AASCEND Holiday Party

Next up — party! Join adults on the spectrum, friends, family and autism professionals to celebrate the holidays and AASCEND’s 15th birthday. There will be entertainment, Nintendo Wii, pool, community and more. Let’s celebrate our amazing longevity! It’s a potluck and we will have food and birthday cake, but bring something to share if you can.  As always, the party is free and all are welcome.

Be there and be square like the reindude. No sensory overload there!

When:  Sat Dec 6,   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.

Trauma Warriors: How we heal from trauma in autism

Please join us November 15 when AASCEND screens the film Trauma Warriors featuring adults with autism as they discuss the effects of trauma in childhood and their stories of survival as adults. Many people with autism experience trauma and are bullied at school or are harassed at work and in public as adults. Too often this leads down the difficult path to disorders like PTSD. Trauma Warriors is a project of the Autistic Global Initiative, an organization composed of adults on the autism spectrum. AGI head Val Paradiz says, ”We are determined to get this important message out there, not only for adults who need support in recovery from trauma, but also for children with autism and their families.” The film had its Bay Area premier at AASCEND’s recent Innovation at Work conference.

The Trauma Warriors screening will be followed by an open discussion of tools we use to heal from trauma in autism. Bring your experience and positive stories of what has helped you. The meeting is open to adults on the autism spectrum, their family and friends, and professionals who work with them. This and all AASCEND general meetings are free, though donations are welcome!

When: Sat November 15, 10am – Noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103  map   

Parking is available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays.

Innovation at Work Conference Goes Well

The Innovation at Work conference — AASCEND’s 8th and celebrating our 15th anniversary — was a pretty darn huge success! (program & details) Keynote speaker Alex Plank, founder of the premier autism online community WrongPlanet, highlighted the increased media presence of people on the autism spectrum and detailed vital efforts to ensure accurate portrayals. Keynote Jose Velasco, vice president at software giant SAP, outlined revolutionary efforts to hire autistic people in Silicon Valley. Other companies similarly presented at the special Friday session for Silicon Valley employers. These changes herald a sea change in autism employment. AASCEND continues to play a significant role in supporting and accelerating this change so that it becomes embedded in the culture of employment and not just a fad.

Many wonderful and brilliant people presented on panels and in the bracing variety of breakout sessions. Many others worked behind the scenes to make the conference a success. Thank you all! The Women’s Panel in particular was an inspiring presence at the conference.

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! (Click the first picture for a slideshow with captions.)

AASCEND’s Annual Picnic

Join the festivities at AASCEND‘s annual potluck picnic in the park Saturday September 13. All are welcome for an afternoon of informal socializing and games with our community. Maybe we’ll get needed rain again! This year the picnic will be held at Hellman Hollow (formerly Speedway 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.

AASCEND Picnic 2013

Sept 13, Noon-3pm Tables 12 – 16 in Hellman Hollow GG Park ( X on map)

GG Park Map

Moving our bodies, Organizing our lives

Many autistic people have complicated relationships with their own bodies: Some have unusual gaits or feel trapped in their bodies and some enjoy “stims” like rocking and hand-flapping. Join AASCEND August 16 for an experimental adventure as we invite movement specialist Greacian Goeke to guide us in exercises with music that can make us feel more at home in our physical selves. (Family too!) Mind and body are connected and so it’s possible that freeing movements can help in autism. Let’s find out together! This is an opportunity not to miss.

After the break we’ll explore together the difficulties we have in organizing our activities and our lives — and share with each other organizational strategies that have worked for us. If time is limited we will return to this important subject at a later meeting.

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

Parking is available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays.

AASCEND Innovation at Work Conference October 18 in SF!

AASCEND hosts its seventh (and 15th-Anniversary!) conference about adult autism on Sat October 18 in San Francisco, with a special program for software employers on the 17th.

Keynote Alex Plank, Creator of Wrong Planet, the web community designed for individuals  (and parents/professionals of those) with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, PDDs and other neurological differences.

Keynote Jose Velasco, Autism at Work at SAP in Silicon Valley
“Innovation comes from the edges. That’s why SAP plans to recruit hundreds of people with autism, making use of their unique talent for information technology.” SAP TV



The program features Autism at Work in Silicon Valley, The Autism Job Club, Autism on LinkedInWomen’s Issues on the Spectrum, Friends Like Me, Autism and Trauma, The Autistic Global Initiative, Michelle Winner, Paulette Pensvalto of GRASP, Meditation for Sensory Overload, representatives from DOR, SF State, UC Berkeley, CSUEB, CCSF, CIP, … with CEU’s, and much more!


