What Box? The Autism Advantage in Science

In Asperger’s they say, “What Box?” — Tony Atwood

The world we live in today would be radically different without the contributions of autistic scientists. Everything from spacecraft and computers to MRI scanners, cellphones, and the Internet can be traced through autistic minds. At AASCEND‘s January 20 meeting AASCEND Co-Chair Gregory Yates explores the history of autism as rocket fuel for scientific innovation — obvious in the lives of autistic scientists Henry Cavendish and Paul Dirac, and in the out-of-the-box thinking of autistic “cousins” like Newton, Darwin, Kurt Godel, Alan Turing, and even Albert Einstein. Without autism and strongly autistic traits we would be living in a dark age.

Greg will also take a brief tour through his own scientific work on how brains are built, as detailed in his book Dragon Puzzle Story, and trace in detail exactly where autism played a role in its development.  

As computer programmers like to say about their oddly-behaving programs, and that one might also say about some autism, “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!” It’s the Autism Advantage in Science.

When: Sat Jan 20, 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 $2.25/hr

Job Club 2018 Brainstorming Session

Happy New Year! Start 2018 right! At AASCEND‘s January 6 Job Club set your individual employment goals and develop strategies for achieving them with fellow Job Club members. Discussion, ASD focus class and individualized LinkedIn and resume assistance.

As always, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program.

For more information about employment on the autism spectrum, join us at:
Spectrum Employment Community by AASCEND on LinkedIn

Special thanks to the Autism Studies Department at SFSU for volunteers!


Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat January 67, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map

Parking is usually available in the garage at 255 12th Street, with a reasonable flat rate for Saturdays. There is also metered street parking for $2.25/hr.

Holiday Party!

It’s time again to git down at the AASCEND Annual Holiday Potluck Party! Come join our community for food, conversation, entertainment and good cheer. There will be Musical stylings by AASCEND members, Games, Santa D.J., More 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!

Party Graphic with "cool" reindeer

and the reindude sez hey, join the fun!

When:  Sat Dec 9,   noon – 4 pm
Where: The Arc of SF   1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103   map

Set up:    noon – 1:00
Party:        1:00 – 4:00
Food:        1:30 on
Cleanup:  4:00 – 4:30

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.

Human Rights on the Spectrum

At AASCEND’s November 18 general meeting, San Francisco Human Rights Commission Executive Director Sheryl Davis will explain what the HRC does, what its plans are for the future and how our community can get involved. Are people on the autism spectrum discriminated against because of their autism? Can anything be done to prevent discrimination and bullying?

Come with your own experiences and questions about your basic human rights on the spectrum – as they are by law, and as you feel they should be.

As always, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program.

When: Sat Nov 18, 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. There is also metered street parking for $2/hr.

Disclosure: Why, When and How

At AASCEND‘s November 4 Job Club Brian Jacobs of Emergence Capital Partners will lead a program on the topic of Disclosure. For many job candidates on the autism spectrum, it is better to proactively discuss how they are impacted by autism and how it will affect their employment.

Disrsclosing autism takes confidence and practice, but if done properly, it can help employers understand your capabilities and accommodate your particular needs. We’ll tall about how to have a productive discussion with potential employers.

As always, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program.

Noon-1:00 PM: Job interview practice, LinkedIn support, AS focus class

For more information about employment on the autism spectrum, join us at:
Spectrum Employment Community by AASCEND on LinkedIn

Special thanks to the Autism Studies Department at SFSU for volunteers!


Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat November 4, 10am – 1pm
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map

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

 

Security Checks, Pat Downs and the Autism Spectrum

Security screening has become a regular element of public life. We encounter security checks at public buildings, stadiums and airports. These procedures can be extremely difficult for spectrum adults and can lead to difficulties with security personnel.

At AASCEND‘s October 21 meeting, in an interactive presentation, Liz McDonough MFT/RDT will begin to explore these issues through discussion and role play. We will also identify next steps for educating security guards and their employers about the autism spectrum.

Come with your own stories of going through security checks, and what you would like  security officers to know about you. This is our chance to learn and to teach.

When: Sat Oct 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


The Superfest International Disability Film Festival is coming to Berkeley November 4, and San Francisco November 5. Every film will be captioned and audio described, and all live dialogue will be available with American Sign Language and live captioning, no requests required! Details at Superfestfilm.com.

DOR on Job Coaches, + Self-Employment Assistance

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and henceforth we are moving our regular Job Club announcements to our front page! Click the Job Club link to the right for general information about the Job Club.

At AASCEND‘s October 7 Job Club

Theresa Woo
District Administrator
California State Department of Rehabilitation
will speak on

“The Effective Job Coach and How to Find One”

with

Bill Pelter
of
Ability Now
discussing

“Assistance Possible for Self-Employment Ventures”

As always, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives at the presentations.

Noon-1:00 PM: Job interview practice, LinkedIn support, AS focus class

For more information about employment on the autism spectrum, join us at:
Spectrum Employment Community by AASCEND on LinkedIn


Special thanks to the Autism Studies Department at SFSU for volunteers!

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat October 7, 10am – 1pm
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map

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


The next AASCEND general meeting will be on Saturday October 21. Stay tuned for details!

AASCEND Picnic in the Park!

AASCEND‘s 2017 picnic was a heartwarming success, with over fifty revelers attending, including a handful of welcome newcomers. There were piles of tasty food, with amazing barbecue courtesy of Jim Ullrey. The sun brought welcome warmth to winds that sent baseballs and birdies flying  and made us wish we’d brought kites. Conviviality and spirited conversation abounded, and it was a fine day all around!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s that time again! Join the festivities at AASCEND‘s annual potluck picnic in the park Saturday September 16. All are welcome for an afternoon of informal socializing and games with our community. This year’s picnic will be held again 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 2014
Sat Sept 16, Noon-3pmat Tables 1 to 6 in Hellman Hollow GG Park ( X on map)
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              GG Park Map
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These picnics are a lot of fun, and a good way to get to know our community if you are new. See you there!

 

Coping with Anxiety on the Spectrum

Are you autistic and often nervous or anxious? You are not alone. At AASCEND‘s August 19 combined general and Job Club meeting we will explore how to cope with autistic anxiety. Flying in from Australia to lead the discussion will be Holly Bridges, author of the book Reframing Your Thinking About Autism — in which she traces much of autistic anxiety to disregulation of a very old part of the nervous system, specifically involving the vagus nerve. She will share her experience working with autistic people to improve regulation of their stress response.

Holly has worked with various autism organisations in a variety of roles and she is now working in a private practice teaching people with autism how to help regulate and calm their nervous system. Holly founded a business called License to Think, so bring your own license to think and share what you think, and feel, about this or any other approaches to autistic anxiety that you have found helpful.

Around 11am the program will transition from coping with job-related anxiety, into our usual Job Club.

When: Sat Aug 19, 10am – 1pm (including Job Club)
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

Credit on the Spectrum

Are you mystified by how to get and use credit cards wisely, or do you have trouble managing the credit you already have? If so AASCEND‘s July 15 meeting is for you. Understanding and managing credit is an important part of financial life, but it is a part that  confuses and troubles many people on the autism spectrum. At our next general meeting Balance, the consumer credit counseling nonprofit at work in San Francisco for 45 years, will present a workshop on credit management. Come get your questions answered and get pointed in a good direction to have your credit problems solved.

cartoon man flattened by debt turns to smiley face

Please bring your stories of trouble getting, managing and keeping credit so we can all benefit from your experience!

When: Sat July 15, 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