AASCEND at OCALI, DC Leaders Summit, and in France: 1st-hand reports

(Be sure to check out the news items following the meeting announcement.)

What’s happening in adult autism across the nation and across the seas? At AASCEND’s January 21 meeting hear first-hand reports by our members representing AASCEND and adult autism at the OCALI conference in Columbus Ohio, at the Autism Leaders Summit in Washington DC, and at personal meetings across France. There’s a lot going on across the nation and around the world: Don’t miss this informative and rather exciting report!

If there’s time we’ll also share with each other thoughts on autism-related New Year’s resolutions, or why we object to such silly things!

When: Sat January 21, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103  map

Parking is often available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2/hr.

IN OTHER NEWS…

Prof. Betty Yu at San Francisco State is looking for participants in a study about this question:

Do you feel your experience with autism has been influenced by your cultural, racial, or ethnic identity?

Dr. Yu is reaching out to people in the autism community to interview them about this topic. If you are interested in sharing your perspective with her, please email her (bettyyu@sfsu.edu) or call her at (510) 708-1923.

ALSO:

The AASCEND Job Club was very fortunate to arrange a presentation by Ann Weeby, Director of Workforce Innovation at Salesforce, this Saturday, January 14, 10am at the Arc of SF (address above). Salesforce is an international leader in cloud-based customer-relations management. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear what is sure to be a very worthwhile presentation on diversity hiring in this environment.

Happy Holidays!

AASCEND celebrated another of the great holiday parties for which it has become so well known. Once again the Arc of SF provided the lovely setting for the evening of food, games, conviviality — and inspiring musical performances by four AASCEND members, not counting the talented DJ! Thanks to all who helped make this celebration a success. AASCEND wishes all a holiday season filled with cheer, and a bright New Year!

Be sure to mark your calendar with the meeting dates listed to the right in UPCOMING  EVENTS.  Another season of great programs is in the works!


Holiday Party 2016!

It’s time again for that yearly favorite — the AASCEND Annual Holiday Potluck Party! Come join our community for food, conversation, music and good cheer. There will be Entertainment, Music, Santa D.J., Games, did we mention food, and a low-sensory space available. It’s a potluck, so bring food to share if you can — but if you can’t, show up anyway!

Be there and be cool like the reindude!

When:  Sat Dec 10,   2 – 5 pm
Where: The Arc of SF   1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103   map

Set up:    1:00 – 2:00
Party:        2:00 – 5:00
Food:        2:30 on
Cleanup:  5:00 – 5:30
Parking is available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2/hr.

SSI and ABLE Act Questions Answered

At AASCEND‘s November 19 meeting Michael Joyce, a Sacramento-area lawyer, will discuss the various stages of being awarded Supplemental Security Income, and the future of the Able Act in California.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a United States government program that provides stipends to low income people who are either aged 65 or older, blind, or disabled. Although administered by the Social Security Administration, SSI is funded from the U.S. Treasury general funds, not the Social Security trust fund.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act allows families with children with disabilities to save for college and other expenses in tax-deferred accounts. Recently signed into California law, the ABLE Act amends the Internal Revenue Service Code to allow use of tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. Families will be allowed to use the funds in the savings accounts to cover education, housing, medical and transportation expenses, among others.

ABLE Act logoBoth of these subjects are very important to the autism community. We look forward to hearing your questions about them at this informative event! All are welcome and as always it’s free – with no donations turned away for presence of funds!

When: Sat November 19, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103  map

Parking is often available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2/hr.

Neurodiversity Conference a Hit!

AASCEND’s 9th conference on adult autism, Neurodiversity Leaders 2016, was an inspiring success! Keynote speakers Sondra Williams, winner of the Ohio State Governor’s award for her autism advocacy work, and Dr. Hackie Reitman, former heavyweight boxer, physician, and founder of the online neurodiversity community Different Brains, anchored the conference. The theme of autism as a form of neurodiversity rather than simply a disorder united the program. Panels and breakout sessions highlighted opportunities for autistic people in finance, employment, dating, sports, the arts, and other areas.

