Women’s Expo features Mrs. Minnesota 2017

Staff photos by Clay Schuldt Mrs. Minnesota 2017, Stephanie Welter, visited the Women’s Expo. She address the crowds on autism awareness.

NEW ULM — The 4th Annual KNUJ Women’s Expo was host to dozens of vendors and special seminars Saturday at the New Ulm Event Center.

The Expo began at 9 a.m. and within the first two hours over 150 women had come through the doors.

This year the Expo welcomed a special guest — Stephanie Welter, the 2017 Mrs. Minnesota.

Welter is from Shakopee, but she has family in the New Ulm area. Several attendees were able to get their picture taken with Welter as she visited the various vendor booths.

Welter later spoke on the subject of autism. Welter has spent much of her life raising awareness for autism and has used her title as Mrs. Minnesota to talk about autism issue. Her son was diagnosed with autism at age two.

A wide variety of vendors and informational booths greeted attendees as the 4th annual KNUJ Women’s Expo on Saturday at the New Ulm Event Center.

Current statistics estimate one out of every 59 children has a form of autism, but in Minnesota autism rates are higher. A University of Minnesota study found one-in-42 children are on the autism spectrum.

Based on these numbers, Welter was confident everyone at the expo knew someone affect by autism.

Welter said autism presents on such a wide spectrum it can be hard to diagnose. Some individuals with autism have difficulty verbalizing, while others present genius level intellect.

“When it comes to autism I tell people to expect the unexpected,” Welter said.

Welter is a firm believer that autism is not a disability, but rather a “different ability.”

Miss New Ulm and her Princesses painted kids’ faces during the Women’s Expo.Above, Mariah Piotter painted a pink lightning bolt on 5-year-old Harper Francis face.

She applauded the media’s effort to show different and positive perspectives on autism. Welter cited the TV show “The Good Doctor,” which is about a brilliant young doctor with autism.

The Expo also featured a seminar on acupuncture and self-care. Acupuncturist Kayla Barlett spoke to room full of women on how acupuncture and the manipulation of pressure points can alleviate pain.

Barlett has worked as licensed acupuncturist at New Ulm Medical Center for the last two years.

Barlett said having an in-house acupuncturist is becoming popular at many medical centers in large communities, but is more rare in rural medical centers.

Most of Barlett’s medical referral are for pain related treatment, but she also treats patients for anxiety and metal issues.

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt NUMC Acupuncturist Kayla Barlett shows her audience the location of various pressure points in the hand.

“One of the nice things about acupuncture is we are not adding anything to the body,” Barlett said. “We’re just healing.”

Bartlett first became aware of the benefits of acupuncture while in high school. She was frequently sick but after her parents took her to an acupuncturist her health improved.

“It changed the way I look at the human body,” Barlett said.

Several women attending the seminar had questions on pain relief. Bartlett was able to show which pressure points on the body could be stimulated to relieve specific pain.

For Barlett the Expo was a unique opportunity to reach a group of women who would not normally consider acupuncture as a medical treatment.