Minnesota LEND Fellow Joins Autism Society of Minnesota

December 30, 2019

The Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) has hired Ashwak Hassan (MNLEND Fellow, 2015-16) to help multicultural families affected by autism navigate and access services that lead to better lives and communities.

Under a two-year Minnesota Department of Human Services Innovations Grant, Hassan will bring AuSM together with the Somali American Parent Network and the Multicultural Autism Action Network to streamline how families navigate services and increase their participation and meaningful engagement with culturally appropriate supports. "I've always been interested in looking at the barriers multicultural families encounter on a daily basis in their communities," said Hassan, a doctoral student in education leadership who speaks three languages (Somali, German, and English). "It's no longer a surprise to walk into a room of leaders in this field and there are more LEND fellows than not.

This new opportunity will be an amazing way to continue to work on the things we all love and feel passionate about." "[Hassan's] training as a marriage and family therapist was very interesting to us because of her commitment to the family unit, which is at the crux of what we do," said AuSM Executive Director Ellie Wilson (MNLEND Fellow, 2010-11). "Her specific training in autism and inclusion of diverse families, including her MNLEND experience, also brings a deep network of contacts and knowledge. So many times, people say when they complete an education that they;ll never use it in the real world. The LEND program gave us things we use every day."