The 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference will be held April 26-29, 2017 at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel Minneapolis – Park Place in Minneapolis. During the conference, experts, educators, therapists, direct support professionals, parents, caregivers, and people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will connect, collaborate, advocate, and educate.
Held during National Autism Awareness Month, this four-day conference is organized by the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM), the state’s oldest nonprofit organization focused on ASD, with a mission of enhancing the lives of those affected by ASD from birth through retirement.
With a prevalence rate of one in every 68 people (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), ASD is the fastest growing developmental disability in Minnesota and the U.S., and AuSM believes programs and services are needed now more than ever to serve this increasing population.
“By bringing the autism community together, AuSM is providing a platform for the community to connect, learn and grow,” said Jonah Weinberg, AuSM’s Executive Director. “The state autism conference is an important event where individuals with autism and caregivers, educators, and providers can find the latest ASD information and resources that will help people with autism thrive.”
The goal of AuSM’s annual conference is to advance understanding of ASD through daily keynote speakers, 32 expert-led topical breakout sessions, exhibitors offering a variety of autism services and products, and resources provided through the AuSM Bookstore. 2017 keynote speakers will include autism icon Temple Grandin, PhD; Steve Silberman, best-selling author of NeuroTribes; Kerry Magro, autism advocate; and Chris Ulmer, special education teacher and motivational speaker.
To encourage educator involvement in Chris Ulmer’s presentation, AuSM is holding the “AuSM Educator Challenge” through March 15. Educators are invited to tell AuSM how they encourage and motivate their students in the classroom. Five educators who enter will be given free tickets to attend Chris Ulmer’s keynote presentation on April 28 and will share their strategies with the audience.
Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from the Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy, the Minnesota Board of Social Work, and the Minnesota Board of Psychology will be available for participants. The final day of the conference will focus on post-secondary transition and life skills for individuals with autism.
In addition to its 22nd annual conference, AuSM will hold its third annual gala during the conference on Friday, April 28 from 6-10 p.m. The gala, “Oh, the AuSM Places We’ll Go!”, will bring the community together for fantastic food, drinks, games, prizes, a silent auction, and a celebration of those who inspire and support individuals affected by autism.