Land’s End Hike

UPDATE: See below for a couple of pix from a day with perfect hike weather, great conviviality all around, and Garbo the dog!

Let’s do it again! Last year AASCEND‘s hike at Land’s End was a lot of fun and a great chance to get to know each other better. So in response to popular demand, on June 17 we’re strapping on our walking shoes and heading out again. The destination is San Francisco’s beautiful and easy-walkin’ Lands End. Come revel together in the calming natural world so many autistic people enjoy.

Land's End

There is food at the Lookout Cafe and Visitor Center where we’ll meet, but you might want to bring a snack. Come enjoy together one of the most lovely spots on this beautiful round world!

The Irresistible Force (AASCEND hikers!) meets the Immovable Object (the hill):

Hikers going up hill

Will takes a shift with Garbo:

Garbo the dog

When: Sat June 17, 10am – noon(+)
Where: Lands End Lookout Cafe and Visitor Center 680 Point Lobos Ave, SF,CA 94121 – located in the parking lot near 48th Ave & Pt. Lobos Ave. map

There is parking in the mentioned lot by the Visitor’s Center and also a smaller lot across the street and along El Camino del Mar. The 38 bus line stops at 48th Ave & Pt Lobos Ave. about 100 yards up from the Lookout.

Neurodiversity at Pinterest, in Combined Job Club and General Meeting May 20

(Be sure to read all announcements below…)

After a great brunch celebrating “Autism Advancement Month” in April, come have a closer look at AASCEND‘s renowned Job Club on May 20, when in a special one-time event we move the Job Club from its usual date to our general meeting so that all can see how it’s run, and benefit from a discussion on neurodiversity employment by Abby Maldonado of internet powerhouse Pinterest.

Abby MaldonadoAbby Maldonado is a Diversity Programs Manager at Pinterest. She helps lead Pinterest’s efforts to diversify its workforce through external outreach and by implementing data driven internal programs. Prior to her diversity role, Abby managed Pinterest’s intern program as a member of the University Recruiting team and travelled to campuses to recruit the next generation of Pinterest employees. She is a member of the Workforce Investment San Francisco Board. Abby earned a degree in labor relations from Cornell University’s ILR School.

The Job Club will continue as usual after the Pinterest presentation.

When: Sat May 20, 10am – 1pm
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


AND… (Note special event Wednesday May 3, 6pm) 

There will be a book signing and library discussion by AASCEND friend Donna Levin, author of the new novel There’s More Than One Way Home about a family with a child on the autism spectrum who is accused of the murder of a classmate. Join Donna at her book launch on Sunday, April 30, 2017 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm at the main Books Inc. store, Opera Plaza in San Francisco, on Van Ness between Golden Gate and Turk. Food and wine will be served; please RSVP to DonnaLevinsf@gmail.com.

Then on May 3rd, Donna will be giving a talk at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library on “Translating Your Experiences with Autism into Memoir or Fiction”, encouraging adults on the autism spectrum and family members to write about their experiences. Her presentation will begin at 6:00 pm. For more information, contact SF Librarian Laura Lay at laura.lay@sfpl.org or Donna at DonnaLevinsf@gmail.com.


ALSO…

AASCEND has received an invitation from  LinkedIn for Job Club members to visit its San Francisco offices for a general presentation on how to use LinkedIn and develop a profile, followed by lunch, then one-to-one work with LinkedIn employees on profile development. This should be an informative and fun outing! The date will be Friday May 19 and the time (not yet firm) will be about noon to 2.  Space is limited, so if you’re interested RSVP right away to info@aascend.org.

Autism Advancement Month Brunch + Virtual Job Fair!

The Autism Look-Alikes panel in March was remarkable for its courage, candor, and insight. Coming up on April 15 (taxes aren’t due till after the weekend) AASCEND honors Autism Awareness Month, or as we have come to call it Autism Advancement Month, with a brunch celebrating all autism has to offer. Come to meet, and stay for the warmth and the fun!

We will have some food but it’s a potluck, so bring something to share if you can. As always all are welcome and it’s free. No RSVP is necessary. If this is your first visit to AASCEND then a special welcome to you!

Please note later than usual start time.

