Our Story


Matthew “Matty” Thomas Olson was born in February, 2007, son of Kent and Laura Olson, Brooklyn Park, MN. Matty had a quick but otherwise traditional birth and through the first few years of his life, everything seemed to be “typical”.

He hit all his developmental milestones as an infant and todd​ler. Between the ages of 3 and 4, however, something seemed to ​shift​. Matty was attending part time pre-school at the time and the school began noticing him moving to more of what some call “parallel play” with his friends. He was now playing next to them or near them…but he was no longer engaging with them in quite the same way.

At the same time, the need for additional stimulation was showing up at preschool as well. There were some unusual hand movements and Matty was also rubbing his face on the carpet during group time. At home, Kent and Laura were noticing some quiet​ humming sounds he was starting to make as well. They thought the sounds were cute and quite endearing, but could this be something to be concerned about? Ultimately, as a result of these discoveries, Kent and Laura​ – ​after some in-school observations were completed by the Washburn Center for Children (www.washburn.org) – ​set up a medical and psychological evaluation for Matty. 7 months later, the diagnoses was in. Matty had A​utism.

From this point forward the Olson’s became ​consistent readers and investigators of resources available to Matty and the Autism community​​. Included in these efforts was the creation of “Matty’s Puzzle Pack”, their fundraising team. Matty’s Puzzle Pack was a very successful team for two other charities, becoming the #1 fundraising team in 4 of the last 5 events they participated in. The Olsons discovered they clearly had the passion and the skill to create awareness and raise money for others. As they worked and met so many wonderful people, they learned there were so many kids and families with far greater needs than theirs. Kent and Laura – along with Matty himself, their daughter Katie…and the help of so many amazing friends and family – established Twin Cities Autism Foundation in 2015.

In 2016, with your help, Twin Cities Autism Foundation is honored to launch it’s first events and award it’s first “scholarships”! Today we exist to shine a light on the great works done by so many in the Autism community. We will advocate for those people and organizations that provide tools and resources for those with ASD to succeed. As we increase funding, we will provide financial aid to families in need so they might access these tools and resources that are not otherwise covered by current insurance protocols. Please reach out if you have any questions, and be sure to let us know if there is anything we can do for YOU!


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