Author: Ellie Wilson, AuSM Executive Director
In 1971, a group of passionate parents founded the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) to seek greater understanding and better school supports for their children with autism. A half-century later, AuSM continues its mission to improve the lives of people with autism, but with an expanded focus along the entire lifespan, from birth through retirement.
AuSM’s mission is to enhance the lives of individuals and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. AuSM serves Minnesotans, throughout their lives, with a fundamental commitment to advocacy, education, support, collaboration, and community building.
AuSM seeks to
- Advocate for legislation and policies that lead to improved services, increased opportunities, and greater self-determination for people with autism.
- Educate and inform individuals, families, professionals, and the broader community about autism and effective strategies for support and inclusion.
- Support individuals and families through quality programs, counseling services, and resource information.
- Collaborate with organizations and individuals who share our commitment to enhancing the lives of those affected by autism.
- Build community and provide a welcoming and accessible environment for autistic people to connect and form their own social bonds.
Whether you are the parent of a child with a new diagnosis, an adult with autism who needs guidance, an educator or healthcare professional who supports people with autism, or a company that wants to learn more about the talents of people with autism, AuSM offers the resources you need to help you accomplish your goals.
AuSM members throughout the state of Minnesota and the upper Midwest include a diverse representation of autistic individuals, families, educators, caregivers, and professionals who support individuals with autism. Though we encourage membership, we are here to serve all in our community who seek resources and support.
AuSM is a place where everyone can learn, access services, and develop skills for navigating what can be challenging emotions and complex information. Services include membership, workshops, the Minnesota autism conference, AuSM Skillshops, individualized consultation, specially tailored summer camps for youth and adults with autism, interest-based social skills classes with community partners, Counseling and Consulting Services, support groups, Autism Direct Support Certification training, sensory-friendly events, advocacy, Information and Resources, and customized autism training.
Understanding the imperative need to support positive outcomes when those in our community interact with police officers, AuSM advocated for the 2020 bill passed by the Minnesota legislature that requires every law enforcement officer in Minnesota to receive four hours of autism training. AuSM provides these trainings around the state, and each training includes an overview of characteristics associated with autism across diverse populations, best practices for support and de-escalation strategies, prevention and crisis reduction models, and an objective review of tools and technology available to support positive, informed interactions.
As the Minnesota autism community continues to grow, so, too, does the need for programs and services to help autistic people thrive. As the state’s oldest nonprofit autism organization, AuSM relies on the generosity of our community to carry out our important mission. Donated dollars stay local, benefitting Minnesota families and individuals touched by autism.
For more information, visit www.ausm.org.