A New Approach to Autism Hiring

Register now for the (FREE!) March 14 Stanford Neurodiversity Summit, including a Job Fair with Bay Area employers specifically interested in hiring autistic adults.
                    Conference Information and Eventbrite Registration


At AASCEND‘s February 15 general meeting Maisie Soetantyo, director of Autism Career Pathways, will talk about her groundbreaking approach to autism employment, and describe the upcoming Autism Goes to Work Career Expo to be held in early April in Redwood City. (Details below.) The free event will feature Bay Area businesses already benefiting from hiring autistic workers, as well as Q & A with autistic adults. Don’t miss this opportunity celebrating Autism Awareness Month!

UPDATE: Maisie spoke to a rapt overflow crowd February 15. Here are videos she shared at the talk: Video1 Video2 Be sure to attend Maisie’s Career Expo on April 2 (details below)!

Maisie Soetantyo is the founder of Autism Career Pathways, a new non-profit committed to removing obstacles to neurodiverse hiring. As part of this project, she created an all activity-based Career Screening Tool to better summarize strengths, interests, aptitudes and areas of needs for differently-abled individuals. During the presentation this Saturday, she will showcase a few participants’ video summary, ongoing job training and their progress today.  As always, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program.

Meet Maisie at the AASCEND meeting Feb 15:
Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Feb 15, 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.


Redwood City event details:


News at the bottom:

AASCEND received a request for participants in a research study about Societal Attitudes About Disability. It looks legit, pays a bit, and you might want to participate.

Preparing for Employer Meetings at the Upcoming Stanford Neurodiversity Summit

                            [Be sure to check out the news at the bottom…]

Slides from Lawrence Fung’s February 8 Job Club presentation.


On Saturday, March 14, the Stanford Neurodiversity Project will be holding a Job Fair with Bay Area employers who are specifically interested in hiring adults with autism.  At AASCEND‘s February 8 Job Club Dr. Lawrence Fung, the Project director, will provide an overview of the Job Fair, and work with Job Club attendees to prepare their presentations to employers. Employed autistic people will discuss their current jobs and how they envision their jobs and careers in the future. The Stanford Conference and Job Fair are FREE and, space allowing, open to all with relevant interest. Please see details and a link to the registration below. Don’t miss this remarkable opportunity!

Conference Information and Eventbrite Registration

For the Feb 8 Job Club:
Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Feb 8, 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.


News at the bottom:

AASCEND received a request for participants in a research study about Societal Attitudes About Disability. It looks legit, pays a bit, and you might want to participate.

And for your interest:
Here’s a San Francisco Meetup group to Enhance Your Social Intelligence
and a Scientific American article on A Solution for Loneliness

Thomas Iland to Speak

Mark your calendars for the Stanford Neurodiversity Summit, emphasizing employment, to be held at Stanford University March 14. Attendance is free and registration will be required. Details will be posted here as they become available.


This month the usual first-Saturday Job Club will be combined with the AASCEND General meeting January 18, when veteran and erstwhile conference speaker Thomas Iland will be discussing his experiences from numerous jobs, his changes in career over the course of his journey to permanent, gainful employment, and what he does today to help people find their niche and become productive and happy members of society.

Thomas Iland (pronounced like “island”) was diagnosed with autism at 13 years old. Thomas left his career as a certified public accountant in 2015 to become an author, keynote speaker, diversity & inclusion consultant, and certified human potential coach.

Thomas is the author of the award-winning, best-selling book, “Come to Life! Your Guide to Self-Discovery” and recently became the only Toastmasters International Accredited Speaker with autism in the world.

Thomas has spoken at the United Nations twice in the past year, once on World Autism Awareness Day in April, to share his knowledge and firsthand experience about assistive technology and successful law enforcement interactions for people on the autism spectrum…and again in December for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, where he discussed practicing diversity and inclusion in employment.

You can also see him on the TEDx stage in his talk titled, “How To Come To Life.”

Thomas currently lives in Santa Clarita, California, with his dog, Bridget, and, having run two marathons, is currently training to run his first half-Ironman triathlon.

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

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Jan 18, 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! (after Job Club featuring Autistry)

Next up for AASCEND is the December 7 Holiday Potluck Party! (following a Job Club presentation by the Autistry. ALSO check out the neurodiversity CONTEST—details below). Come join our community for food, conversation, music and good cheer. There will be Entertainment, Music, Games, Santa D.J., food, an available low-sensory space, and a selfie booth. 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 (Party): Sat Dec 7,   1 – 4 pm
Party Setup:    noon – 1:00 
Party:                  1:00 – 4:00,   Food: 1:30 on
Cleanup:             4:00 – 4:30

Where: The Arc of SF   1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103   map


The Job Club meets at 10am before the Holiday Party, and features Autistry Studios, a program in San Rafael to help youth on the autism spectrum transition into greater adult independence. Autistry was co-founded and is run by Janet Lawson and Dan Swearingen. Janet also has a private practice as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in issues arising from autism spectrum disorders in teens, adults, couples and families. She is a frequent presenter on topics concerning ASD individuals. Janet is on the steering committee of the Marin Autism Collaborative and is a member of the board of directors of the Autism Center of Northern California.

Dan Swearingen is the Chief Operating Officer of Autistry Studios. He was educated in astrophysics and had a successful career as a software engineer and as a director of engineering guiding and overseeing large teams of software engineers. Dan was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was in his late 30’s.

Known for their humor and honesty, Dan and Janet share lessons learned as they created programs to support autistic individuals build strong, resilient identities.

When (Job Club): Sat Dec 7,   10am – noon

Where: The Arc of SF   1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103   map

Parking is sometimes 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.


