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.

AASCEND’s Annual Picnic

        Click here for  >>>>> breaking news >>>>> about the AASCEND Job Club!

Come join the festivities at AASCEND‘s annual potluck picnic in the park Saturday September 21. All are welcome for an afternoon of informal socializing with our community. This year the picnic will be held at Marx 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.

Sept 21, Noon-3pm Tables 1 & 2 in Marx Meadow GG Park (North side near 25th Ave)



Temple Grandin’s “Autistic Brain”

Come join AASCEND Saturday August 17 as we discuss Temple Grandin’s fascinating new book The Autistic Brain, also available as an inexpensive ebook. How do Temple’s descriptions and insights compare with your own experience? If you just can’t get your hands on a copy of the book hear Temple describe the book in this video and come join the conversation anyway!

We look forward to seeing and hearing from you. All are welcome and as always it’s free!

When: Sat Aug 17, 10am – Noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103  map

The New Normal in Employment — and We in the Autism Community

The challenges autistic people face in employment are part of a larger picture. On Saturday July 20 AASCEND presents Michael Bernick, former director of the California State labor department,  speaking on the changing landscape of employment statewide and how it affects our autism community today. Discussion will follow: Come share your thoughts and experience!

Mr. Bernick, a Board member of AASCEND, is the former director of the California State Employment Development Department (California’s labor department), serving from 1999-2004. He currently is Counsel with the Sedgwick LLP law firm in San Francisco, and a Research Fellow in Employment with the Milken Institute. He is a graduate of Harvard College (BA), Oxford University (Balliol College, B. Phil), and the University of California Boalt Hall law school. 

All are welcome, and as always it’s free!

When: Sat Jul 20, 10am – Noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103  map