Autism and the Creative Economy

Autistic people sometimes have unusual creative talents. At AASCEND‘s February 20 meeting Donald Cohen will lead an exploration of how these talents can open paths to employment for people on the autism spectrum.

Donald Cohen is executive director of In The Public Interest, a Washington D.C.-based research and policy center. He is also the father of a 27-year old on the spectrum, who is an exceptional writer with an amazing imagination and a love of movies, books (science fiction and fantasy), comics, graphic novels, and table top RPG’s among other things.  

Donald is currently doing research to develop a program to find possible career paths for “creatives”, tapping the unique talents of these creative autistic adults and helping integrate them into the working world. He’s conducting interviews to better understand creative industries, their needs and potential opportunities.   Find out what he has learned and bring your own creative ideas!

When: Sat Feb 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/hr.

P.S. To watch last month’s film, Autism in Lovefree on PBS til April click here !     (You may have to click around a bit and wait through an ad to get to the film, but it’s there.)

Romance on the Spectrum

Dating and romantic relationships are perennial challenges for people on the autism spectrum. At AASCEND‘s January 16 general meeting we’ll be showing the film Autism in Love. Arthur Ryel-Lindsey of the Tribeca Film Festival writes about the film,
With beautiful cinematography and remarkable compassion, [Director Matt] Fuller examines the everyday realities of autistic adulthood, showing how the members of this often-misunderstood community cope with the challenge of keeping romance alive over the years. Capturing both the joys and heartbreak of love, Fuller emphasizes struggles that are only too familiar, creating in Autism in Love a relatable and winning celebration of accepting the differences in others and in ourselves.”

                                                

Following the screening there will be a panel discussion by spectrum adults in relationships — relating first-hand the challenges of autistic love. Come share your own stories and questions about dating and romance on the spectrum!

PLUS Hear Paul Nussbaum’s preliminary report on the Greenland-prep expedition in Yellowstone! Details to follow at a later AASCEND meeting. Follow the ongoing expedition here. (Be sure to zoom way in on the interactive map!)
                                                                                                        

When: Sat Jan 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. There is also metered street parking for $2/hr.

Breaking News: Icy Autism Expedition Underway

AASCEND board member Paul Nussbaum — veteran and leader of the AASCEND Conquering Heights trans-Sierra expedition — along with a team of eight assembled by autism sports organization Ascendigo have embarked on a nine-day ski expedition across the frigid winter desolation of Yellowstone National Park. This grueling excursion is by way of preparation for a planned expedition across the Greenland ice cap next year,  highlighting autistic teamwork and abilities. The team is now hauling sledges heavily laden with supplies and gear, as it will be doing in the Arctic. Meanwhile temperatures on the journey are fated to drop below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, approximating Greenland conditions. Follow their progress courtesy of expedition member and radioman Douglas Paley at this interactive map. (Be sure to zoom in!) Here’s Paul on earlier expeditions:

Paul Nussbaum in ski gear     

Happy Holidays!

The AASCEND holiday party was a memorable event, with the Arc of SF providing the lovely setting for an evening of food, games, conviviality — and heartwarming (as well as spectacular) musical performances. 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!


AASCEND Holiday Party!

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—with songs by AASCEND stars Stacey, Brian, and Brie — 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 in the square!

When:  Sat Dec 19,   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.

Horses and other Animals!

Many autistic people feel a special affinity for animals. Here’s autistic luminary Temple Grandin in her book, Animals in Translation: “I wasn’t any horse-whispering autistic savant, either. I just loved the horses. … I got through my teenage years thanks to my squeeze machine and my horses. … Animals saved me.”

At AASCEND‘s November 21 meeting we’ll watch clips about the autism-horse connection from the film Horse Boy (based on the New York times best-seller) and we’ll hear from Joell Dunlap, founder of the Square Peg Foundation, which brings autistic children and young adults together with horses. The foundation also employs people on the autism spectrum part-time. Let’s see whether work with horses and other animals might help some autistic adults!

Come with your own animal stories and your curiosity…

(Photo by O. Rufus Lovett and Justin Hennard)

When: Sat Nov 21, 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.

Scams, Plans, and Living on a Shoestring

Have you ever been scammed? Did you fall for some trick online or elsewhere that ended up costing you money or grief?  At AASCEND‘s October 17 meeting we’ll be talking about ways to recognize trick deals so that you don’t fall for them. Bring your experiences to the meeting and we can all learn from each other. 

Next we’ll talk about “living on a shoestring”, how to eat and keep clothes on your back and a roof over your head for very little money — in one of the most expensive places to live in the US, the San Francisco Bay Area. How do you pay less for food and clothes? Do you have any tricks to keep your costs down? What about sources of financial aid? Most of us have a lot of experience with these problems, so let’s pass our helpful tips on to each other!

Hobo Dogs

Finally we’ll plan for upcoming meetings and our yearly Book Club reading!

When: Sat Oct 17, 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.

AASCEND Picnic in the Park!

Join the festivities at AASCEND‘s annual potluck picnic in the park Saturday September 19. 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 19, Noon-3pm at Tables 13 to 18 in Hellman Hollow GG Park ( X on map)
             GG Park Map

See you there!

Autism Advocacy Today

On August 15 AASCEND hosts a panel discussion about the needs of the autism community at the level of local, state and national politics. Panel participants will include Stacy Shaw, chair of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network in Sacramento; Ed Denebeim, board member of the FDR Democratic Club of San Francisco — an organization dedicated to empowering seniors and people with disabilities; and Louise Katz, board member of the Autism Society of San Francisco and an attorney providing legal services for individuals needing regional center eligibility or services. These are some of the questions for the panel — and for you:

  • What are the global needs of the autism community?
  • What advocacy efforts are already underway?
  • What new initiatives need to be started?
  • What political and other obstacles are facing autism advocacy?
  • How can people get involved and help out?

Come bring your own ideas and join the ferment!

crowd in front of capitol

When: Sat Aug 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. There is also metered street parking for $2/hr.

Autism Advocacy + Soc. Sec. WORKSHOP

At the July meeting on autism and Social Security Ron Kurlander and Andy Chu of San Francisco’s Positive Resource Center expertly answered a barrage of questions from an audience hungry for information. They invited AASCEND’s particpiants to attend one of their free monthly workshops on Social Security benefits, held at 10 am on the last Friday of each month, at 785 Market St. #10 in San Francsico. The next workshop will be held on July 31. RSVP to (415) 777-0333 to confirm a space in the workshop.

In the works for AASCEND‘s August 15 meeting is a panel and discussion of the needs of the autism community at the level of local, state and national politics. Bring your own ideas and stay tuned for details!

crowd in front of capitol

When: Sat Aug 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. There is also metered street parking for $2/hr.