Kelly Friesen

Registered Public Health Nurse


Kelly Friesen is a Registered Public Health Nurse with over 3 decades of Nursing experience.  She has dedicated her life to caring & advocating for others in a variety of acute care and community settings.  Her personal journey into autism advocacy began in 2001 when her son was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder at the age of 3.  This sparked a deep commitment to educate herself and others about autism, as well as to challenge the existing norms in disability advocacy.  In addition to taking numerous courses related to autism and neurodiversity, she completed her autism certification through the Autism Society of Minnesota in 2016.

In 2022, Kelly founded Friesen Holistic Services LLC to address an unmet need in her community.  She pioneered a new approach to autism care by providing Nurse Advocate Services.  Her innovative program aims to enhance life skills and foster independence for neurodiverse individuals, while also promoting local community inclusion, where individuals with autism can showcase their unique employment skills & social talents.  Kelly’s parent membership on the Minnesota Waiver Reimagine Advisory Committee and her testimony in the Minnesota Senate Human Services Committee are one of many ways she continues to be an active advocate for persons with disabilities and their families.

The mental health challenges that often accompany autism spectrum disorders have led Kelly to have a meaningful & impactful relationship with Law Enforcement.  The proactive interactions with Law Enforcement over the years have proven to be crucial for the social growth & development of her son.  The mentorship and real-life lessons provided by School Resource Officers have been invaluable, helping her son navigate life outside of the justice system.  In 2023, her connection to Law Enforcement grew even more personal when her daughter married a Police Officer.  Kelly’s informed policing instruction is not only a testament of her respect for the Law Enforcement profession but also serves as a bridge for fostering understanding and positive outcomes between the autism community and Law Enforcement.