When: Sat Apr 15, 11am – 1:30pm (10am set-up)
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map


ALSO…

Software giants SAP, Microsoft and others are sponsoring an Autism at Work Summit in Silicon Valley April 12 – 14. They are also hosting a Virtual Job Fair along with the Summit. Grab this employment opportunity! It all happens online. Find further information here:

Job Fair Description

Job Fair Signup

When: Thursday Apr 13, noon – 2pm
Where: Online

 

Autism Look-Alikes (and tag-alongs)

(Read below for special invitation from BBC TV)

AASCEND‘s March 18 program will feature a panel of people who have experienced conditions that either look a bit like autism, or often occur with it. There are planned representatives of disorders in NonVerbal Learning, Social Pragmatic Communication, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity, Obsessive/Compulsion, and Depression.

Leonardo Portrait Rainbow

Do you have a condition that overlaps autism? Come share your story.

When: Sat March 18, 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

ALSO:

Optomen Productions, the TV production company behind Employable Me on BBC television, is looking for neurodiverse job seekers to be involved in a new production of Employable Me in the US.

Employable Me is the series where extraordinary job seekers aim to prove that neurological differences should be viewed as an asset rather than an obstacle in the workplace. With the help of experts who serve as mentors, these neurodiverse candidates unlock their hidden talents and  nd the job that best suits their unique skill sets and strengths.

Optomen is currently developing the project in the US and are actively seeking individuals on the autism spectrum who have struggled to  find employment, and wish to be involved in the US program.

For clips and additional information on the UK series, please visit the following:

https://vimeo.com/162540081 password: job123

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0755nyq/clips

If you’re interested in being part of the show or learning more about the project, please contact Sarah Glaser at Optomen Productions for additional information.

casting@optomenusa.com

Geek Club Books!

(AASCEND TV nabs prize! See below.)

At AASCEND’s February 18 meeting we’ll hear from Jodi Murphy, founder of Geek Club Booksan autism-centered nonprofit production company inspired by her son Jonathan, who will also present at the meeting. Geek Club Books seeks to change perceptions about autism and to put an end to the stigma surrounding the condition. Their approach is to be a part of modern popular culture—to educate children and adults about autism using storytelling and entertainment. Their goals are to engage and delight while increasing the public’s understanding about autism. Each project includes autistic contributors, educational specialists, and clinical partners. Current projects have included the production of digital comics, storybook app, curriculum, webisode series, digital content, classroom visits and online community engagement.

Geek Club Books logo

Jonathan, who is also an established SAG-AFTRA voice actor working under the professional name Jonathan Cormur, will also be present to talk about his involvement in projects at Geek Club Books.

Speaking of AASCEND, Jodi and Jonathan report they “would love to explore how we can support each other, collaborate and/or bring opportunities for others on the spectrum to share their talents with the world (and get paid for it).” This promises to be a fascinating presentation highlighting real opportunities for people on the autism spectrum. Don’t miss it!

When: Sat February 18, 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…

Congratulations to the whole AASCEND team behind the cable TV and YouTube television show, Life on the Autism Spectrum, winners in the category of Best Education and Instruction Show – by viewer acclaim! – at the 2016 SF Commons Awards held this month in San Francisco. Kudos especially to stalwarts Stacey Kennedy, Will Bernick, Keith Halperin, Michael Bernick – and producer Matthew McIntyre here accepting the award for the crew:

Matthew McIntyre accepting award

Paul Nussbaum and the team fronted by Ascendigo has survived the grueling Greenland-prep trip between Aspen and Vail Colorado! A sequence of reports ran: 1. “This Sunday our team will begin their second trip to prepare for the Greenland expedition. Greenland is the vision of an autistic athlete [Paul Nussbaum] who will co-lead a neurodiverse team across the great icecap.” 2. “Conditions are proving to be difficult, but they are still continuing their hike with high spirits. Last night they camped around the Betty Bear Hut, near Thomasville. Four more days left of their 100 mile excursion!” 3. “Despite very challenging climate conditions, the Greenland Expedition team was able to travel in 6 days further than they did in Yellowstone [last year] and at 4,000-5,000 feet higher elevation, no one suffered any serious cold weather related injuries, and everyone’s spirits remained high.” Way to go, Paul! Here is some of his journey as relayed by (somewhat glitchy) satellite:

Aspen to Vail satellite route map

AASCEND friend Robin Steward has created a survey about education regarding menstruation, for autistic people, at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QHJ38GH She invites the participation of those interested.

If you are the parent of an autistic adult you may want to respond to a survey for a project titled, “Parental Factors Related to the Work Participation of Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder”. Details and the survey are here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PFWPASD

Finally, API Wellness in San Francisco has groups for transgender and gender non-conforming people on the neurodiversity spectrum, including autism. More information is available at apiwellness.org

 

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!