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Grand opening event for new child autism center

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47)– On Sunday, Little Thistle Brewing Company hosted a grand opening event for Bluestem’s new center for Autism. The event also brought awareness to neurodiversity within the Autism community.

“Right now the most recent statistic in Minnesota is about one in 44 kiddos in Minnesota has currently a diagnosis of AST and that number at least in our area is a bit higher,” said Meagan Pittelko, co-founder and clinical director for Bluestem Center for Autism.

Sunday’s event included sign-up sheets, face painting, and take-home sensory bags.

“The spectrum is so wide and so diverse. And that’s really one of the biggest things that we want to promote is just neurodiversity in our community,” Pittelko said.

She said neurodiversity is about how a person’s brain works, which may be different than others.

“I’ve had kiddos who maybe struggle socially, they’re not able to sit and have a conversation. But they’re able to tell you every single fact about every single dinosaur that ever lived, and they know everything. Or I’ve had some kiddos who are nonverbal who are the most caring, kind individuals and are just always there to help their friends or cheer people up. These kids are incredible,” Pittelko said.

She said the new center should be open to service children by November.

The center will be located at the Bluestem Center for Child and Family Development building.

KaMaria Braye

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