AASCEND Conference Oct 18 — Save the Date!


AASCEND hosts another of its inspiring and informative conferences on Sat October 18 in San Francisco, with a special program for corporate employers on the 17th. We have first-rate keynote speakers lined up and a lively program addressing innovation in employment and at autism frontiers. Stay tuned for more details and mark your calendars!

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

LinkedIn on the Spectrum, and More

In addition to the planned LinkedIn workshop (see below) we will be screening the freshly minted short documentary film by filmmaker William Davenport – about Paul Nussbaum’s Conquering Heights trans-Sierra ski trip as sponsored by AASCEND a few years ago.

ALSO, after the meeting the Job Hunting Check-In group will convene with Keith Halperin. Be there!

As part of AASCEND‘s ongoing Employment Initiative we have created a LinkedIn group, Spectrum Employment Community by AASCEND as a resource for employers to tap the skills of people on the autism spectrum. The community is growing rapidly. If you want to join in this promising part of autism’s future and would like to start or improve your LinkedIn profile come to our February 2014 meeting. Bring your laptop, and if you are already skilled at using LinkedIn we invite you to come and help out. See you there!

When: Sat Feb 22, 10am – Noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103  map

Have Your Say for 2014

2014 will mark AASCEND‘s 15th anniversary and we are planning for a big year. Come to the January 18 AASCEND meeting to help us brainstorm for the year ahead. 

  • Brainstorm: Who would be a dynamite speaker for our planned 15th anniversary conference? What topics should we discuss in our monthly meetings? What speakers would you like to hear from and talk to? What are good nominees for our annual Book Club selection? Do you have new ideas for parties or social events? What advocacy issues should we pursue at the state level?
  • Get more involved: Join a committee! AASCEND needs your input. We can always use volunteers to staff a table at resource fairs.
  • Have your questions answered: Part of the meeting will be dedicated to group brainstorming of solutions to problems or questions YOU want to write (anonymously or not) and have the group address right at the January 18 meeting.

When: Sat Jan 18, 10am – Noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103  map

AASCEND Holiday Party!

Come celebrate the season at AASCEND’s Annual Holiday Potluck Party. Join our community for food, conversation and good cheer. Enjoy the vocal stylings of AASCEND favorite Stacey Kennedy and games courtesy of Friends Like Me. Bring food to share if you can. If you can’t, show up anyway!

Parking BULLETIN: Sadly, the previously announced 12th St. garage parking ceased weekend operation as of this week… : (

When:  Sat Dec 14,   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

Fun and Games

Join AASCEND members to play Pirate Monopoly, Nintendo Wi on giant screens, pool and more! Both expert players and newbies are welcome. Friends Like Me director, Lance Scott, will host and explain the new, free social opportunities available to AASCEND members through Friends Like Me! Join the fun!

Be there and be square. All are welcome and as always it’s free!

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

Miracle in the Rain

The universe scheduled the first torrential rain of the season (after months of drought conditions) to coincide with the day of AASCEND’s long-planned annual picnic. We thought we’d show up at Golden Gate Park’s Marx Meadow in the deluge, show the flag, eat some of the 6 foot sub and head home. When we arrived in the downpour, a man who had been to one of our meetings was patiently waiting for us by the assigned tables and said he needed to talk. We talked to him, put the sandwich under the plastic table cloth to keep it dry and actually enjoyed the absurdity of  a picnic in the rain. None of us expected what came next: One by one, people arrived in the rain carrying their potluck contributions. Soon we had two tables filled with food and more than thirty people, including some new people who had traveled quite a distance to attend. At some point an older man rode up on a bicycle and asked for advice for a single mom (his daughter I suspect) in Santa Cruz with a newly diagnosed three-year-old. He had seen the picnic online. Eventually the rain subsided, the park sparkled and people hung out until 4:00 or so. We left with a renewed understanding of the importance of AASCEND.

Enjoy the picnic photos here!

P.S. Please note that AASCEND’s October 19th meeting has been canceled due to a venue conflict.