NEURODIVERSITY CONTEST!

The Stanford Neurodiversity Project is planning a Neurodiversity Unity Event on Monday, March 16, 2020 to bring together advocates and allies in the workplace and on various campuses. For the Neurodiversity Unity Event, we are inviting the community to submit a creative expression of what neurodiversity unity means to them. The winning Expression of Neurodiversity Unity will be shared virtually and in person as a central feature of Neurodiversity Celebration Week at Stanford University on Monday March 16, 2020.

If you’re interested in participating, you can get details and submit an entry here.

Jobs in the Gaming Field

Advice from a Veteran of Electronic Arts and Zynga

On November 9 the AASCEND  Job Club hosts Serena Lam, General Manager for Endless Mobile Inc, a STEM-based product that inspires kids to code. In her current role, she oversees product management, design, engineering, and operations. 

Serena is a 16-year gaming veteran creating fun experiences for millions and millions of users. As a pre-IPO member of the social gaming pioneer, Zynga, she worked on multi-million revenue games such as Words with Friends and Farmville. She’s also an alumnus of the game giant, Electronic Arts, working with the legendary Will Wright on Spore and the ever-popular James Bond franchise.   

Serena holds a Masters in Entertainment Technology and Bachelors in Business from Carnegie Mellon University. In her spare time, she loves to exercise, hike, cook, and research about interior design. Come get an inside look at work in this fascinating field. Bring your questions, and needless to say, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program. 

Who: Adults on the autism spectrum, families, mentors and professionals all welcome. For more information, please contact: info@aascend.org
When: Sat Nov 9, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St. SF, CA 94103 map

Parking is sometimes 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.

It’s Picnic Time Again!

It’s that time again! Join the festivities at AASCEND‘s annual potluck picnic in the park October 20—NOTE this year on a SUNDAY. 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
Sun Oct 20, Noon-3pm in Hellman Hollow GG Park ( X on map, tables to be announced)
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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!

Resources for Spectrum Adults + Robyn Steward!

Bulletin! NO Job Club Oct 5!

Join us September 21 to find out about AASCEND‘s 20th(!) anniversary celebration and information about our upcoming picnic! News from Paul Nussbaum’s Pacific Crest Trail Expedition! We will also feature a panel looking at Resources for Spectrum Adults. The panel will include Nicole Bohn, Director of the San Francisco Mayor’s Office on Disability, Damien Chacona, Program Director for Public Awareness and Education at the People with Disabilities Foundation, and Porsche Bunton of the San Francisco Department of Human Resources, Access to City Employment (ACE) Program. The meeting will also feature a visit from British autism advocate and author Robyn Steward.


Robyn Steward is an autistic British broadcaster, author, researcher and autism advocate. Robyn has written 2 books: ” The Independent Woman’s Handbook for Super Safe Living on the Autistic Spectrum” and ” The Autism Friendly Guide to Periods”, both published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Robyn will talk about her 3rd book which will be on the topic of self-employment for Autistic people.

When:  Sat Sept 21, 10am – noon
Where: The Arc of SF 1500 Howard St. @ 11th St.    SF, CA 94103  
map   

Parking is sometimes 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.


AASCEND member Ian Moura has begun a research project to examine autism employment programs from the perspective of the actual program users — autistic adults. Your input is vital and can help many people, whether or not you have participated in any employment programs. Please take the survey here, where you can also find information about relevant privacy protections.


Paul Nussbaum is back on the Pacific Crest Trail after a brief stop to jump northward to where he left off in 2018. His latest progress will be posted in the next few days, with regular updates thereafter, at expedition-autism.com.

Closing the Hire

Paul Nussbaum continues to trek northward on the Pacific Crest Trail. Follow his inspiring progress at expedition-autism.com! …or click the icon on this page.


Advice from a Recruiting Director

On September 7 the AASCEND  Job Club hosts Natalie Dunnege, Recruiting Director at the San Francisco-based recruiting firm Binc.

In her work at Binc, Natalie partners with key stakeholders, hiring leaders, and recruiting teams to attract and hire new talent. During her time at the company, Natalie co-founded Binc’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee, established the framework for Binc’s Employee Resource Groups, created a volunteer partnership to teach interview skills, and contributed to employee trainings covering a range of topics such as neurodiversity, DEI vocabulary, inclusive hiring, interviewer training, and conflict resolution.

Come hear what Natalie’s extensive experience has to tell us about “closing the deal” and landing your job! Bring your questions, and needless to say, attendees on the spectrum will offer their experience and perspectives throughout the program. 

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

Parking is sometimes 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.

Resources from Aug 17 meet

AASCEND member Ian Moura has begun a research project to examine autism employment programs from the perspective of the actual program users — autistic adults. Your input is vital and can help many people, whether or not you have participated in any employment programs. Please take the survey here, where you can also find information about relevant privacy protections.


Microsoft is looking for paid testers of a new video conferencing technology for autistic users. Click here for details.


A team of researchers at UCSF is conducting a Resilience in Action study about supporting young adults with autism as they exit the school system and transition to adulthood. The team has developed a course curriculum addressing interpersonal skills, dealing with adversity, and generating life goals. The course will meet once a week at the Arc of San Francisco. Those eligible will be paid to participate. Click here for details. (If the image comes up small, click to enlarge it.)


ALSO, The San Francisco Law Library is hosting a free monthly Consumer Rights Legal Clinic, where you can get questions answered about bankruptcy, student loan debt, debt collection lawsuits, harassment by debt collectors, and much more. An RSVP is required. Click here for details.