-Special Friday Session for Employers
-Women in Autism
-Employment on the Spectrum
Breakout Sessions
Social Thinking, Designing Autism-Friendly Opportunities, Linkedin: A Tool for Autism Employment, Becoming an Autism Professional,  Meditation for Sensory Overload, Interpersonal Communication Styles, Autistic Global Initiative, Autism Support in College Programs
Don’t miss this opportunity to mix and mingle with the Autism community!
Seven Hills Conference Center, SFSU
October 18, 9:00 am-4:00 pm

Autism in France + Do Vitamins Help?

At AASCEND‘s July 26 meeting: France has long had a doubtful reputation in the world of autism. AASCEND member Anne-Laure Davin (“Anlor”) is a native of France formally diagnosed as autistic. She feels that she survived her autism “only by escaping to America.” During a recent return to France Anlor and AASCEND co-chair Greg Yates took a look at the current state of affairs in France. Come to the July 26 meeting of AASCEND to hear of their adventures! Change is in the air in France and there is encouraging progress to report.

This picture from the Autisme Alliance 85 website reads, “There was a superb General Assembly last night. The testimony of Anne-Laure and Greg was so moving and valuable for parents, professionals and youth with autism present. It was truly a great moment!!”

ALSO AASCEND invites researchers from UCSF to speak on their studies to see whether substances like Vitamin B12 can help social communication in adult autism. The idea is not to cure autism but to give individuals information about tools they can choose to test if they wish.

When: Sat July 26, 10am – Noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103  map 

Disability on Campus and in Life

AASCENis taking a Spring Break in May but returns afresh on June 21 for a conversation with Paul Hippolitus, Director of the Disabled Students Program at UC Berkeley. Paul will speak on Disability Perspectives: What’s needed to compete in Life and Work and the new course he has developed  at UC Berkeley. Paul has served in the US Department of Labor and on the President’s Committee on the  Employment of People with Disabilities. Please join us for this important and informative discussion!

When: Sat June 21, 10am – Noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103  map   NOTE: The garage on 12th Street is open again! — with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays.

AASCEND’s Small Business Showcase was a great success, with presentations by a fine artist with work featured online at CB2.com, a computer tune-up master, a pet care expert, a piano tuner and jazz organist, a creator and Etsy.com seller of art and jewelry, and two experienced handymen — all on the autism spectrum.

The film Too Sane for This World, featuring many AASCEND members, is now available to stream online at Amazon and (the less expensive) Cinema Libre. The film received this positive review in the UK.

In other news AASCEND received this lovely thank you for a recent presentation at San Francisco State University:

Small Business Showcase, Autism Society + News

Come be inspired by the Small Business Showcase at AASCEND‘s April 26 meeting – a self-employment forum where members present their small businesses, talk about what they offer and about the ups and downs of running a small business on the spectrum. Find the service you’ve been looking for or get inspiration to be an entrepreneur yourself!

The April 26 meeting will be a double-header: We will also be joined by Jill Escher, president of the Autism Society of the San Francisco Bay Area, to talk about how our organizations can work together and what we have to offer each other.When: Sat Apr 26, 10am – Noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103  map

In other news, the film Too Sane for This World, featuring many AASCEND members has been released on DVD by Cinema Libre Films. The film just received this very positive review in the UK. 

Software giant SAP has discovered the autism advantage in the untapped talents of people on the autism spectrum! AASCEND co-chair Greg Yates recently represented autistic adults and our organization at a nationally-publicized event announcing SAP’s new Autism at Work training and hiring program. The program is off to a great start and we’ll all be cheering its further development. (That’s Greg in the green.)

Here’s a sample of the nationally-syndicated NBC TV report on the event.

Givens & Nemko in a Live Musical Tribute to Autism!

As a young child, they called Jeffrie Givens retarded. Then they called her shy, very shy. Then she was diagnosed with Asperger’s. Now they call her amazing. She has a solid day job as a researcher and an even better night job as a singer and actor. In the last five years, she has performed for thousands of people. At the AASCEND meeting on Mar. 15, you can see her show, “Retard!”  In it, her career and performance coach Dr. Marty Nemko interviews her to reveal her story and accompanies her on the keyboard. Radio star Marty Nemko (“The Bay Area’s Best Career Coach” — SF Bay Guardian) led a lively discussion of autism employment at an AASCEND meeting in 2012.

Tell your friends about this exciting special AASCEND presentation!

When: Sat Mar 15, 10am – Noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103  map