Main room at the conference

An array of remarkable people presented on panels and in a refreshing variety of breakout sessions. Many others worked behind the scenes to make the conference a success. Thank you to all!

Here are some pictures of the day. If we accidentally violated your privacy with any of the pictures please let us know so that we can fix the error, with our apologies. And if there isn’t a picture of you it’s likely we just didn’t have one!

Oct AASCEND meet and Job Club will be at the Conference

The October regular AASCEND meeting and Job Club meeting will be at the conference on October 8. See you there!

Calling Job Club participants and all adults on the autism spectrum: Come on down to the AASCEND Conference on October 8! We need your participation so spectrum voices are heard at the breakout sessions. Some free registrations are available to you thanks to mysterious benefactors, so act now and sign up here. Or just email info@aascend.org and we’ll do it for you!

The Online Job Club will continue as usual.

Affordable Housing for the Autistic Community

Making Ground – Affordable Housing Solutions for the Autistic Community

At AASCEND’s Sept 17 meeting, Jamie Doyle of Oculus Architects will speak about affordable housing solutions for the autistic community in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. Jamie Doyle is an award-winning architect with 25 years of experience in the provision of social and affordable housing.  In the context of the current overall housing crisis and the shortage of suitable and affordable accommodation for the expanding autistic population, Oculus Architects, in collaboration with members of the autistic community, have developed a range of research design proposals, titled “Making Ground”.

These proposals include innovative ways of getting cheap land in the right locations, designing housing tailored to the needs of autism and using cost-efficient design solutions. The proposals look at different forms of supportive housing and the provision of support services. They also look at the integration of autistic housing within developments for the broader population and housing developments intended solely for the autistic community. The proposals illustrate the potential to create affordable uplifting homes and communities for the autistic population. Rather than defining this issue as a problem to be solved these proposals highlight this need as an opportunity to foster the positive contribution of autistics to the wider community.

Jamie will talk about these research proposals and hopes to start a conversation with the audience and wider autistic community to explore these and other potential solutions.

The general meeting will start at 10:00AM and conclude at 12:00PM.

AASCEND Picnic in the Park!

The picnic was a great success in spite of the initial cold weather and wet ground. After valiant members helped set up around 11:00, 45 or more picnickers arrived on and off until 3:00 and we all hung out until 4:00.  Jim made fantastic barbecued chicken and there was plenty of good food to share! We had some Frisbee and badminton players later in the day  and  in typical Richmond District style, the sun came out as we were packing up. Thanks to all who helped!

 


It’s time again for AASCEND‘s annual potluck picnic in the park Saturday August 13. Note that this is the second not the usual third Saturday of the month! All are welcome for an afternoon of informal socializing and games with our community. This year’s picnic will be held at Lindley Meadow in Golden Gate Park. We will have food and drink, but bring something to share if you can. No RSVP is necessary. Set-up begins at 11:00 AM.

Sat Aug 13, Noon-3pm at Tables 5 to 9 in Lindley Meadow GG Park (see map)

See you there!

When Autistics are Victims of Crime

People on the autism spectrum are often, sadly, the victims of crime and abuse. A general openness, lack of guile, and difficulty navigating social cues make autistic adults easy targets for harmful activity.

At AASCEND‘s July 16 meeting Gena Castro Rodriguez, PsyD, of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office will speak about resources and strategies for people who have become crime victims. Gena is Chief of Victim Services and Parallel Justice at the Office of District Attorney George Gascón. The Victim Services Division of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office serves nearly 8000 victims of crime each year. Gena will speak about the services, supports and resources available to help victims of crime mitigate the trauma, navigate the criminal justice system and rebuild their lives. Come with your own stories and learn how others have coped with their stories using these helpful services and tools.

We look forward to seeing you at this informative event. All are welcome and as always it’s free – with no donations turned away for presence of funds!

When: Sat July 16, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103  map

Parking is often available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2/hr.


In other news, long-time AASCEND member and new author Anlor Davin is starting a basic meditation group for autistic and neurodiverse adults. The group will meet at Dominican University in San Rafael on first Saturdays of the month starting in October. Beginners and practitioners of all faiths or none are welcome. The group is free. See Autsit.net for details.