players to leave the house, walk long distances, and explore their communities. The game often puts players in contact with other players searching for the same PokeStops, Pokemon, and Gyms.

Seats are filling quickly for Professor Tony Attwood's October workshop
A limited number of tickets remain for Professor Tony Attwood's full-day fall workshop event on Oct. 19: "An Aspie's Guide to Life's Challenges: Unlocking Tools for Resilience in a Complex World". Join AuSM for this rare opportunity to learn from world-renowned speaker and autism expert, Tony Attwood, who will share his insights and strategies for navigating emotions, adolescence, relationships, and employment. 

The workshop will take place at the Schulze Grand Atrium at the University of St. Thomas School of Law Minneapolis Campus. Register today to be a part of this unique event for parents, caregivers, educators, psychologists, therapists, direct support professionals, and individuals with autism.

Let's Play Unified
FREE Fall Fun Day 2016
Special Olympics Minnesota, the Autism Society of Minnesota, and the Minneapolis Police invite you to a fall fun day for communities serving children with autism. Families will have the opportunity to meet other families affected by autism, build relationships with local emergency responders, try a new sport with Special Olympics Minnesota, and access autism resources from the Autism Society of Minnesota. Activities will be set up and staffed to accommodate children with autism and their siblings, ages 6 and up. This event is free, but registration is required.

Saturday, September 17, 2016 from 1-5 p.m.
Minneapolis Police Special Operations Center 

4119 Dupont Ave.

North Minneapolis, MN 55412

Exercise Your Right to Vote
The voting season is upon us, and Minnesota residents who are 18 and older have the right to vote. Learn about the voting process when you join AuSM for a FREE voting workshop from 6-7 p.m. on Sept. 22. Lead by Cindy Jarvi from the Minnesota Disability Law Center, workshop topics will include: eligibility requirements, registering to vote, how voting works, and accessibility.

Second Saturdays at TPT: Anti-Bullying
On Oct. 8 from 9-10 a.m., meet Arthur; enjoy some coffee, juice, and snacks; play in the park; and watch PBS Kids on the big screen. Location: 172 4th St. E., St. Paul, MN 55101. Cost: Free; registration is required and space is limited.

AuSM Pumpkin Patch Trolley
October 15, 2016

10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Minnesota Streetcar Museum

Linden Hill Station 

Queen Ave. S. and W. 42nd St. 

Minneapolis, MN 55410

AuSM and the Minnesota Streetcar Museum invite you to experience the thrill of riding a trolley, spend some time with Minnesota autism community friends, and pick a perfect pumpkin during this fun October event for individuals and families affected by autism.
Join us for a fun ride along the rails, including a stop where you will be able to select a pumpkin to take home. The first trolley charter will leave the station at 10:30 a.m. and the final charter will roll back to the station at 12 p.m. Cost: $5 per family. Registration is required. Space is limited.

AuSM Social Skills Classes
Now is a great time to register for AuSM's fall social skills classes. Click on the links below for more information on or to register for a selected class. Registration for winter and spring classes also is open.

Have you seen AuSM's newest education catalog? Click here to view the complete catalog.

FALL 2016
NEW! Beyond Sex Ed: Bodies, Boundaries, and Healthy Relationships  
For individuals with autism, sexual education is more complicated than the birds and the bees. In AuSM's Beyond Sex Ed course, students ages 13-18 will learn how to manage privacy, boundaries, and infatuations to help them live healthy, create positive relationships, and be safe. Topics will include puberty, private versus public, unwanted affection, intimacy and dating, body boundaries, and consent. Instructors will tackle nuanced and complex issues by building upon more simple, concrete concepts.

Prior to registering for Beyond Sex Ed, we strongly encourage parents/caregivers to attend an orientation to learn more about the class and to determine if it is the right fit for their child. Registration for the class will open after the orientation session.

Parent/Caregiver Orientation

Monday, Oct. 17 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at AuSM 

FALL Autism Direct Support Certification
AuSM's Autism Direct Support Certification Program is designed for professionals who work with individuals with autism or who want to better provide service to those with autism spectrum disorder. This in-depth, 15-hour course will give practical solutions for working with people on the spectrum. 

Who should participate?
  • Job Coaches
  • Support Staff
  • Personal Care Attendants (PCAs)
  • EIDBI Tier 3 Providers
  • Educational Aides
  • Direct Support Personnel
  • Group Home Staff
  • Day Training and Habilitation Professionals
  • Anyone who works directly with individuals with autism
Fall 2016 Session 


Sept. 16, 23, 30 and Oct. 7, 14 

8:30-11:30 a.m.

Conference Call for Papers open now through Nov. 14, 2016
The Call for Papers for the 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference is open now through Nov. 14, 2016. AuSM is opening the Call for Papers process earlier than usual to allow more time for submissions. The deadline also has been moved up to November instead of January so the conference schedule can be made available in early 2017. Submit your proposal to present during this largest annual educational event for the Minnesota autism community. The Minnesota Autism Conference Education Committee will evaluate proposals and contact those who submit proposals by Dec. 20, 2016. Click here to download, complete, and submit the Call for Papers 2017 proposal form.

To assist with education budgeting, conference rates will be listed on the AuSM website soon.
AuSM Skillshops

Sept. 20, 2016

Autism and Anxiety in Adults

Presenter: Barb Luskin, PhD, LP
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 20 from 7-9 p.m.

Location: Merrick, Inc.

It's common for adults with autism to have anxiety and/or depression. Learn how to cope with stressors and gather resources for reducing anxiety.


Oct. 16, 2016

Special Needs & Special Sibs: A Family AuSM Skillshop
Presenter: Jen Reinke, PhD, LAMFT, CFLE 

Date: Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 from 2-4 p.m. 

Location: Eden Prairie Community Center, Cambria Room

"Autism doesn't just affect my kid, it affects our whole family," a mother of an 8-year-old child with autism said. Explore the unique challenges, rewards, and dynamics experienced by families impacted by a variety of special needs. Special emphasis will be placed on the experiences and needs of siblings (ages 10+) who have a brother or sister with special needs.


Oct. 25, 2016

Accommodations & Modifications: Navigating the IEP or 504 Plan
Presenter: Mary Beth Kelley, MA 

Date: Oct. 25, 2016 from 7-9 p.m. 

Location: Fraser, Eden Prairie

Staff often have to create accommodations or modifications for students they are working with at school, or parents want to suggest accommodations for their child, but the terms can be confusing. Review definitions and differences of frequently used terms and gather examples of specific accommodations and modifications. Obtain a framework to help brainstorm new ways to assist students in the classroom.


Nov. 8: Guardianship: Do We Need It?
Nov. 15: Working with Autism: Four Helpful Hacks and One Golden Ticket
Dec. 8: Driven to Drive: Getting Behind the Wheel

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 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

Information and Resources

Uniting the 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


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